One of the most beloved figures of the 20th century, Eleanor Roosevelt remains a role model for many for a life well lived. At the age of 76 she penned a simple guide to living a fuller life, “You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life.” In this issue of Wealth Notes, we share the first six keys and brief excerpts from her book on each. Next week we’ll share the remaining five. Enjoy these…. better yet, apply them!
- Learning to Learn – “In her later years an aunt of mine became crippled by arthritis and she became almost totally deaf. She might have become an ingrown self-pitying invalid, but there was not a member of our family that would not travel long distances to be with her. And it was because she did not burden herself with her own handicaps – she continued to take a great interest in life and in learning and she was a wonderful listener, turning turned all of her attention outward upon her young visitors. She was genuinely interested in them; she had a keen desire to know about them, to understand their difficulties and to help them.
- Fear – The Great Enemy – As a young child I was exceptionally afraid of the dark, of mice, of practically everything. Painfully, step by step I learned to stare down each of my fears, conquer it and with that hard-earned courage, go on to the next. Only through this self-discipline have I gained the increased confidence and strength to help meet the next fear.
- The Uses of Time – “We don’t have time” is our common thought…and yet, we have all the time there is. The problem is not lack of time but how we make the best use of it. There are three ways in which I have been able to solve that problem: first, by achieving an inner calm so that I can work undisturbed; second, by concentrating on the thing at hand; and third, by arranging a routine pattern for my days that allots certain activities to certain hours, planning in advance for everything that must be done, but at the same time remaining flexible enough to allow for the unexpected. There is a fourth point which, perhaps plays a considerable part in my use of time – to maintain a pattern of good health so that I have the best use of my energy when I need it.
- The Difficult Art of Maturity – Here is my definition of a mature person: One who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things and who walks humbly and deals charitably with circumstances of life, knowing that in this world all of us need both love and charity.”
- Readjustment is Endless – Readjustment is a kind of private revolution. Each time you learn something new you must readjust the whole framework of your knowledge. As we grow we are forced to make inner and outer readjustments all of our lives. And yet for a great many people, this is a continuing problem because they appear to have an innate fear of change whether it be changed personal relationships, social or financial conditions. The new or unknown becomes in their minds something hostile when it could be something adventurous and a source of growth.
- Learning to be Useful – Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively. After a very short time, there would be little that one really enjoyed, for what keeps our interest in life and make us look forward to tomorrow is giving pleasure to other people and being useful to them.
What great pearls of wisdom. Perhaps spend some time this weekend reflecting more deeply on each of these and seeing how you might apply them to your life. Doing so will lead you to a fuller and more abundant life – a life of love and purpose. Enjoy!
Written by Matt Palmer, Co-founder and Chairman