THE BLOG

Three Powerful Life Lessons From My 93-Year-Old Grandpa

07/09/2017 11:45

What life lessons did you learn from your grandparents or other elders in your community? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Eva C. Reder, Co-Founder NomadApp & GrowthMasters:

My grandfather Franz was born in 1924, grew up in rural Austria and lived through the Second World War. At only 19 years old and 110 lbs he was sent to war in Russia as one of the smallest and youngest soldiers in his group. He got shot through the shoulder and survived only because the cold Russian winter froze his wound.

The person I got to know is not that miserable 19-year old that got sent to the war in Russia. The person I know is full of life, generous beyond limits, and consistent and reliable like nobody else.

Let me share with you the main three lessons that he has taught me and the habits that have kept him happy, healthy and alive for 93 years.

Here's a picture of my grandpa and my grandma

1) The Power of Discipline and Routines

Day after day for years I would wake up to the gurgling sound of the old well in our backyard. My Opa's morning routine starts at 7 am by washing himself with ice-cold water from the well. He does that with everything: He eats lunch at 12am every day, cuts wood in the fall, climbs up to the highest branch of the cherry tree in summer and buys the groceries every Tuesday and Friday.

He taught me that greatness doesn't come from giving in to every single desire you might have in any given moment. Successful people are able to perform out of pure discipline because their WHY is strong enough to keep them going.

He has been exercising his discipline muscle for over 90 years and let me tell you: his habits have compounded and kept him alive.

Why I think this matters:
In a time when success can basically be reduced to the sum of your habits establishing routines and practicing discipline are key factors in achieving our goals. I, like many of us millennials, have been given everything: great education, world-class health-care, a loving family and financial stability.

There is no excuse to not become successful at whatever goal we set for ourselves. The number one barrier is ourselves. Discipline and consistency are the ingredients for success.

2) Generosity and Modesty

Every Christmas and birthday we have the same problem: what to buy for Opa? There's nothing that you can make him keep.

Being a giver has made him one of the happiest and most appreciated people alive. No matter what it is: money, the best piece of bacon, or his time. He gives it all away.

Last year we had to take away his car keys in winter. because my 93-year old grandpa stubbornly kept driving his 70-year old friend to the local store and paid for his groceries.

Why I think this matters:
We've become more and more self-centric in the last few decades. Sometimes it's good to see people act selflessly and generously. I am convinced that being a giver instead of a taker will open doors.

3) Being Present and Nurturing Friendships

When I close my eyes I see my grandpa right there sitting under the chestnut tree in the backyard trying to solve one of the crossword word puzzles in the newspaper.

His doors are always open to anybody who needs company. People know that they can always stop by, sit down under the chestnut tree and enjoy a few hours of happy chatting and house-made food served by my grandma. And believe me: they DO stop by...

I've always admired his magnetic ability of bringing together people of any background that all adore and appreciate him. He taught me to invest in relationships and nurture them over decades.

Loneliness is unknown to my grandpa.

Why I think this matters:
One of the things our generation craves most is the feeling of "belonging". May of us are lonely and lack strong relationships. I will forever think back to the traits that made my grandpa the center of social life and loved by so many people: he doesn't set the stakes too high (anybody that brought joy to his life was welcome), he is a great storyteller that can cheer up anybody in an instant but also listen, he made himself a name as a person that will always make time for those that matter to him.

The last point really resonates with me: I am convinced that many of us are lonely for no reason. We market ourselves as being constantly busy - at some point people just stop asking to hang out and assume that you have something more important going on. Open up time for people and nurture your relationships. It will pay off.

Much of what I believe in is grounded on what he stands for. I try to build my life around the power of routines, generosity, and being grateful for what I was given.

More:

Uk Lifestyle
Comments

CONVERSATIONS