| Living a Really Great Life... Final Thoughts on 2012
A Column of personal opinion by John Rinaldi, Founder and Owner of Real Time Automation.
It’s the end of another year and this is our final issue of 2012. This is one of the best things I get to do all year - write articles that aren’t about things like Profibus, EtherNet/IP or some other technology. It’s a real joy.
Since 2012 is coming to an end, I’ve already started thinking about everything that’s happened this year. It was a pretty exceptional year for me. One that I will remember for a long, long time. Here’s a few highlights:
· I lost weight! After years and years of growing waistlines I dropped two pants sizes. A sales guy at Nordstrom shamed me into it by saying “Boy, I don’t know if we have anything that big.”
· I shaved my mustache and goatee – I’ll do anything to lose weight. It was scraggly and old. It needed to go. I am now completely sans hair – not entirely by choice.
· By the time you read this I will have seen Hawaii. I am scheduled to be there for two weeks in early December.
· I had great vacations to Florence Italy, Nashville TN and Clearwater FL.
· Business was good. Sales will be up significantly again for the 3rd or 4th year in a row. I had fun. We added some terrific new people to our staff and I finished another book. It’s on relationships and women for men. Don’t ask me how I got started on that project.
Of course, not everything went my way. I had my share of sadness and tragedies. I had a significant personal tragedy on July 11 at 2:30pm. A date and time I’ll never be able to forget. I also lost some good friends this year. Jeff Bock, a good guy from Freescale Semiconductors, laid down on his couch one night this year and never rose. 39 is much too young to die. Shocking to everyone who knew him.
The sadness and tragedies of 2012 got me to thinking about how I want to live to have a really great life. I am sure that each of you has your own list but I wrote down the things that are important to me and I’d like to share them with you:
LIVE FIT AND HEALTHY - No one can be truly happy when living in ill-health. You can’t fully enjoy life, your children and grandchildren, a sunset, a walk on the beach or anything else from a hospital room or in hospice care.
LIVE LIFE INDEPENDENT AND FREE - Too many of us live those lives of quiet desperation. Live in mediocrity. Some of us work at jobs we hate. Some of us have married the girl we just happened to be dating when it was time to get married. We’ve stopped dreaming and now are just playing out the string. THAT’S NOT HOW TO LIVE. You have to take chances. Live without fear. Approach and date the most amazing people you can find. Take on the really complex, difficult projects at work. Start your own business. Sky dive. See New Zealand. Bike around Hawaii. LIVE LIKE YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE AT LIFE.
MASTER YOUR EMOTIONS - No one can be successful in the world or in a relationship without mastery of their emotions. This concept deserves a book of its own. You have to be in control and have confidence that you know you can handle anything that life throws at you. And it will. You’ll get sick. Your business partner will die suddenly. Your spouse will leave you. Your child will be in a terrible car accident. Your company will go out of business. Life is going to throw curve balls at your head and sometimes hit you pretty hard. You have to keep your head about you, handle it and move forward.
YOUR MISSION IS PRIMARY – I’ve been thinking of this a lot. I have come to believe that everyone has a mission in life. A reason we are on this planet. I think our core purpose may differ when it comes to men and women, but we can never be happy until we know what our mission is and that we are working to complete it.
LIVE LIFE ON THE EDGE - This principle is very easy to implement. If you fear it, you have to do it. If you fear starting a business – start one. If you’re single and you fear attracting, seducing and building a relationship with that attractive person at the health club – ask for a date today. Think about what and where your fears lie and take one step beyond them. Fear is our number one enemy. Never, ever make decisions or act out of fear.
BE A LEADER – Be the one that everyone depends on. Be the person who gets the difficult work assignments because everyone knows you’ll handle it. Lead the Building committee at your parish or synagogue. Lead your family. What this really means is to take real, conscious responsibility for your life and the lives of the people that are dependent on you.
BE DECISIVE – You aren’t always going to make correct decisions but make decisions and stand by them. If they are wrong, learn from them and move on. Listen to those around you, but in the end make your own decision, stand by it and accept the responsibility for it. That’s what a leader does, and it’s an attractive quality.
BE CONSCIOUS – Be present in the moment. This is hard for me and has been even harder in 2012. When you’re at work, be at work and fully conscious of your work. When at home, be fully conscious with your spouse and your family. No cheating on this.
LIVE LIFE WITH INTEGRITY – Live by your commitments. No lies, deceptions or half-truths. Say what you are going to do. Do what you say. Once you make a commitment be 100% loyal and faithful to it. If you can’t do that then don’t make the commitment.
KEEP A CLOSE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS – No one can have hundreds of friends. Friends on Facebook are a joke. There are two important aspects to friends. One, you need to find friends that are living the kind of life you are living or, preferably, a better life. You should be able to take some value from each person. Two, once you have them in your small inner circle, you have to be absolutely loyal, caring and supportive of them. You have to know that if something bad happens, you have friends that will be there and do anything they can to help.
I don’t think you can live a great life unless you know what you value. These are the values that I am choosing to live by in 2013. Can I do it? It’s going to be hard. I have a real problem implementing some of these things. I am imperfect and have a lot of work to do.
Someone asked me where FUN is in this list. I looked at it and said it’s not in there. But then I thought again. If I take on difficult projects and succeed, that’ll be fun. If I face my fears and conquer them I’ll have fun (I’m scared to death of riding in a helicopter, for example, but will probably enjoy it). If I’m a better friend, if I’m more conscious with my family and I’m living independent and free – how can that not be fun?
I turned 56 years old in 2012. That means I already have 17 years on Jeff Bock. I might have 10 minutes more. I might have 40 years. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have to make that time special and I plan to do that in 2013 by living these values.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!