9 Words to Live By

I’m not sure what feels more like a new beginning for me – January 1st, or September 1st. And I’m not a fan of resolutions, mainly because of my thorough inability to keep them! Nonetheless, I’ve tried to boil down my life aspirations into a handful of words. Some of these are unique to me and a bit personal, but perhaps you can relate.

Nine verbs to summarize how I seek to live/want to live:

1. Listen.  I need to learn better how to shut up, look into people’s eyes, listen to their words and heart, and seek to understand.

2. Learn. I’ve been on this earth for more decades than I care to admit. Long enough to recognize that in the vast sea of knowledge, I’ve only gathered a few drops, and the best way to grow is to keep learning. I can’t know everything, but I can’t afford to become calcified, and lose child-like curiosity.

3. Love. Life is all about serving others. Even if I’ll never (naturally) be a touchy-feely kinda guy, I’ll always be surrounded by people who need kindness and help. No matter how introverted I might feel, others are more important. Reach out!

4. Strive. I guess I’ll never be satisfied – always wanting to improve things. It’s a blessing and a curse. Until my dying day, I hope I’m encouraging myself and others to push forward. No status quo! – passivity doesn’t produce much fruit.

5. Surrender. The other side of “striving.” God’s will supersedes mine; reality and circumstances aren’t always open to change, and people are people. Deal with it, Woodruff. Accept reality. Embrace and enjoy the fact that you’re not in control.

6. Share. Don’t keep it locked up. Time, talent, money, ideas, acts and words of kindness – it’s all a stewardship, to share with others. The upside benefits to all far outweigh the downside risks to me.

(these last three have to do with my particular professional and personal focus)

7. Consult. Think with people. Analyze problems. Come up with ideas. It’s a unique gift and calling – put it to use!

8. Connect. Most needs will be met by other people. Find as many ways as possible to help people with needs find people with solutions. More and more, become a hub for others.

9. Create. What could be? What should be? See what isn’t – dare to think it, and design it, and push for it. Leave something unique behind that makes life better.

If I’m doing all those things, I figure I’ll never lack friends, never be at a loss for something to do, never need to worry much about income, never feel unfulfilled. Which leads to an interesting metaphysical question: is being unselfish selfish? That’s too much work to think about on this Labor Day! And it doesn’t matter – because those are my words to live by anyway.

What about you? Add your ideas in the comments, or on your own blog!

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