Daily Habits for Happiness, by EBL

My Dad has had a full and rewarding life. He was: An Eagle Scout, Camp Counselor for six years starting at age 14, a lifetime National Ski Patrolman, also starting at age 14, started eight successful small businesses in 30 years, holder of four US patents, member of the National Speakers Association, authored and published 15 books that sold in 22 countries… I could go on. But I think you will agree after reading what follows, he is a real “Value Added” kind of guy!

I recently wrote to my Dad and asked him to write down the best ‘Daily Habits’ that made him successful and happy. Here’s how I plan to use my Dad’s written response… the same way I hope you the reader will too.

I’ll use it for two reasons:
First, The Legacy- to pass down to my children.
Second, To share with the world.

Here are my Dad’s Daily Habits:

1. “ MAKE IT a Great Day !!”
My Dad does Not say… ever…, “ Have a Good Day”. He always says when ending a call or a personal visit, “Make it a Great Day.” Ask yourself: Who is responsible to make it a ‘Great Day’? YOU Are ! End your conversations with this phrase.

2..”Leave Your Campsite Better Than You Found It.”
My Dad learned this from his parents as a young camper. Substitute ‘Campsite’ for “Your World”, “Your Career”, “Your Church”, “Your Community”, etc. This advice builds legacies.

3. “Learn and Use Time Management Skills Daily.”
My Dad,who is now in his 80s, gets more done than anyone I have ever met! What is his secret? He always uses a Clipboard with a form to make a Weekly Plan, in advance of Every week! He writes down his plan on the single page form that includes a box for each of the seven days. (Yes, weekends too), along with a listing on the right side for all the “Projects To Be Completed This Week”. He starts planning, on paper, each week in the middle of the previous week. He includes Meetings & Appointments, etc. Then he keeps the Weekly Plan clipboard near him during every day and crosses out items as he finishes them. At the end of each week, he “Carries Forward” any items not finished in the current week. My Dad guarantees that this will result in much more being accomplished. It will for you, too!

4. “Networking, Meet Greet And Connect”
My Dad wrote books for business people that sold in many countries. His network of associates ranged from state and national level politicians to presidents of national associations to heating company technicians. He even taught a seminar on this subject, of the same name as the title of this paragraph. Once he and I lived together away from home when I was starting my first position just out of college, and he was starting another new business in a new market area. When we would both attend the same Business After Hours Chamber of Commerce evening mixer, he and I would compete to see who could meet the most new people, trade business cards, and get a potential new business leads. The loser bought that night’s pizza. I bought a lot of pizza! My Dad suggests that you don’t hang around those you already know at events like this. One of his saying is: “Act like the Host, not the Guest.” His advice works. Try It.

5. “Don’t Burn Bridges”
Here’s my Dad’s plan for if and when you are involved in something painful, like a job that is not going well or a business association that is not fulfilling for you: Write down how you feel on paper and sleep on it. If you resign via a letter, then send the only the first and the last paragraphs only. In other words, do not itemize the “conflict” information. Only tell them “ … unfortunately, I am resigning….” [ first paragraph], and “… thank you for the opportunity to work with you and my best wishes…” [ second paragraph]. That way no bridges are ever burned.

6. “Always Keep a Log of All Your Personal Spending.”
My Dad first learned this from his Mother, Most personal finances experts say it too. Why? For starters, My Dad would say it will save you money… because it takes time, energy, and the trait of persistence to always write it down. And my Dad calls it “painful”. He itemizes in a loose ring notebook using a dozen tabbed categories…. like: ‘Home’, ‘Utilities’, ‘Food’, ‘Insurance’, ‘Clothing’, ‘Medical’, ‘Education’, ‘Transportation’, ‘Gifts’, ‘Recreation’, ‘Contributions’, and ‘Miscellaneous’. A Log like this comes in handy at tax preparation time, or when, at times when bill comes in higher than expected. It allows you to look back, compare what you paid previously and then make a plan to respond to them, as necessary.

7. “Calculate Rates of Increase on Bills.”
This daily habit goes along with the previous one described in #6. For repetitive bills, like insurance, or utilities…. when they raise their rates, “calculate” the rate of increase percentage, and consider calling them . My Dad calls to “thank” them if it’s less than the average cost of living [COL] rate at that time, Or, if it’s much higher than the COL rate… then he tells them that the higher new rate is unsatisfactory to him and that he will be considering an alternative provider. This keeps your providers “on their toes” and it will save you money.

8. “If You Don’t Have the Money… Don’t Buy It!”
That’s how our ancestors did it in the mid-20th Century. They did not go into debt. There were no credit cards until the 1960s. My Dad and Mother did not even have a home mortgage, at age 30! They saved their money up front before making a purchase. Yes…. it is possible. And to go along with this daily habit… Pay your bills about a week before they are due. That way you will never get any “late payment” contacts from those you owe. My Dad always felt that fiscal responsibility is Important.

9. “Drive the speed limit, and never over the limit.”
In his day, most everyone drove at least 5 MPH over the limit. But with this habit, you basically will drive more safely, more relaxed, and arrive at almost the same time. Also, he says, less potential for accidents, less “wear and tear” on your car and tires, lower Insurance cost, less fuel used, and no Speeding Violation fines.

10. “Recycle and re-use everything possible.”
My Dad found that over 2/3rds of his household “trash” was recyleable. Yes, like several of his daily habits, this one too will take persistence, but not much time. Here is a specific in his “Recycle Plan”:  Wash and dry all of the reusable small plastic bags … especially the small “lockable” type. He always says:  “This sort of frugality is what helped put me and my two brothers thru private college without debt.”  By the way, all of my children also graduated from college without debt–even one from Medical School. Little things count up.

11. “Have a Family Scholarship Plan.”
Work hard, and rewards follow. Here’s the Plan: Report card “A” grades earn money: $400, each. And, if you also work a job while in college, you get an extra 50% per hour, from my Dad. All the money each semester, when earned, is placed in a special Education Account, and as needed, dispersed directly to the college for tuition, dormitory fees, etc. Over the years, my Dad has contributed tens of thousands to his children and grandchidren. They earn lots of A grades!

12. “Live A Full Christian Life. Start early, with tithing.”
That’s 10 percent of your current income to the church. The Bible calls it your “first fruits.” Since everything is Christ’s, that means He allows you to keep most of it…90%. The Bible refers to “Offerings” too. Those are gifts…over and above your tithe… for things that come along from time to time. Then there are the “stretch” donations, like a Building Fund. My Dad says: Do all three, over time. You will be blessed. Then read Proverbs 3:9: “Give of your first fruits and your wealth.” Okay, what does that mean? My Dad studied this and found that refers to leaving part of your “Estate” to Christ upon your death. So he started a Charitable Trust, which will turn into a Family Charitable Foundation to encourage the following generations in our family to expand their multi-step giving program with additional gifts. My Dad was also one to “set the example” for his family to follow. He says that this all leads to a peaceful, satisfying, long range way to “leave your world better than you found it”.

13. “Start your day early.”
Continuing the theme in #12, here is a Bible verse that supports Great Living results, per my Dad. It is Eph. 5:13. It basically says, “…. the Early Bird gets all the worms. Read it. My Dad’s story: When he was 50, he started an additional business 120 miles away from his home base. At that time, he already had two successful small businesses in place in his home town. So, he already had his plate full. He soon realized he would need to find a way that would make the use of his time much “more efficient, if possible. He had heard of an Adult Study that placed a group of people in a ‘bunker’ facility, without clocks, windows and 100% completely void of their determining ‘time’. The adults were allowed to sleep whenever they felt like it and for as long as they wanted to.The results were amazing… their sleep was only slightly more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period, over time. So my Dad started his “six-hour-a-day” sleep routine seven days a week, from 10 PM to 4 AM. And it worked! He did all his personal and business ‘one person’ things every morning, before anyone else awoke, which allowed him to ‘tithe’ 10% of his business-day time to projects outside of his business.The end result: the new business prospered.

Not surprisingly, he started earning Small Business awards, at the local, state, and national level. He even was asked to give congressional testimony on behalf of small business before the US Congress.


I now work professionally as a Management Coach, so I can easily determine positive traits in business people. My Dad is one of the only people that I have ever met that is both an “Integrator” and a “Visionary.” He excels in working both with his hands and his head. It takes both to design, install and maintain a large off-grid solar system, which he did at age 75!

As a handyman, he has two rules that all of us should use: 1.Use The Correct Tool and the Correct Material. Example… when building ‘outside’, the material used on the ground must be pressure-treated (Ground Contact) lumber, along with Exterior Grade screws. 2. Measure Twice and Cut Once. Both of these are great advice.

My Dad is an entrepreneur. After 20 years with a national telephone company, he realized his real potential was in planning and starting small businesses. Since age 40, he has started eight of them, all of which were successful. Each time, he sold them to someone else and started another. At 75, he started his latest: an almost 400-acre managed tree farm in a southern state.

My Dad’s advice: Always start with a business plan. Take risks in business. Some will pan out, and some won’t. But put your best effort in each one. And remember, your ‘first year’ is 15 months — not 12. Why? Those first three months involved mostly business ‘start up’ activities. Again, some great advice.

Here was my Grandfather’s advice when asked at 93 “…How do you do so well?” His answer…. “Just Keep Moving!” It seems that good advice runs in the family!


    1. TexasScout, = Good question! Some religious people think God should come first, and donate on their Gross income. Others donate on the Net, or ‘take home’ pay. May God Bless L.B.’s father, and all people like him. (I don’t donate 10% on the Net ~ Take Home Pay.)

      There’s a lot of information about giving to charity. …. Some people give money to help starving people; others give to outfits trying to ‘save’ the ozone layer or the whales. [They don’t buy food for the whales, or create more ozone; the people in charge of some outfits use charity money to feed the charity.]
      …… God wants us to give >wisely. There are different organizations that ‘rate’ usage of the money by charities.


      Information and statistics about Charitable giving is frequently volunteered information, to the pollsters. No one is ‘waterboarded’ for the truth. Quite a few people fib (Nobody can fib to God).

      Matthew 25:40-45 New International Version (NIV)
      40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

      41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

      44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

      45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

      One of: The Precepts of Rawlesian Survivalist Philosophy (We should all follow) =

      “Charity is a Moral Imperative. As a Christian, I feel morally obligated to assist others that are less fortunate. Following the Old Testament laws of Tzedakah (charity and tithing), I believe that my responsibility begins with my immediate family and expands in successive rings to supporting my immediate neighborhood and church, to my community, and beyond, as resources allow. In short, my philosophy is to “give until it hurts” in times of disaster.”

      People can’t giveaway what they do NOT have; it’s time to start prepping.
      +Politicians are NOT giving away their own money. They’re getting rich by reaching into someone else’s wallet, and giving away someone else’s money. … To hear politicians promise, ~>they’ll giveaway ‘free stuff’ ~ is a big fib.

      1. Well since you don’t seem to get the fact that all the tithing and offerings are only meant for the “old Testament”…. All the supposed non Jews don’t believe anything is suppose to be kept from the “Old Testament”…Why if all the laws have gone away…(cough, cough)..Why does the New testament even bother????

        1. Jew Me, = ‘Why if all the laws have gone away … Why does the New Testament even bother?” =

          “The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law.

          The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, ~~>far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law<~~, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts, where man chooses between the pure and the impure, where faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues."

          "The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of enemies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine generosity."

          The 'New Testament' time period is when this occurs: =

          “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
          after that time,” declares the Lord.
          “I will put my law in their minds
          and write it on their hearts."
          Jeremiah 31: verse 33 Old Testament.
          From the New Testament:
          "28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

          29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
          Romans 2: verses 28-29 New Testament.

          God desires the Salvation of everyone. God's laws apply to the human race; the promises of God are for all people.

          1. Deuteronomy 13
            The entire word that I commanded you that shall you observe to do, you shall not add to it and you shall not subtract from it.

            If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will produce to you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes about, of which he spoke to you saying, “Let us follow gods of others that you did not know and we shall worship them!” do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream, for Hashem, your God, is testing you to know whether you love Hashem, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul.

            ” I think just these first few lines kills your argument.” ” No new testament”… “How many times is it stated You shall do this through out your generations!!!” ” just in case you don’t understand the phase that would mean it never ends……”

        2. “The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law.” ~ I forgot to include where this part of my comment was taken. It’s from The Catholic Catechism (section 1968) about the Moral Law.

    2. My father, a fundamentalist Christian minister, always told me the tithe was “10% of the increase”. Meaning, 10% of your profits. In other words, 10% of whatever is left over after the real tangible costs of providing for your family. The good Lord does not require you to shortchange the care of your spouse or your children to give to your church. He also knows you should profit by the fruits of your labor. So, if you make $75K per year, and it takes $70K per year to provide for your family, your tithe would be 10% of the $5K that is left over, or $500.00.

      This does not mean you can be frivolous in your spending habits and call it providing for your family. You should always be frugal in your spending habits. Let’s not forget that taxes come off the top as well. Those taxes are part and parcel of your tangible cost of living, unfortunately.

      This is one of those things my father taught me. Like the father in the article, my father was also a good, and even, a great man.

  1. Bruce, He started more than the eight I mentioned :

    Cedar Homes Distributor, Fire & Security Cos [3], Contract Security/ Private Investigation Co, Home Entertainment Systems Co, Publishing Co [Over a dozen “How-To” books to small businesses that sold in 22 Countries] . Product Development Co [ his 4 Patents], Commercial Real Estate Developer [twice, 1992 & 2015], Security Guard Training Co [Manuals & School], Managed Tree Farm [at age 75, now valued at +$1M] . All started after writing a Business Plan first for each one…. used to convince him that it would be a successful business to start. And the only one he had to borrow $ for was the first Commercial Real Estate building in 1992. And none of the businesses failed!
    He’s helped countless others with their business plans too.. even a 60+ year old ski area in the Adirondacks that was scheduled to close a few years ago. It’s now successful !

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! My family has not yet gotten together to celebrate Christmas due to (retail employment) schedules, distance, and poor health. We are gathering tomorrow, and I plan to share this gift with all of my family members present. I will encourage ALL to read and follow, particularly my young adult children. THANK YOU!

  3. Sounds like my brother…..I have often wondered why he and I are so different….same family, same potential opportunities, but there is ‘something’ at the base of our very essence that is different. It does not negate my ‘self worth. but it is something that will be on my list of things to ask the ‘Master’.

  4. L.B, thanks for sharing such excellent advice.

    I obviously grew up in the wrong family, we only got 25¢ for A’s! I wonder if your dad had any success stories with #7? My local power co-op has been a real burr under my saddle.

    #10, Little things definitely DO add up. I’ve always loved the old pioneer saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” I think it going to become popular again in the not-too-distant future.

  5. I agree with “Make it a great day”.
    Totally disagree with time management- in the aspect of cramming as much “progress” into your day as possible. This is precisely what the system is and has been conditioning the sheep to do; work overtime,hustle,all those bills to pay–it’s all just hoop jumping for the messed up sheep in this infested land mass. Why do you think they made the microwave,dunkin donuts,mcdonald’s,jets,energy drinks…It’s all so people can zip around like fools and accomplish a bunch of useless tasks. Most of which don’t fulfill the power process, and in fact just make the system more filthy.
    Enough said. I’m going squirrel hunting. Then I’m going to relax for an hour.
    My hat’s off to anyone that’s slowing “progress”. Hackers included.

  6. RE: tithing, gross or net?
    A lot of the world does not revolve around tax withholding. The “first fruits of your increase” applies to everyone. You decide what your “increase” is, and don’t rob God by chiseling.

  7. OUTSTANDING information anytime but especially at the start of a new year/decade when one’s attention is often more focused on changing habits and direction!

    Thank your father for sharing and thank you for making sure his life and time tested habits encourage others…the ripples this started will continue his legacy well beyond the present company.

  8. Here’s a Challenge to all the Readers…. My Father just called me to add one more “Habit” to his list that he had not told me before. Here it is…

    As a publisher/ author he was invited nationally and internationally to Conventions, and other speaking engagements , where he could also sell his books too. As a National Speaker Assoc. member he recognized that 80% of ALL Seminar participants go back home and do NOT change anything that they learn at these events. In addition, he often arrived in front of an audience where some signed up for , say , a Workshop where he was to address a subject where others too were already “expert”. [Think This audience…. lots of YOU are “experts” too!]
    When he recognized that challenge to keep those “experts” from being “bored”/ and or give him poor “ratings” for his Workshop presentation…. he used this plan.

    He asked everyone to take a clean piece of paper and write down the Numbers 1, 2 and 3 down the side of the page. Then he would say ” I will be outlining over 2 dozen business ideas for you that you could use in your business starting when you get home .” Find at Least One,Two or Three of them … keep your page out in front of you…. and as I walk around the room during the Seminar, I ‘ll be checking on your progress and reminding anyone who needs encouragement to fill in the page.” He generally received great Reviews!

    He’d like Everyone to introduce at least One [ or maybe Two or Three] Idea[s] from his 15 Daily Habits , and just start ! Take His latest Challenge…. Find at least “One !

    And Tell the rest of us…. here… which One YOU will start !

  9. To EBL, Your Dad was an impressive man with all of his successful business dealings. But I personally think that I would be more impressed by him if you had been telling of all the time that he had spent with his family and put business on the back burner.

  10. The only thing I can disagree with is “Drive the Speed Limit”.

    If the Government said “turn in your guns”, he would do so because some politician or bureaucrat decided they should not be owned? Especially without compensation?

    Laws aren’t always either just or prudent. Either way they shouldn’t be obeyed.

    The Double Nickle (55MPH) was said to be Nixon’s revenge by making all of us crooks.

    I’ve often driven well under the speed limit (45 in a 70 zone) when just going for a drive to save fuel, but I’d speed up then pull over and let others pass when they approached (I’m in the Redoubt where you can go hours without a car coming upon you).

    If your father drove in the left lane (violating the laws against lane discipline) he is not due my respect. There is a “live and let live” that is the right thing to do – some people wish to drive fast, others slow. The former should pass when possible and not be too aggressive. But the latter should use turnouts and let others go around them.

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