Get PARTNERED with me

As I begin my seventh decade, it occurs to me I must be doing something right to make it this far (though you wouldn’t necessarily know that by just looking at me, haha). I’m a computer guy at heart, and computer guys love acronyms so in the hope of sharing my philosophy of life with you in as helpful a manner as possible I’ve created an acronym to make it easy to remember — PARTNERED. Let’s go through it letter by letter:

— P — Physical activity. It is very important if you want to stay healthy to include some kind of physical activity in your life. Over the years, I’ve done just about everything except swimming and skiing. If you do nothing else, at least try and get in some walking. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s incredibly beneficial to you in so many ways. If the drug companies could put all the benefits of waking into a pill it would be the most popular pill out there for sure, yet we can do it for free. Good deal;

— A — Attitude. You need to accept that things won’t always go your way. No matter how smart you are or how hard you try, every now and then the ball won’t bounce your way. You must learn how to deal with it. I actually heard on the radio recently that something like one out of 10 people are just not going to like you for no reason at all. Yikes. Make sure you are mentally tough enough to stick to your core values despite all the noise. Being tough is much more than big muscles or nasty weapons. Control your attitude and you control everything;

— R — Read, and then read some more. I cannot stress how important this is. You need to read to get other viewpoints, to build up your base of knowledge, and to learn about things you might never be exposed to otherwise. Plus reading is just plain fun. Take it from me — the book is often much better than the movie. Run, don’t walk, to your local library right after you finish this article! I mean it — support your local library and all the wonderful programs it offers. You show me a good library and I’ll show you a happy, vibrant community;

— T — Be on Time. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Maybe, just maybe, there may be some reason to be “fashionably late” in your personal world, but certainly not in the world of business. I’ve always made it a point to try my hardest to be on time for everything as a matter of respect to whoever it was that invited me. How refreshing it is to be there, relaxed and ready, when things just start. I can’t imagine doing it any other way. When you make being on time one of your core values you will be surprised how much better things go for you;

— N — Notice others. By this I mean be aware of others, the same way you’d like them to be aware of you. This means little things like letting them pull out of gas stations, to big things like not berating them if they hold different views than you do. Imagine how boring it would be if we all thought and acted alike. It used to be we had manners and could engage in discussing our differences politely. I’m hoping, for society’s sake, we’ll get back to that someday. I miss civil, intelligent discussion — by our leaders in government, by the talking heads on TV, by our friends on social media — more than anything else these days;

— E — Eat wisely. This is a tough one, as we are bombarded with fast-food places and junk food commercials all the time. Still, your body will help you with this one, whether you want it to or not. If you can eat “clean” most of the time — lean meat, vegetables, not a lot of desserts — then you can splurge now and then. But if your idea of a vegetable is a “blooming onion,” you’re going to have problems. Learning to cook, if you don’t know how, is a great idea because then you can control what you’re eating. In computing, we say GIGO — Garbage In, Garbage Out. It’s the same with our bodies;

— R — Responsibility. This is the big one. I know only about five people who, if they tell me they are going to do something, I have no doubt it will get done. That’s how I try to be and how you should try to be. If you are known as a man or woman of your word, there is no higher honor. Being responsible is the ultimate sign of maturity. This doesn’t mean you have to be an angel all the time. We all need to let our hair down now and then. But when you give your word, do your best to keep it. If you can do this, consistently, people will notice and the world will be a better place;

— E — Enjoy. Life is short. You should try to enjoy your short time on this big blue-green marble if you can. By enjoy I don’t mean making it all about money, either. For me enjoyment is sitting under a tree with a glass of iced tea and a good book, or doing a crossword puzzle, or helping my grandson build a wood-block tower. Find out how to get your dopamine (the “feel-good” brain neurotransmitter) flowing — yoga, volunteering, going fishing, whatever — and go for it. There are so many ways to really enjoy life, and many of the best ones are free. Go for it. You deserve it;

— D — Demand accountability. If you order a pizza and it comes all soggy and cold, you have a right to demand a new one. In the same way, if you eat the biggest sundae for dessert, you better go run five miles the next day. Demand accountability from people you’re paying, and more importantly, from yourself, at all times. You can do it. Demanding the best from others is much easier when you set a good example by demanding the best from yourself. Set high standards and go from there. You can’t always be perfect, but as they say in the military, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”

Finally, let’s discuss the acronym itself, “partnered.” We, all of us humans, are social animals. We can’t exist in isolation, by default. It’s just not our nature.

We need one or more of the following, the more the merrier (in alphabetical order): family, friends, God, pets. Without someone to confide in, have fun with, and ride out all of life’s ups and downs with, we’d be lost.

I’ve had people tell me, “You don’t need friends.” And I’ve just never understood that kind of thinking. Life is so much more fun when you can enjoy it with others.

So there you have it. Getting “partnered” has served me very well over the years. I hope it does the same for you.