Try these tips to improve quality of life There are so many diets where we try to lose. Here's one made specifically for gaining, my Wisdom Diet for the 21st Century. Given all the disasters in the world, what we need most in Century 21 is help getting the planet and its precious cargo to Century 22 intact.
BREATHE. Pay attention to your health. Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Exercise regularly. Get enough sleep. Don't smoke. Watch your stress levels. And keep breathing. It's hard to wise up when you're dead.
LOVE. A life without love, says a Scandinavian proverb, is like a year without summer. Begin with yourself. Become lovable. If you can't love yourself, you can't love others. That's what the whole self-esteem business is about. And the Golden Rule.
CHILL. Anger, per a Dutch saying, is a short madness. Manage your anger. Or better yet, learn not to get angry in the first place. Ask yourself, "How important is it?" What you're ready to kill for today, you'll have forgotten by tomorrow.
DREAM. The wisdom here is Bloody Mary's from the musical "South Pacific." "You gotta have a dream. If you no have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?" she sings in the musical. The big words are vision and mission. Figure out where you want to be. Then go there.
WANT. Desire is the mother of action. If you don't want to do something, you won't, unless forced. Then the quality of your work will be questionable. So, begin with an intention. It is the key to achievement.
CHOOSE. You simply can't do everything, nor should you. Figure out what your thing is, then do it. Avoid detours. Prioritize. Remember first things first.
LAST. Another Scandinavian proverb says that courage is hanging on one minute longer. Keep on keeping on. Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.
REST. Even a forced march requires breaks. The siesta is one of humanity's greatest inventions. Remember to put holes into the Swiss cheese of life.
PLAY. All work and no play isn't only dulling, it's killing. Play, like rest, allows us to return to the business of living refreshed and ready for action. It also makes a space for inspiration and new approaches to old problems.
ASK. This is one we men sometimes have trouble with. Whether seeking directions or assistance, a loan or a lift, it's better to ask early than regret late. The New Testament formula is ask-seek-knock. Most people can't read minds, so speak up!
THANK. The attitude of gratitude, as it's called in the Twelve-Step Programs, is a major wisdom way. Life tends to reflect how we react to it. Thankful people generally create lives worth being grateful for. Try substituting thanks for requests for a week and see the results.
PRAY. Martin Luther advised, "Pray as if no work could help. Work as if no prayer could help." Although every prayer might not be answered to our satisfaction, those who practice prayer will see its results just as those who practice any discipline regularly.
ACCEPT. If bad things come your way, try your best to change them. If you can't, remember the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
GIVE. The more wells are used, the more they fill up with fresh water. Give things away. You will make space for new things to come your way. Generosity is a trademark of the wise.
SMILE. Even if you don't want to. Even if you have to say "cheese" or turn up the corners of your lips. You'll be surprised how heaviness evaporates.
LEARN. We grow all too soon old and all too late smart, as the German proverb has it. The Germans also say, "You never stop learning." Make generous use of libraries; browse in bookstores; take a paperback to the post office; surf the Web; travel. Boredom is seldom experienced by committed lifelong learners.
YIELD. Remember the Great Nevertheless. When Jesus contemplated the near certainty of his death, he asked God to spare him. Then he immediately added, "Nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done."
LAUGH. A good cry clears the air, but laughter keeps it from closing in on us.
Reynold Feldman is executive director of Wisdom Factors International (www.wisdomfactors.com). His third book on wisdom, co-authored with M. Jan Rumi, "Wising Up: A Youth Guide to Good Living," is being sold by Lions Clubs in Hawaii.
Words for a Diet for Wisdom by Reynold Feldman