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Lessons My Father Taught Me

Updated on June 10, 2016

Introduction

Do you feel that you are not appreciated? Do you feel as if you have not made your mark in this world, that you want to make a difference and haven’t? Many people do. I have. It is normal. I believe that it shows that you care, that you don’t want to coast through life but to give meaning to you life.

In this article, I’ll share some principles my dad taught my brother and I about how to live a more, enjoyable and meaningful life. At the end of this article, there is a link that you can use to read the free booklet I wrote, Lessons My Father Taught Me, that explain each principle in detail. First, a bit about my dad.

My dad

Louis Cohen. July 28, 1923 - April 4, 2011
Louis Cohen. July 28, 1923 - April 4, 2011

My dad

My dad who was my hero, had a unique way of looking at life. He viewed the world through a lens of humor. Certainly, my dad had to confront serious issues, there were stressful times, and not everything in his life went the way he wanted it to. However, he always tried to see the humor in life. This helped him relax and to put things into perspective.

Dad was also a street philosopher and a good judge of a person’s character. This helped him create a philosophy of life that made him successful; he raised two sons and paid for me to get a college education.

My dad was the first person in his family to go to college; he studied his passion, Photography at the New York Institute of Photography. He began his career working at Monogram Pictures (Boston office). I mention this because Monogram Pictures had a party at the Cocoanut Grove night club the evening the club burned down. Luckily, he didn’t attend. He also worked as a wedding photographer before working at the local post office for 38 years. He also had many part-time jobs including making and hanging window shades.

Nine simple principles

Here are the simple principles my dad taught my brother and I to live and enjoy life.

  • See the world through a lens of humor.
  • You need to be friends with yourself before others will want to be friends with you.
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you cry alone.
  • I worried about many things in life. Most never came true.
  • Treat people with respect until they give you a reason not to.
  • Give them the roses while they can smell them.
  • Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion.
  • If you have to tell people you are important, you aren’t.
  • Going to a house of worship doesn’t make you a good person. It’s how you treat people daily that does.

See the world through a lens of humor.

Life can be stressful. Daily events can get under your skin. You can’t always control what happens but you can always control your attitude. How you see the world and how you react to events in your life have an effect on your life, both physically and mentally. Learn to laugh at the events that may irritate you but that are not that important.

You need to be friends with yourself before others will want to be friends with you.

Be your own best friend. Everybody is unique and has their own special qualities and talents. We all have challenges and life is not always fair. That is the way of life. However, like yourself and become friends with yourself.

Many people suffer from depression and other brain diseases. If that is the case, get the professional help that you need. However, that is not a reason to not like yourself. You have value and purpose.

People like to be with pleasant people. Nobody wants to hang around with the person or co-worker who is always complaining about his or her life. We all have problems. Certainly, as a friend you want to listen when your friend has a problem. That is what a good friend does. However, if you complain every day, you will be very lonely.

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you cry alone.

People like positive people. Be happy! Enjoy life! I’m not suggesting that you fake it so people will hang out with you. However, learn to laugh and be positive. Being positive can make you more successful in your profession and in life. A positive outlook allows you to view problems more clearly and to be less likely to make the issue worse by reacting in panic mode.

I worried about many things in life. Most never came true.

What if my proposal doesn’t get approved? What if I don’t get that job offer? You can’t worry about everything. That does not mean that you should not be concerned and just be carefree. Learn to take things in stride

Treat people with respect until they give you a reason not to.

Be kind and respectful to people unless their behavior warrants disrespect. Judge people by the way that they treat you. Don’t disrespect someone just because a friend does not like that person.

Give them the roses while they can smell them.

If there is one principle that you take away from this article let it be this one. My dad always hated when someone said nice things about someone after they died. He would always say, “I hope they told him or her those nice thing while he or she was alive.” If someone means something to you, tell that person. If you care about someone or are proud of that person, tell him or her.

I appreciate when Facebook notifies me that it is a friend’s birthday because I love wishing that person a happy birthday. It is a small gesture but it makes that person feel appreciated. To be honest, it feels great when all my friends wish me a happy birthday. It makes me feel appreciated. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.

Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion.

I’ve been known to forget this one. It has taken practice and restraint but I’ve really learned to appreciate the benefits of this principle. It is especially important in today’s world of email and social media.

Words can be hurtful and you can’t take them back. You can apologize, but that doesn’t take away the pain those words have caused. In the world of politics, candidates always misspeak and claim they were misunderstood. People will forgive their candidates because they hear what they want to hear. However, in real life, with family, friends, and co-workers, they hear what you said.

If you have to tell people you are important, you aren’t.

New and improved! The #1 best seller! Nine out of ten doctors recommend! In marketing, you may get away with telling others how important your product it is. However, you won’t find success by telling people how important or great you are. Your actions and character speak far greater than your words. People will recognize if you are important or not.

Going to a house of worship doesn’t make you a good person. It’s how you treat people daily that does.

My dad always hated when a person went to a house of worship to be seen. Religion is not marketing. You need to follow the tenets of your religion and make them a part of your daily life. Your behavior, how you treat people everyday, is what determines if you are a good person.

Conclusion

There is no magic to being successful or leading a meaningful life. I enjoy reading many self-help and inspirational books and have learned that a life built upon values is the key. Treat people the way that you want people to treat you.

I am very proud of my dad and the principles he taught my brother and I. He enjoyed life and was well-respected. I hope these principles bring more meaning into your life.

Read the complete booklet free of charge

Click here to read the complete version of Lessons My Father Taught Me.

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