“I’ve learned that making a living is not the same as making a life. ”
On the Huffington Post, five successful and prominent women were asked to give advice to their 22 year-old-selves. Most all of them gave career and money advice. Admittedly, it was a career that made these women who they are today. Plus, a career takes up a large part of every working person’s life, and in many ways a career is how working people define who they are. It lets people know where they fit, how they are contributing to society. Nevertheless, to my mind, there is so much more than career advice for an older self to impart to her younger self.
There are qualities of being that are more general and broadly applicable that would prove useful. One such quality might be “diligence.” Diligence applies to the working world, but it also umbrella’s social interaction. We have duties outside of what we get paid for: being kind, being helpful, and loving others. Everyone could improve on being more diligent about these essential ways of being. These are more than good behavior; they are the underpinnings, the foundations of every social construct worldwide. Without them, society collapses into self-centered anarchy.
Speaking of important social constructs, I remember when I was in college, studying to be a teacher; the question arose about what made a good marriage partner. Most everyone in the room’s number one answer was, “My partner can’t be cheap.” My number one answer was, “My partner should be kind.” I have never forgotten that moment when a sad part of the culture was revealed to me in a poignant way. It seems, judging by those women in the Huffington Post, that money and position in the working world, are more important than other things. And it’s not just that publication; I read, see and hear the same thing in all the media outlets; it’s all about the economy and rarely about the environment, caring for one’s fellow human beings, sustainability, or striving harder for peace.
So, what might each of us, not just those who have the endorsement of money on our resume, impart to our younger selves, who exist in the new crowds of young people thronging forward like salmon to sea? Besides planning and goal setting, what will bring the greatest success? Perhaps we should fall back on the old guard: Be honest in everything, work hard no matter what you are doing, love one another based on nothing other than you are fellow humans, be diligent, persevere. Those qualities will ensure success, no matter what the context or field.