The Philosophy for LYF
This website is not about me, rather, it describes a philosophy for living and elevating your life, no matter where you may be in your life or how you feel about your life.
But you probably want to know a little bit about me, and you may wonder how I can possibly be qualified to share a philosophy for living better. After all, I am a human just like you with foibles and failures. So here is a little background on me and how the philosophy developed.
The philosophy has been a half century in the making. I formed in my childhood, identified in my twenties, codified in my thirties, and appreciated even more in my forties.
My inner circle of family and friends in childhood helped me formulate my philosophy for living, and they did this mostly by example.
My Mom and Dad established a home where learning was as natural as eating and drinking. Learning is, in fact, the feeding of the mind. It is how we grow, stay strong, and improve ourselves. My parents supported and encouraged learning throughout my childhood.
I remember sitting on the couch in our living room during my high school years and having my Mom call out study questions to me. (Mom: “What is the Spanish word for ‘shoes’?” Me: “Los zapatos.” Mom: All smiles.) It did not matter to her that she may not have known the subject matter or even understood what some of the questions may have meant. She was always cheerfully willing to help her son grow.
The enjoyment of learning became such a part of me that I never wanted to miss a class lecture. During my college years, I had my Mom (yes, my Mom!) attend class in my stead whenever I was unable to attend. She happily obliged, taping the lecture and giving me any notes she may have taken, usually in shorthand undecipherable to me. How about that for a Mom!
Neither my Mom nor Dad had the opportunity to attend college. But they made sure their sons did. They empowered us to improve ourselves.
Doing your best was a logical extension of learning. If you are going to learn, you might as well get the most out of it and live it by doing your best. It was more of an unwritten rule, an obvious next step, fueled by encouragement from my parents…and perhaps a smidgen of competition with my siblings. Both of my older brothers were excellent students and both graduated high school in the top percentile of their graduation classes. They were my role models and gave me high benchmarks to achieve.
As the baby of the family, I had the extra impetus of wanting to keep up with my brothers and follow in their footsteps. Both of my brothers participated in high school public speaking (oratory or debate), so I stretched out of my comfort zone and participated, too, and continued participation throughout college. When my brothers learned tennis from my Dad, I jumped on the tennis court, too, and pushed myself to become the best player I could be. They inspired me through their living.
Laughter was a big part of our home life, too. My Dad enjoyed acting in community theater and played lead roles in several Neil Simon comedies. We had 33 1/3 vinyl records of comedy routines, all of which my brothers and I would listen to countless times. My Dad was also a superb storyteller and entertainer. He could turn a trip to the grocery store into an epic adventure. His joy was contagious.
I enjoyed my childhood. I would spend almost every day with my friends throwing footballs, riding bikes, swimming, or playing tennis. Playing outdoors in the fresh air, getting exercise (although as a child that was not the motivator–having fun was), and being active were a daily part of the environment I grew up in.
I also grew up in a household where love and caring were expressed. Loving and caring examples of my Mom helping me study, my Dad sharing with me his talents, my brothers serving as role models, and my aunt and uncle teaching me chess and other board games can be multiplied many times. It was a blessing to have such riches. The love and support that was given to me helped me understand the value of my life and attain the proper level of self-respect and self-acceptance to become a healthy person.
These experiences of learning, laughing, loving, and living were all around me growing up. They became both a mindset and habit. I have been fortunate to have had such a wonderful childhood during which these traits took root. But, mind you, I share this to explain where I came from, not to claim such a childhood is a prerequisite for an elevated life.
Identification and Codification
It was in my mid-20’s that friends and colleagues asked me why they always saw me smiling (a smile seemed permanently planted on my face), wanted to know the secret to pursuing a childhood passion as an adult (I took most of a year off at age 27 to hit tennis balls), inquired where I obtained my positivity and energy, and expressed appreciation on the quality of whatever I was doing or achieving. I had no good answer. I was simply living life in a way that had been instilled in me as a child.
It was during my late twenties that I consciously recognized that four action-oriented themes—learn, laugh, love, and live—represented how I was living my life. With introspection I codified it into a credo of LRN LAF LUV LIV and began exploring it further.
With deeper introspection in the following years I realized that I had been selfish, focused mainly on myself, oblivious to the needs and perspectives of others. I was much more wealthy in personal accomplishments than worthy in my contributions to the welfare of others. This was a critical recognition, and it began the process of focusing much more on helping and caring for others, just as my Mom, Dad, brothers, and others had done to help me. I became a better friend, a better boss, a better mentor, a better spouse. I became a better person. And others noticed. Even at work I was recognized one year with an employee of the year award, and another year with the leadership award.
I am not perfect, and unfortunate events in life have happened to me. I have gone through a divorce. I have been cheated out of money. I have had a bad boss. These events deeply affected me. I was sad. I was upset. I was frustrated.
However, my philosophy helped me to maintain a proper perspective and hope through these and other challenges. I grew tremendously as a person during my first courtship and marriage; it truly was better to have loved than to have never loved at all. I learned my lesson on loaning money and became a little wiser; I realized I could have been hustled out of much more. I refocused my energies on what I could control at work, and I no longer work for that boss; problem solved!
My Dad moved in with me after the death of my Mom. We lived together for over four years, during which his zeal and joy for life kept his cancer at bay. Even in his 80’s, he was learning, laughing, loving, and living every day. Then one afternoon a broken hip from a fall became the undoing of his life.
It was with my Dad in his final weeks of his life that I gained an even greater appreciation for my philosophy for living. As my Dad’s life deteriorated significantly, it cast my credo in a new light. I noted my Dad was no longer learning—he had lost his desire to go outside, read the daily newspaper, scan the Internet, or even watch TV. It had been weeks since I had heard him laugh—just a glimpse now and then of a feisty remark spoken with a slight twinkle in his eye. I observed his love of his own life was gone, and he no longer desired to interact with others. And his passion for life and his desire to challenge himself was gone—he told me he was no longer motivated to do anything. I realized during my Dad’s final weeks that LRN LAF LUV LIV for LYF is not just a philosophy for living. It is also a measure of a person’s quality of life.
The Philosophy for LYF states that our mission in life is to grow true wealth and give true worth. The purpose of sharing this philosophy with you and others is part of fulfilling my mission of giving true worth to others. I hope that this website empowers, uplifts, nurtures, and inspires you to better your life, elevating the goodness in yourself and the world.
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