A Happy Man’s Personal Creed

The holiday season kindles memories of boyhood days, cold weather and lots of reading during the stretch between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Novelist Robert Louis Stevenson and his classic Treasure Island are remembered, mainly because I have just come upon a copy of what is captioned “The Personal Creed of Robert Louis Stevenson.”

Born in Edinburgh in 1850, Stevenson became one of the great story tellers although he lived only to age 44. After spending most of the 1880s in the United States, including a winter at Saranac Lake, NY, in 1889 he bought an estate in Samoa, on the island of Opolu, where he died in 1894.

Maybe the coming of a new year is an appropriate time to recount Stevenson’s creed:

Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
Make the best of your circumstances. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortunes that befall others.
You can’t please everybody. Don’t let criticism bother you.
Don’t let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.
Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than the actual ones.
Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.
Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
Keep busy at so something. A very busy person never had time to be unhappy .