Some new year life lessons

The Amherst News - - OPINION - Alan Wal­ter Did You Know Alan Wal­ter is a re­tired pro­fes­sional en­gi­neer liv­ing in Ox­ford. He was born in Wales and worked in Hal­i­fax. He spends much of his time in Ox­ford, where he op­er­ates a small farm. He can be reached at alan­wal­[email protected]

This is the time of year when we take time to re­flect on what kind of a year it’s been and what we hope for in the new year.

Whether good or bad ex­pe­ri­ences, there are lessons to be learned that hope­fully will help us avoid re­peat­ing the bad things and make a habit of re­peat­ing the good stuff.

I don’t have the skills to make this kind re­flec­tive ex­er­cise worth­while un­less I con­sult wiser minds who seem to be able to cap­ture valu­able thoughts that can re­ally help me out.

Such a per­son is Bob Lef­setz, a 65-yearold whose day job is as an Amer­i­can mu­sic in­dus­try an­a­lyst and critic, and au­thor of the email news­let­ter and blog, the Lef­setz Let­ter … lef­ Call­ing Santa Mon­ica, Cal­i­forna home, he also dis­penses sage ad­vice on deal­ing with life’s many ad­ver­si­ties and was rec­om­mended to me by my son Henry as worth fol­low­ing.

Most re­cently he pro­duced an ex­cel­lent blog en­ti­tled “Lef­setz’s life’s lessons.” With his per­mis­sion I re­pro­duce that blog in two seg­ments ap­pear­ing in this week’s and then next week’s ar­ti­cle. I think you will find some en­cour­ag­ing and amus­ing thoughts in what fol­lows.

So, to be­gin ………


1. You can’t make it alone. No one is com­plete, ev­ery­one needs help and


2. Be the best you can be, that’s your only hope, don’t try to be some­one else, it’s your unique­ness that’s your call­ing card. Your goal is to be your­self and then to glom on to some­one who can com­ple­ment your great­ness and beam you into the strato­­sum­ing that’s where you want to go. That’s not the only goal, hap­pi­ness is key, some­times a lit­tle is enough.

3. Don’t sand off your rough edges, learn how to get along, but don’t as­pire to be a namby-pamby wuss without opin­ions. We grav­i­tate to those with edges, who ex­press what we feel but can­not say.

4. Get­ting it right is worth a lot. Most peo­ple don’t try that hard. Oth­ers try to do it just like ev­ery­body else. Your goal is to ful­fill your vi­sion and get it right for your­self. When you do, oth­ers will res­onate.

5. In­tro­verts need ex­tro­verts, op­po­sites at­tract, look for some­one to fill the holes you can­not. (This is an ana­logue of #1, but it bears re­peat­ing in a so­ci­ety where ev­ery­body’s try­ing to be some­one they are not.)

6. Leave the house. Even if you’re not sure you want to go. On­line is a fac­sim­ile of life. You can only truly be alive when you in­ter­act with other peo­ple. You never know what will hap­pen, as­sum­ing you are play­ing.

7. Ev­ery­body hates fail­ure and loss. The key is to put your­self in un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tions. Once you do this you’ll find out the good re­sults out­weigh the bad, and then you will be em­pow­ered to take new risks.

8. Ev­ery­body is lonely too. If you’re hon­est and forth­right you might be able to make a con­nec­tion. Be vul­ner­a­ble, peo­ple are at­tracted to that.

9. For ev­ery per­son who doesn’t re­mem­ber meet­ing you, who doesn’t say hi, there are many who re­mem­ber ev­ery word you said and are ea­ger to in­ter­act with you again.

10. Those who talk longest are unaware they’re wast­ing your time. Learn how to extract your­self grace­fully from these one-sided con­ver­sa­tions.

I hope you found some­thing in this list that will prove use­ful in this new year.

Next week’s ar­ti­cle con­cludes with Lef­setz’s Life’s Lessons, 11 to 21.

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