If you live long enough (at fifty-five, I have), you will start to see the wisdom of your parents. Growing up in Merchantville, NJ, I rebelled at taking advice from my parents. They gave me all sorts of counsel: brush your teeth, study hard, and save your allowance for a rainy day.

After a half-century and massive gold work in my mouth, I learned too late that I should have heeded my parent's advice. I also wish that I could retake many of the classes in college that I blew off. In addition, I am belatedly gearing up for retirement. I don't know where all the time has gone.

I don't recall what the subject of the parental lecture was years ago that caused me to flee for sanctuary across Norwood Avenue to the home of my friend from China. Soon, I was complaining about my parent's unsolicited admonition. As I grumbled, Mr. Lee allowed me to vent. Then he took me aside and said, "Allen, don't spend all your time reinventing the wheel." Needless to say, my friend and mentor's counsel went right over my head. He was attempting to help me to learn from the experience of others rather than wasting my time learning from trial and error.

In addition to the virtues of brushing teeth, studying hard, and saving money, I would like to share with you ten additional truths that I have learned over the years. I call them Campbell's Ten Truths. If you have children, let them read these insights about life. They may glean some truths and may not have to reinvent the wheel when they grow up. Even if you have seen a number of seasons come and go, it is never too late to learn. Here are some insights that might help you to avoid reinventing the wheel:

  1. God loves you, and we live in a universe that is essentially hospitable toward us. Although, there are times when life doesn't seem forgiving or good, on balance, life is a blessing.
  2. The sun will rise tomorrow regardless of how dark your present day might be. If you posit this truth, you will live a more positive life with a lot less anxiety and fear.
  3. Look for the blessings in the problems of life; they are packed with possibilities for greatness. We can learn far more from setbacks than from successes. Trouble is harbinger of opportunity-if seized upon.
  4. Exercise every day, watch what you eat, and don't smoke. All else pales in comparison when one is suffering from poor health. Therefore, invest in your good health. As of yet, we haven't cloned replacement parts for damaged or misused organs. So take care of yourself.
  5. Do something every day that you enjoy. Never forget to reward yourself. If you take care of yourself by doing things that make your life fun and interesting, you will make your time on Earth rewarding.
  6. Schedule your daily activities so that you manage your time wisely. Good time management is essential for being productive. Write down the tasks and execute your daily agenda.
  7. Dream your dreams and work to realize them. Set a goal. List all the things that need to be done to achieve it. Then schedule the resolution of each problem on a calendar. Finally, imagine what it will be like when you obtain your goal for five minutes, five times a day. This foretaste of accomplishment will motivate you to work for its acquisition.
  8. Learn from others and share your knowledge with others. Each of us can learn from those around us. In addition, we learn more about that which we share with them.
  9. Smell as many roses and take in as many sunsets as possible. Don't waste the beauty that is all about you. The number of esthetically rewarding experiences is an ever diminishing and finite number.
  10. Do first to others how you want them to treat you. By modeling appropriate behavior for them, they will generally return to you what they have experienced from you.

Having read my list, put into writing your ten ideas about life. Then discuss your insights with your children or other family members. Your ideas will make it possible for them not to have to reinvent the wheel in their lives. You could also e-mail me your list so that I can share it with others.