the key to success

My father sent me an email this evening.  It was a list of rules to live by and the keys to success.  He has apparently been compiling the list for a while now and decided to forward it on to the next generation.  I thought it was a pretty good list, so I figured I would pass it on down the line to you. 

Rules to live by:

Determine what you actually believe in.   This is one of the most important tasks each person has in life.  Without understanding what you believe in you cannot your live within your own beliefs

Always be true to yourself. Your beliefs should always govern your actions

Always assume you are right until proven otherwise; however always be ready to admit you were wrong if it turns out that way.  You must have confidence in yourself but you can never allow yourself to be unwilling to learn or change.

Listen to others. Learn from them. 

There is no such thing as a free lunch!  Everything has a cost. It is just hard to see in some cases.

Honesty is the only way to a happy life. If you never do anything you’re ashamed of honesty is easy.  If you feel you may have to lie about doing something, don’t do it!

Learn to make decisions.  If you make a wrong decision, then make another one.  You will eventually get one right!

Be prepared to never stop learning.  As soon as you stop learning you are obsolete or dead, maybe both. 

Always be fair to others, and never allow others to be unfair to you.

You and only you are responsible for your happiness.

Success is getting what you aspire to.  Happiness is being happy with who you are and what you have.  They aren’t the same thing, never forget that.

Never forget that there is no such thing as a free lunch!  

Never forget that there is no such thing as a free lunch!  

Never forget that there is no such thing as a free lunch!  

No the above is not a typo.  It just needs to be emphasized.


The following are keys to success in all things:

Personal responsibility: 

You must assume responsibility for your actions. You must assume responsibility for your results also. 

Willingness to learn:

You must never stop learning new things. You should try to learn at least one new thing everyday.  If you not have learned something in the last week you are in not working hard enough. If you have not learned something new in the last month you are in trouble! If you haven’t learned something in the last year you must be dead! 


You must be honest in all things, but most of all to yourself. 

Work hard: 

No one ever succeeded sitting on their backside. 

Play hard: 

Play is where you recharge you batteries. If you don’t take time to play you will fail eventually.

You don’t always need a detailed map: 

You can start a long journey without a knowing every road along the way. To start a trip to California you only have to head west.  It’s at least 2500 miles before you need any real details. 

Don’t be afraid to fail: 

Failure is a result of trying to do hard things.  Never failing is an indication of not attempting anything hard or worthwhile.  A person learns more in one failure than in 10 successes.


This last key resonates the most for me.  Don't be afraid to fail.  How many of us have given up before we have even tried just so we could tell ourselves we didn't fail?  We can't fail if we don't try.  But we can't succeed if we don't fail.  I sort of don't mind all the rejection letters now.  It really is all part of the journey. 

Thanks Dad.

Until the next time...I'll be working on my own list! 

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on July 20, 2011 .