From time to time, I come across a list of life lessons "as described by an 80-year-old man." They've been widely shared online, and maybe you've seen them pop up in your social feeds.

As I read them again recently, I couldn't help but notice a common thread--how these principles relate to our ability to process and handle emotions. (I recently wrote a book on the very same subject, EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence.)

Since I'm a fan of guidelines that are practical and easy to remember, I figured I'd share my favorites here--along with a few of my own thoughts.

1. Have a firm handshake.

Because nothing beats a good first impression.

2. Look people in the eye.

Build your self-confidence, and build others' confidence in you.

3. Sing in the shower.

Change your mood and inspire positivity.

4. Own a great stereo system.

Because music is one of the biggest influences on our emotions. 

5. Keep secrets.

Otherwise, you'll quickly lose others' trust.

6. Never give up on anybody. 

Miracles happen every day.

7. Always accept an outstretched hand.

No man is an island.

8. Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. 

Because no one can tell the difference.

9. Whistle.

Same reason as No. 3.

10. Avoid sarcastic remarks.

Snark may get you laughs, but it will also lose you friends.

11. Choose your life's mate carefully. 

From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.

12. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.

It's the giving that makes you happy. Not the credit.

13. Lend only those books you never care to see again.

Save yourself the frustration.

14. Never deprive someone of hope.

It might be all that they have.

15. When playing games with children, let them win.

Maybe not always...but enough to help them feel the joy of triumph.

16. Be romantic.

Because love makes the world go 'round.

17. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

It'll pay rich dividends.

18. Loosen up. Relax. 

Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.

19. Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. 

It's there for our convenience, not the caller's.

20. Be a good loser.

Or everyone will hate you.

21. Be a good winner.

Or everyone will hate you.

22. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.

Especially if you want it to remain a secret.

23. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.

Unless the hug is unwanted. 

24. Be humble.

A lot was accomplished before you were born.

25. Keep it simple.

'Nuff said.

26. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.

And always help if you can.

27. Don't burn bridges. 

You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.

28. Live your life so that your epitaph could read, "No Regrets."

Easier said than done...but try your best.

29. Be bold and courageous. 

When you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.

30. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

Same reason as No. 16.

31. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.

Same reason as No. 7.

32. Take charge of your attitude. 

Don't let someone else choose it for you.

33. Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital, even if you can only stay for a few minutes.

You won't regret it.

34. Begin each day with some of your favorite music.

Same reason as No. 4.

35. Once in a while, take the scenic route.

You'll often find more joy in the journey than the destination.

36. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.

Same reason as No. 17.

37. Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. 

Because the best ideas can strike at 3 a.m.

38. Show respect for every job, regardless of how trivial.

Because the job does not make the person.

39. Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.

Same reason as No. 16.

40. Make someone's day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.

You'll make your own day, too.

41. Become someone's hero.

Because everybody needs one.

42. Marry only for love.

It's the only way to survive the challenges to come.

43. Count your blessings.

It will make you happier.

44. Compliment the meal when you're a guest in someone's home.

This makes you happier, too.

45. Wave at the children on a school bus.

It will remind you that children are the future. And help them see that you know that, too.

46. Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.

So if you haven't learned how, start now.

47. Don't expect life to be fair.

But no matter what, never lose hope.

Published on: Jul 17, 2018
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