A few days ago I wrote a short piece on Facebook and in it I reflected on my anxiety of a few years ago when I retired from public education. I was certain then that my future was bleak. At the time my son said to me, “with your skill set you’re sure to excel.” I was not so sure, but what I’ve discovered in the past three years is that while my skill set is important, even more important is my mindset. Years ago I learned that honesty, open mindedness and willingness were keys to a happy life. Those three simple concepts have been the key to my life. I’m talking about being honest with myself. Taking a good hard look at what I have to offer and not assuming that because of my age and experience that I have nothing more to learn. Quite the opposite in fact. Approaching life with an open mind is key to not only success but also to contentment and longevity. In Chapter 76 of the Tao te Ching this life giving principle is stated succinctly.
The living are soft and yielding;
the dead are rigid and stiff.
Living plants are flexible and tender;
the dead are brittle and dry.
Those who are stiff and rigid
are the disciples of death.
Those who are soft and yielding
are the disciples of life.
The rigid and stiff will be broken.
The soft and yielding will overcome.
Therefore if you seek a long and happy life look to be open and willing. Openness and willingness point to growth. Embrace new ideas and learning. This mindset will keep your mind, soul and body in good health.