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  • Writer's pictureBen Watson

Life is Like a Piano. It has 88 Keys.

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Mr. Watson's 88 keys to happiness in life. Life values over note values.

1. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mark Twain

2. Be the answer to someone’s prayer. Sometimes the smallest act of kindness or awareness will lift someone’s day or potentially save their life.

3. Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools because they have to say something. Plato

4. Practice should be a little painful. Pay the price of practice if you truly want to be excellent at something.

5. Resist the temptation to interrupt your instructor. Be an active listener.

6. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is “What are you doing for others?” Martin Luther King, Jr.

7. Love people. Not stuff.

8. Seek out a good mentor. Ideally, someone to whom you’re not related.

9. You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

C.S. Lewis

10. Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. John Wesley

11. Dress better than is required.

12. Education is not limited to the walls of a university. The world is your campus.

13. Think it. Don’t say it.

14. Work to live. Don’t live to work.

15. Disagree gracefully, but be firm in your defense of truth.

16. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes of your goal.

Henry Ford

17. Take deliberate breaks from digital technology.

18. Be involved with creating things with your hands.

19. Be the first to reach out.

20. Failing is part of living. The key, though, is learning to fail forward.

21. Consider the words found in James 1:5

22. Though the world may seem like it’s falling apart, you don’t have to be paralyzed by it. Make goals. Plant trees. Pursue your dreams. Things will work out, and you will find fulfillment.

23. Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln

24. Grief is the price we pay for love. Queen Elizabeth II

25. By small things, big things come to pass. A big door moves on a small hinge.

26. Everybody struggles with something. Give them a break.

27. Do not be controlled by vices. Self-discipline brings self-confidence. Self-confidence will unleash your potential.

28. Celebrate the victories of others.

29. Learn the phrase “You were right. I was wrong.”

30. Follow the news, but don’t be paralyzed by it.

31. Don’t sleep through life.

32. Have a can-do attitude. In more cases than not, it’s okay to use the phrase “Sure. Why not?”

33. Learn to play chess.

34. Be on time.

Better to be an hour early than a minute late.

35. You are what you repeatedly do. Aristotle

36. Be grateful for good friends, and show it.

37. Be the one who picks up the piece of garbage everyone else walks past.

38. Destroy your enemies by making them your friends. Abraham Lincoln

39. God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability. Neil Maxwell

40. It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company. George Washington

41. Be flexible with circumstances beyond your control, but be immovable in your guiding principles.

42. Keeping working at it until you get it right.

43. Be resourceful. If you don’t think you have the tools, look again. Look harder. Ask for help.

44. Seek to understand, and then seek to be understood. Stephen Covey

45. Good leaders serve.

46. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Famous Chinese Proverb

47. Begin the race to finish the race.

48. Cleaning up is part of playing.

49. Sometimes taking a wrong-turn is part of the larger journey in life.

50. Think twice before pressing send—if the message may anger. Don’t hesitate if the message may gladden.

51. Call your parents. They want to hear your voice.

52. Not all those who wander are lost. Tolkien

53. Seek to express, not to impress.

54. Never stop for or pick up hitchhikers. Never. ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE ALONE. This is also true for people who are “broke down” on the side of a road. If you’re concerned about their wellbeing, simply call 911 and report the situation to police or highway patrol. I promise, . . .they will be okay.

55. Take time to be still. Learn how to ponder.

56. Turning off the darkness in your life is done by turning on the lights in your life. Fill your life with light, and the darkness will naturally start going away. When it’s dark, we don’t say “turn off the dark.” We usually say “turn on the lights.

57. Always wear a seatbelt.

58. Always be aware of your surroundings. It’s called situational awareness. Look for potential hazards, suspicious individuals, emergency exits, etc.

59. Be an active listener. It’s incredibly rude to be on an electronic device when someone is speaking to you.

60. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do in order to become the person you want to become.

61. It’s okay to say, “No, Thank you.

62. Remember, the definition of luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Yet, if you don’t seize the opportunity, there is no luck.

63. When practicing and mistakes manifest, follow the three F’s: Find it, Fence it, Fix it.

64. Seeking the happiness of others will bring you happiness.

65. Be patient with your bosses. Leadership can be lonely.

66. Be coachable. Great is the athlete who hungers for improvement.

67. Don’t yell so much.

68. Seek the truth in all things. “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” Winston Churchill

69. Don’t be so fixated on your destination that you lose sight of the view and opportunities along the way.

70. Music is powerful. Be careful what you listen to.

71. Forgiveness is sometimes difficult. Try, though. Try to forgive. However, forgiving doesn’t necessarily require forgetting.

72. When you’re traveling through unsavory parts of a city, or are on public transportation—and don’t want to be bothered by panhandlers or other strangers—pull out your mobile phone and pretend you’re having a conversation. Nobody will bother you. This always works.

73. Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Benjamin Franklin

74. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

75. Have respect for property. It is impossible to respect someone if you don’t respect their stuff.

76. Filthy language is a sign of poor discipline.

77. The world has both good and bad people. Don’t simply assume that because someone is nice, they are good. Trust carefully, and verify. The term “con artist” is short for “confidence artist”. Con artists succeed when they convince you they are good because they are nice. Be cautious when you sense someone might be in this camp. Caution: a red flag to look for is when a new acquaintance seems to always agree with your opinions (matters of politics, religion, philosophy, business, family matters, etc.).

78. Have the courage to change the subject when the topic is unsavory. Chances are, others are inwardly hoping someone will do so.

79. Bullying is pathetic. If you’re a bully, follow this simple two word lecture: Stop It!

80. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

81. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else. David Bednar

82. Don’t be ignorant of the laws of the land. Learn your rights and courageously defend them. Don’t be a mindless citizen. Assert your position as a caring member of society.

83. You don’t have to laugh at dirty jokes.

84. The world owes you nothing. You must be ever-vigilant in carving your own path to success. The burden rests upon you . . . not others.

85. The true mark of character lies in what you do when no one is looking.

86. When someone is talking to you, that person should be the complete focus of your attention.

87. When speaking your point—be clear, calm, concise, and collected. The emotion-filled, voice-raised response is often the weaker one.

88. Stand for the right, even when it means you have to stand alone.

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