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Essential – and Simple – Lessons from my Dad

When I think about the lessons my father has taught me, there’s an interesting thing to note: while my dad was a big believer in the power of teaching, many of the pivotal, indelible lessons were ones that I gleaned by observation. In other words, there are the lessons that my dad consciously sought to teach me, and then there are the ones that he taught me just by being who he was. Both types of lessons had merit; both types of lessons left their mark and helped mould me into the person I am today. Both types of lessons continue to inspire me in the work that I do and the life that I lead.

My personal sense is that my dad has done – and continues to do – a great job of teaching me what I need to know, simply by being who he is. I’m not sure if he’s conscious of this or not. And it doesn’t matter. It’s effective.

All that being said, there are a few key lessons that I feel will be relevant to you, my faithful readers. These lessons are ones that have application no matter who you are, no matter your profession, your gender, your race. If you are someone who’s striving to live your very best life, to lead effectively in every arena you find yourself, here are lessons from my dad (in no particular order) that I know will serve you well:

  1. Know what you believe in, and don’t let anyone pull you off course.
  2. Spend time every day in quiet contemplation of what matters to you.
  3. Have faith in something – and nurture that faith.
  4. Read, voraciously.
  5. Learn something new every day – even if it’s simply the meaning of a new word.
  6. Be generous – with your time, with your resources.
  7. Take care of every aspect of yourself – your body, your mind, your soul.
  8. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, in your own space.
  9. Spend time outside.
  10. Be as active as you can, physically.
  11. Be diligent – work consistently towards your objective, whatever it is.
  12. Do what you can, with what you have.
  13. Live within your means.
  14. Don’t worry about what others think of you. Ever.
  15. Humility is a good thing.

This list is by no means an exhaustive one. But, it captures the essence of what my dad has taught me over the years.  Here’s the upshot of what you need to know: life really does not have to be complicated. It’s the simple things, consistently implemented, that enrich your life the most. So keep it simple; and love your life as it is. Thanks, Dad, for the wisdom.

Tracy Harvie