25. PETER JESSENS PERSONAL LIST of advice for young people
For the "Memories" book of my high school 40th anniversary reunion, in September 1999, we were asked to answer 14 questions. My favorite was: "what advice do you have for young people today?" I answered with two lists, the first: "3 themes" and the second: "10 propositions," designed to enable the reader to better deal with the complexity of the "coordination problem," which Harry Bredemeier defines as: the problem of coordinating inter-dependent role players in the teeth of their autonomy.
(1) Develop and maintain good habits (physical, mental, relational)
(2) Read widely and deeply for personal and professional development; and
(3) Carefully select those with whom you will associate (who you hang out with).
The 10 propositions:
(1) Change is the only constant; be prepared and know how to tell which of the "3Fs" to follow: fight, flee or flow.
(2) Without instincts for human social interaction we have to create instinct substitutes: roles. Which become habits. That's why we are creatures of habit. Know your roles and know that people react with role expectations. So the key: know your role for each situation and don't break role. Create good habits that lead to personal and professional success, not defeat
(3) Live by these 7 key words or phrases to live by/take action with [see more elsewhere on this site]
(3-1) Kindness to others (William James, considered the father of American Psychology said there were three keys to success in relationships: (1) kindness, (2) kindness, and (3) kindness.
(3-2) Positive mental attitude
(3-3) Lead others through making/following lists and through collaborative empowerment (these are the two greatest motivators)
(3-4) Equitable justice/sovereignty/conflict resolution, and reconcile relationships;
(3-5) Read daily! Charlie Jones has stated that we will be the "same people today as you'll be in five years, except for two things: the people you meet and the books your read." "Leaders are readers." Read daily on leadership in order to ensure personal and professional growth and development. In other words, watch out what ideas you let your mind hang out with. On the flip side: watch out regarding what people you hang out with, and stay away from those who are negative, abusive, and/or who are not supportive and who work to kill your dreams
(3-6) " do justice, & love kindness, & walk humbly with your God" (OT Micah 6:8)
(3-7) What can be done to foster love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control? (NT: Gal. 5:22-23)
(4) You are what you think: whether you think you can
or cannot, you are correct
(5) As you are a mind with a body, train the mind as much as the body
(6) Associate with people who are positive, uplifting, and encouraging
(7) Evaluate any social change program or agenda in terms of a "calculus of meaning" and a "calculus of pain"
(8) In terms of your life's vision's goals and plans for achieving those goals, frequently ask what your GPA is (goals per action), and, in light of your answer, ask Brandon's question: "Am I confident that this is the way I want to invest my time and life?"
(9) Don't just hope, ACT: in Teddy Roosevelt's words, "dare mighty things" even if you fail; get "in the arena," and accept the errors that accompany all efforts, as it is better to fail and suffer and be alive than to avoid so that one "neither enjoys much nor suffers much" as they "know not victory or defeat." Thus, have "great enthusiasms, great devotions," "spend on a worthy cause," and know at least "the daring that resulted in failing and strive for "the triumph of achievement," and thus
(10) In Peter Berger's phrase, make sure you stand up for the principle that "Nothing should be taken so seriously that it be allowed to supercede one's capacity for laughter."