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What are the most important lessons, thoughts, and points of wisdom you would like to share with the next generation?

If tomorrow were your last day, or you lost your ability think, or your memory was somehow erased tomorrow, what would you most want to tell the next generation? Something scientific? Something philosophical? Something about living together in peace and harmony?

Pick an age group you will be talking to, pick a venue, pick a communication method, pick a message.

Is it something like Pausch's last lecture? Steve Jobs's commencement address to Stanford? A song? A poem? A set of guidelines or principles? A code of ethics? There are no limits except...you need to encapsulate what you think would be the most important, the most useful, and the most relevant message to the next generate in 2000 characters.

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    May 17 2014: Hello Robert:>)
    I learned a long time ago, because of a near fatal injury, that today COULD be my last day of this life experience, and it also is the first day of the rest of my life. My message, as shared here on TED and other places for years, is similar to the messages passed down throughout the ages by prophets, philosophers, gurus, sages, psychologists, and teachers of many different disciplines, including Pausch and Job.

    Live life with gusto, knowing one's self to the best of our ability at any given time. Appreciate the wonderful opportunity of the life adventure, including recognizing the gifts....especially the people who cross our paths every moment. Be fully engaged in the moment for the purpose of learning, growing and evolving as an individual, while contributing to the whole.

    The life experience can be a wonderful exploration, or it can be a constant struggle.....it is what we create with our own thoughts, feelings, perceptions, perspectives, ideas, opinions and beliefs.

    Since you mention a song....this comes to mind.....
    "Kiss today goodbye,
    The sweetness and the sorrow,
    Wish me luck, the same to you,
    And I can't regret
    What I did for love, what I did for love.

    Look, my eyes are dry,
    The gift was ours to borrow,
    It's as if we always knew,
    And I won't forget what I did for love,
    What I did for Love....

    Love is never gone,
    As we travel on
    Love's what we'll remember

    Kiss today goodbye,
    And point me toward tomorrow,
    We did what we had to do,
    Won't forget, can't regret
    What I did for love....

    What I did....for....love......
    • May 17 2014: Colleen,

      Great post! I too had a near death experience several years back and surviving it reinvigorated my professional career. Many of my colleagues are so focused on retirement that they forget that your working life is an opportunity to change the world. I have taken a few more risks since that time and have chosen instead to "leave all my game on the field" and push the limits of what I can do to change things for the better. This has led me to take up a personal crusade for a cause I feel strongly about. This area is related to, but not part of my primary job function, so most of the work is on my own time in sort of a voluntary independent study kind of way. I find myself getting more strength, more positive energy, and developing more as a person from work done in this effort. I bring a different perspective to the topic and I see it as potentially leading to what might be my most important contribution to the art. This is a way I live with gusto at work.

      I think living with gusto with family and friends involves looking for opportunities to share time, experiences, and create your own happiness. There is much to be shared by celebrating the good times with family and friends and helping others work through the bad times.

      I think living with gusto in your community involves giving back to the community as much time and positive energy as you can through volunteer work and helping to solve public problems. This includes be responsible and accountable, both as a personal and a citizen.

      I think living with gusto is noticing the good in people, the positive accomplishments, the hard work, the gracious service and good deeds, and the achievements. It also means recognizing them with a compliment, a smile, or a handshake. Sometimes it means creating an opportunity, helping with a little guidance or providing some well-timed motivation to see that someone finds the determination and diligence to achieve a personal goal.

      We all define our flavor of gusto!
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        May 17 2014: Thank you Robert:>)
        I agree....we can all choose our way to live with gusto, and there are many opportunities as you insightfully point out:>)
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    May 21 2014: "Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

    Max Ehrmann, American writer. Largely unknown in the author's lifetime, the text became widely known after its use in a devotional and after spoken-word recordings in 1971 and 1972.
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    May 18 2014: I would not say anything. There is no wisdom that has not been said before, over and over, only to be ignored or forgotten. Why bother? Besides, who am I to think that what I have to say is that important? I have a hard time to get my own children listen to my advice. More than that, I have a hard time following it myself.
    • May 18 2014: My kids did not seem to be listening either,but as adults it would seem they were aware somehow of what I was saying, because they are on what I consider to be the right path through life.

      I have have read some of your posts, and I think what you say is usually very important. In this case, awareness of the validity of the source is an important point. What one considers important may not be important to another, may not be valid information, or may not be biased in some way shape or form. Similarly, "Walking the walk" as well as "Talking the talk",to show by both oral communication and observation, is key in being a credible source. I struggle to do what I know to be right daily. I think we all probably do. All good points.

      Somehow, knowledge has been passed from generation to generation. First by observation of actions of those that survived; then by drawings; then by the spoken word; then by the written word through letters, scroll, documents and books; and now by all of the above and the internet. Seems now the availability of knowledge is not as big a problem as filtering the bad from the good. In any event, we, collectively as adults, need to continue the line or the next generation is doomed to repeat many of the same mistakes we made in life. If we can replace a known mistake with knowledge about its consequences to prevent some of the ones with undesirable consequences, then the next generation is a little safer, a little healthier, a little more efficient, a little more aware of the long-term impact of seemingly good short-term decisions.

      I think we owe it to preceding generations to try and continue to communicate by all means what we believe to be be useful and truthful forward to the next generation. They will decide which of the messages are received and further promulgated. Their ability to apply lessons learned to new problems is our metric for success. The continued survival of humanity depends on this collective effort.
    • May 18 2014: Arkady,

      I know my parents thought that but I remember a lot of what they said and taught me. I also have noticed as my children get older, they seem to remember what I said and what I hoped to teach them.

      Because I want my grandchildren to know their great grand parents, I am writing a biography of my parents. Maybe they will read it - 8>))
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        May 18 2014: I like this quote from Mark Twain
        “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."
        • May 18 2014: I was thinking of that quote - 8>))
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      May 18 2014: Oh Dear Arkady!
      I agree with Robert.....what you say is important. The most important part of it, in my perception, is that you ARE exploring various thoughts, feelings and ideas, and that facilitates a great opportunity for you and everyone you interact with. I also agree with Robert, that these communications with people around our world are helping to facilitate change.

      You write..."More than that, I have a hard time following it myself."
      I suggest that as we talk the talk more and more, we begin WALKING the talk:>)

      Regarding your kids listening to you.......that sounds very familiar!
      I remember my mom passing on information that often didn't make sense to me as a young person, and somehow, it managed to get into my heart and mind in spite of myself! As an adult, I discovered myself repeating many of my mom's great lessons.

      For example....about our violent, abusive father, she advised us to love the man, hate the behavior. Well, when I was a teen, I decided that I hated him for what he did....I said the words for awhile, and it just didn't feel very good. I realized that hating was more detrimental to myself than it was to him, so hating didn't work for me....mother was right!

      When my kids were teens, they often said I philosophized and analyzed too much, and they didn't seem to want to listen to what I had to say. As adults in their 40s now, I often hear my words coming back to me, as they seem now to have accepted the ideas I shared with them....my mother's ideas....probably her mother's ideas.......etc.

      We learn, and put an idea in practice when we are ready to learn, and sometimes our experiences as we grow impact that learning when we are mindfully aware. So I strongly urge you to continue exploring, and continue talking about your explorations. I am grateful for your ideas, and I'm pretty sure your kids will be grateful one of these days.....or not....it is a choice for all of us to listen, assimilate and practice in any given moment:>)
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        May 18 2014: I've noticed that sometimes I say something to people and they disagree and may argue with me, but after a while they would say the same thing to me as if it's their own opinion. I noticed this not only with family, but with coworkers as well.
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      May 21 2014: Hello Arkady,

      When you plant seeds of wisdom in the garden of life, you never know which one will grow into a great tree of knowledge. The secret is keep on planting good seeds ...
  • May 17 2014: let me add several things -

    1. Satchel Page - Never look back, someone is always trying to catch you.
    2. Billy Joel - Keeping the faith:

    You can get just so much
    From a good thing
    You can linger too long
    In your dreams
    Say goodbye to the
    Oldies but goodies
    Cause the good ole days weren't
    Always good
    And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems

    3. Learn from your mistakes (really learn) and never repeat them

    4. Keep learning until the day you die

    5. Keep the wonder of life, tomorrow until you die.
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    May 17 2014: To age group 12 to 80, in a venue as informal as possible. Possibly using play acting in agreed scenarios as a means of communicating the following message:

    Accept and empathise with other people's ways of understanding themselves, the world and the universe. All are valid for them, and could also be valid for us. Empathy dissolves bigotry, seals friendships, and can be a fantastic and stimulating path towards learning.

    You don't have to agree with the other person, but just take a little time out away from yourself and really try to stand in their shoes for as long and as genuinely as you can, while staying true to yourself.

    See what happens...
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    Jun 6 2014: Hi Robert.

    I took one more glance at dear old TED before he retires, and caught your question. You are certainly one of the most positive, respectable and gracious members whom I have had the pleasure of sharing thoughts with. So as we say farewell, I will answer your question with this.........

    Be Kind
    Give Freely
    Be compassionate
    Never give up - you are not inadequate
    Don’t Dwell
    Do your best
    Smile often
    Work hard
    Find Balance
    Make Time to relax your mind and body
    Don’t exaggerate
    Feel blessed if you have what you need
    Rejoice in things as they are
    Be able to reorganize the mess you made
    Don’t speak out of anger
    Stay present – while you are thinking about tomorrow, you will miss today
    Take responsibility for your own actions
    Do not cause harm
    Try new things
    Be truthful
    Be thankful
    Enjoy the little things
    Embrace change
    Do not wallow in self-pity
    Be nice to everyone
    Do not be jealous
    Show compassion
    Don't hold grudges
    Be true to who you are
    Learn more
    Embrace all possibilities
    Everything really does happen for a reason
    Keep your eyes, ears and heart open
    Live, Love and Laugh with all of your heart
    and Be the change you wish to see in the world.

    Be Well Robert
    • Jun 7 2014: Amy,

      Many thanks for your kind words and great response!

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    Jun 5 2014: Be good. Be nice. Get good education. Work smart. Be frugal. Focus on the essentials of life. Smile more often. Be a good member of your family, pay your taxes, and volunteer to good causes. Take care of our Earth. Take vacation whenever possible. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH, YOUR HEART ESPECIALLY.
  • May 20 2014: Only three things:
    1) Diet - A fresh plant based diet is healthy, nothing is more important.
    2) If you break it, fix it.
    3) Never forget 1 & 2
  • May 19 2014: Every single action or inaction we take leaves its mark on this world and every living creature on it. Even if the mark is too faint for us to see, it is still there. We are responsible for the predictable consequences of our actions. If all we are is the accumulation of what we have thought, said, and done, then we are responsible for our present condition and will have exactly the future we are now creating.
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    May 19 2014: Robert,
    You have gotten a lot of good comments for this conversation. I really can't add any great pearls of wisdom, but if I had one thing, one idea I could leave behind, it would be this.
    When I was young, I believed Even today, too often, I believe.
    I believed in political candidates, used car salesmen, financial advisors, opinionated teachers, I can't list the number of times I believed. I can't list the number of times I was hoodwinked, lied too, ripped off, etc., etc.
    So, my advice
    There is no free lunch....
    No one is there to help you, if you only vote for them....
    There was no little old lady in Pasadena who drove the car on Sunday....
    You have no friends when there is money involved....
    I think there was an adage about "trust but verify".... best advice ever.
    Having said this... I did find a girl that has put up with me for over 50 years....maybe I am guilty of hoodwinking...
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    May 19 2014: 1. THE NEW GOLDEN: NEVER treat others as you would like to be treated yourself -- unless they agree to it first --because what is good for you may be damaging for others.

    2. Never stop learning from nature - it is our ultimate school.
  • May 18 2014: Know thyself. All emerges from that....or a lack of that.
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    May 18 2014: think for yourself.

    no-one is going to do it for you unless they are trying to sell you something.

    and you won't/shouldn't listen to me because we're different people.
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      R H

      • +1
      May 17 2014: It's funny isn't it? How we're constantly 'reinventing the wheel'. Here we are, with all of our millennial of history, with great minds, sages, seers, and philosophers showing us over and over how to live in peace and prosperity, yet we must continuously 'question authority' as you so succinctly put. Why is that? What happens to those who decide to 'lead' others that - somehow - none of that wisdom gets transferred into reality? So we must constantly reevaluate the message, and hold our suspicions as a highest recommendation to the next generation. Kind of makes one reconsider what what species truly is the smartest on the planet. Thnx.
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          R H

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          May 17 2014: Makes sense. And there are a lot of 'mother/feminine' social sub- movements going on today to broaden our perspectives as a response to our left-brain linear psychosis. Maybe now, because of our technical abilities and our world-wide inter cultural and instantaneous communicative abilities, this next generation can say to the following one 'continue to appreciate the knowledge we acquire' instead of 'beware of those who teach and lead'... Where do we hear these types of discussions? Where is the 'tribal council' that considers the direction of our spirit, and the insidiousness of our beliefs? They are gone, but the people are resurrecting those spirits because they have learned, once again, that we need the intelligences of experience and sensitivity to balance our mathematical proofs.
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    Jun 10 2014: Be authentic, be yourself.
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    Jun 10 2014: From my Profile ...

    An idea worth spreading

    We are all in this world, in this life together. We are all intimately and inextricably interconnected and interdependent with each other, with all beings, with Earth, with Universe. As such, what we share in common is far more important than the differences between us. Our differences are expressions of the diversity that greatly enriches our lives. Our individual uniqueness should be encouraged to blossom for each and every one of us so we may each live our lives to our fullest potentials, for our own benefit, for the benefit of all and for the benefit of Earth.

    Plus this ...

    There is more to us, and more to everything, than meets the eye, the ear, the nostril, the tongue, the finger. More than we can detect with all the instruments we have ever designed to extend these senses of ours. More than we will ever detect by all these means.

    Life is a Mystery. Your spiritual path is your path towards understanding this Mystery. Each of you has your own spiritual path, yet many of you have very similar paths which you can choose to travel together. As you travel together, inspire, encourage, assist, guide and allow each other to strive towards becoming your most fully realized self. Ultimately, however, each of you will travel alone into your own realization of Truth.

    In speaking and writing of your inner journey, use your words to the best of your ability, but at the same time do not be obsessed with words, yours or those of others. Always look beyond the words to try to discern their real meaning. Real meaning is always beyond the words, just as the moon is far beyond the finger pointing at it. Look further, look deep within for shared experience, and there you will begin to see the hints of real meaning.

    Realize that you may die at any moment. Any breath, any heartbeat may be your last. Realizing the imminent potential of your death, will help you be inspired and guided to live your life more fully.
  • May 20 2014: You can't win.
    You can't break even.
    You can't quit the game.
    Now, go enjoy yourself or people will hate you.
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    May 17 2014: Now and days people need to know do what you have to do in order to do what you want to do. Get it over with stop the complaining like a kid and be a mature adult if not already and just get the work done. You don't want to go through the hard work, but guaranteed at that end of the day when you can look back at it you would be excited that you got something done.
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    May 17 2014: Hi Colleen. Congrats, you've written a handbook of wisdom in only ten lines. I agree with you. If we'd able to live following these concepts, our lives should be undoubtedly better.
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      May 17 2014: Thank you Sean:>)
      I've had plenty of time and opportunities to learn, and lots of good guides along the way. Sometimes the experiences would not be my preference, and it is what it is.....opportunities never the less:>)
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    R H

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    May 16 2014: To coming of age young people who are not sociopathic: Know who you are, and have no fear. You are everything you've been given, and no one else possesses that in the same way. No one can do things just the way you do. You are truly valuable and a miracle maker - just the way you are.
    To coming of age young people that are sociopaths: Know who you are, and get help.