South Park Magazine

Lessons Learned

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After a year of journaling, Leggett found that some lessons were repetitive and some contradicted each other, but all offered potential for self-instruction. As the new year begins, she shares what she learned—and relearned—to inspire your 2014.

➤People don’t always do what they say they’re going to do. Forgive them.

➤ You won’t always do what you say you’re going to do. Forgive yourself.

➤ Never underestimate the power of following up.

➤ Tip well for good service. Waiters, the people at the car wash and the people who clip your toenails deserve it.

➤ A snowfall on daffodils is one of the ways Nature tells us not to count on anything.

➤ When someone trusts you with a secret, keep it.

➤ People who feel the need to tell you how full of integrity they are probably have very little of it.

➤ Have a zero-tolerance policy for crazy.

➤ Saying “no” can be empowering.

➤ Say “yes” more.

➤ Lesson from writing camp: “Failure is nothing but a plot twist.”

➤ Meaningful work is a source of dignity.

➤ Form your own opinions about people.

➤ Support community theater. Often.

➤ I used to think of it as “networking.” But a friend helped me realize it’s really just making friends. And that has made all the difference.

➤ Gratifying travel doesn’t have to involve a plane ticket or a long journey. Exploring what’s within two hours of your home is enough to satisfy a case of wanderlust.

➤ The way to overcome a particular fear is to do that which you fear. Over and over again.

➤ There is no reason to ever be complacent.

➤ A generic hotel room offers so few distractions that it proves to be an almost inspiring place to get work done.

➤ A rainy Sunday, at its outset, can seem like a great day to stay in and get things done. It may also be a great day to do nothing. And feel OK about it.

➤ Nothing is more dangerous than a stupid person who’s been handed some power. Minimize the amount of time you have to spend with these people.

➤ When you work from home at something you love, you barely notice it’s Friday. Weekends no longer hold the same anticipatory joy they once did. But, Mondays are not the dreaded things they once were, either.

➤ Make a decision, and move on.

➤ Accept invitations.

➤ The older you get, the more attractive a Friday night in is.

➤ Lesson from yoga class: “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”

➤ Trust yourself.

➤ Never accept an invitation to a meeting when the meeting organizer cannot give you the purpose of the meeting.

➤ The old advice to finish what you start is not always right. Sometimes, cutting your losses can save your sanity.

➤ Going to the dermatologist for an annual full-body mole check is a really sad reason to do a thorough job shaving your legs.

➤ It’s OK to be a misanthrope. It’s not OK to be one and go into customer service.

➤ Don’t let anyone else tell your story for you.

➤ Lesson from yoga class: Every breath is a miracle.