Birthdays are bad days on which to dispense advice; but then, so are all other days. As J. R. R. Tolkien wrote (LotR, Chapter 3):

'And it is also said,' answered Frodo: 'Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.'

'Is it indeed?' laughed Gildor. 'Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill. ...'

But since today I turn 50 years old, unwise as I remain, may I be excused for sharing a suggestion, albeit not a profound one?

Over the years I've often been bestirred, frustrated, angry at times, over other people's words and actions that I disagreed with. It has taken me a long while to figure out that most people, most of the time, try to do what they think is right. Admittedly their conception of "right" may be narrow, short-sighted, or based on incomplete information. But they usually mean well nonetheless; they're doing the best they can, under the circumstances.

So there's little good to be achieved by getting mad, or even irked, at those with whom I differ. This applies to politicians, corporations, and nations. It also applies to the individuals I encounter every day: at home, on the road, at work, and at play. It makes more sense to offer them help (if they're willing to accept it) --- ideas, new data, possible paths toward a wider perspective --- than to argue with them.

And even better than that, it makes infinite sense to work on improving myself --- the only person I have any direct control over (if I have any of that!)....

(see also OptimistCreed (16 Apr 1999), WhatIsMyLife (20 Apr 1999), EducationVersusEduction (30 Apr 1999), BlameStorming (15 May 1999), ChangingSelves (20 May 1999), EatingOnesOwnCooking (17 Jun 1999), BennettOnLife (19 Mar 2000), ExempliGratia (22 Apr 2000), SelfImprovement (29 Jul 2002), ...)

TopicPersonalHistory - TopicLife - 2002-09-29

(correlates: BeTheChange, LowProfile, JoggingAdvice, ...)

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