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John Eggers: Looking for personal happiness and success? Here’s some advice

I recently gave my public speaking students an assignment to speak about what they would be doing five years from now. All of them talked about how they were going to find a good job, do some traveling, settle down with a family, and buy that neat car or house they have been dreaming about. Most of all, however, they just wanted to be happy.

All of us strive to be happy. We also try to find some measure of success in life. This is not an easy journey. It’s challenging, complicated at times and downright frustrating.

Many years ago my mentor, Edward Pino, gave me his list of 56 Ways To Find Professional Success and Personal Happiness. He has been my mentor since 1974. I have strived to do many of the things on his list, but I know I have fallen short on many. Perhaps this is why I still cherish his advice. He keeps me focused — at least he tries to.

This is a good time to reflect on our happiness as we sit by the fireside in a nice comfortable chair and gaze at our Christmas tree or just look out the window at our white wonderland. We strive to bring happiness to others at this time of the year, but how are we doing with our own happiness and fulfillment? Pino’s list will help you find what you may be looking for.

1. Be responsible.

2. Be kind.

3. Be gentle.

4. Be compassionate.

5. Be thoughtful. Think of others before yourself.

6. Be inclusive — don’t leave others out.

7. Smile.

8. Use the term “Thank you” whenever possible.

9. Use “Please”, “Excuse Me”, and “May I” whenever possible.

10. Listen more. Talk less. Don’t interrupt.

11. Be sincere and behave with integrity.

12. Keep your word. Do what you say.

13. Learn and use proper grammar.

14. Avoid vulgar and profane language.

15. Learn and practice manners.

16. Learn and apply social etiquette practices.

17. Never discriminate, use racial remarks, or be prejudiced toward others.

18. Understand the term “sexual harassment.”

19. Don’t be condescending.

20. Be accountable for your actions or mistakes.

21. Practice tolerance.

22. Practice patience.

23. Send a thank you note.

24. Open a door.

25. Compliment someone.

26. Encourage someone.

27. Stand up for others.

28. Be willing to forgive.

29. Be willing to apologize.

30. Help someone everyday.

31. Do something for your community.

32. Dress and groom well.

33. Do not gossip. Use discretion.

34. Be honest and true to yourself and others.

35. Be trustful of others.

36. Don’t cut in line. Let others in front of you.

37. Give credit where credit is due.

38. Recognize and praise the accomplishments of others.

39. Respond to conflict or adversity — don’t react.

40. Don’t be argumentative or confrontational.

41. Complain less — find alternatives.

42. Be constructive in your criticism. Be helpful, not negative.

43. Don’t use your cell phone while driving or eating.

44. Be attentive to other’s needs.

45. Return phone calls ASAP.

46. Have good eye contact when listening or talking.

47. Never talk loud or be excessively noisy.

48. Never brag or boast.

49. Never litter. Pick up.

50. Stand up (Men for women and elders and women for elders and when being introduced).

51. Admit to mistakes and move on.

52. Find solutions instead of complaining about the “problem”.

53. Speak clearly, using good diction.

54. Find something positive in everybody and everything.

55. Don’t blame others. Find solutions.

56. Always try to be optimistic.

You should know something about Pino, which will help you to respect his list to find happiness. He has two doctoral degrees in education, one from Harvard and one from Stanford. He was the former superintendent of our overseas schools in Europe as well as in the Orient. His last superintendent’s position was with the Cherry Creek Schools in Denver. In the late ’60s he founded the International Graduate School of Education, based in Colorado, which has as its mission, simply, to help teachers help kids learn.

To that end, he and his faculty have helped thousands of teachers and worked with hundreds of school districts. I have worked with Pino since 1974, and I still work for him today teaching online classes.

His 56 ways to happiness and success are simple to understand but no walk in the park to consistently do. His favorite words to me after I would ask for feedback on a certain project, would be, “Well, Eggers, that’s a good start.”

Happiness and success are a lifelong journey. Sometimes we take the wrong path and wonder what went wrong. Pino’s 56 ways helped me stay on the right path most of the time. Christmas is always a good time to reflect on what was and what will be and it’s especially a good time to be optimistic. Wishing you a happy and fulfilling Christmas.

JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.