This week my family and I are celebrating what would have been my Grandpa’s 100th birthday. He was an exceptional human and in the spirit of the new year, I thought I would share some of the inspiring ways he lived his life.
Striving for Excellence, not Perfection
Grandpa died 6 months ago, so very close to that century milestone that I felt a little disappointed for him that he didn’t reach it. Grandpa himself would never have been disappointed because in reality, 99 and a half is INCREDIBLE, and just like we still give a standing ovation when a cricketer gets out a run or two short of a century, we should all be celebrating a fantastic innings rather than lamenting what might have been.
Perfectionism is a cultural norm in the world we live in and all too often we forget to celebrate what has been achieved when we don’t quite achieve perfection. This year, let’s all strive for excellence rather than perfection.
Live Life with Purpose
Like many of his generation, Grandpa was a hard worker. His work was one of his great passions and he continued to go to his office every day until he was 96! He once told me he planned to never retire, because he needed to keep his mind active. Had he been physically able to continue, I'm sure he would have eventually passed away peacefully at his desk.
Having a purpose is an innate human need, but this purpose has to be defined by each of us. So often we have expectations of ourselves that are derived from society or our education or other social influences.
What might our life look like if we really thought through what we wanted for ourselves, what our purpose was, and we went for it?
Take Care of Yourself
You don’t often reach the age of 99 without taking care of yourself. Grandpa didn’t smoke, he ate moderately, rarely drank alcohol and remained physically active for as long as he was able.
Most of us happily overindulge over the festive season, and what better time to do it? But throughout the year, regularly checking in with ourselves to make sure we are fulfilling our basic requirements for sleep, nutrition, exercise and mental/emotional well-being is so important.
I know many people that don’t aim to live to 100, but taking care of ourselves is one of the keys to good mental health and the physical ability to live a full life.
Excuses are no substitute for results
One of my favourite quotes by Grandpa is “Excuses are no substitute for results”.
There will always be reasons or excuses for why we don’t achieve something, miss a deadline or hurt someone else.
Being personally accountable for our commitments and our mistakes leads us to being more honest with ourselves. And honesty, while uncomfortable at times, is always the fastest path to growth.
Grandpa was known for his tact, diplomacy and patience. He never seemed to absorb negativity and when I asked him how he dealt with difficult people, his response was that he "tried to add some sunshine into their life”. He felt that everyone has troubles to deal with and instead of taking things personally, he tried to offer something to brighten their day.
I’ve always been touched by those words and in 2018, at a time when the world could really use some kindness, I will definitely be adding this to my goals.
Cressida Bell Counselling – Anxiety Specialist with a particular interest in perinatal mental health, body image and relationship issues.
Tel: 0466 686 161 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org