Open Mic: What I’ve Learned

By David Bickart

We are all in sales, but my advice: never take a sales class. Be knowledgeable, be honest and be yourself. Never underestimate the average person’s bullshit meter.

Take care of the basics. Not flossing doesn’t make you a badass. Pay your bills, check your tires, sleep well—that’s your base.

Running cross country in high school I learned that when you pass someone, do it decisively; make them believe at that moment that they are behind you for good.

I found out that I had prostate cancer. I went through disbelief, denial, tears and finally action. I discovered that it all comes down to wanting to be alive for the ones you love.

Travel is a requirement. How can you have any perspective on the way you live if you’ve never stepped outside the boundaries to look back?

The key to being rich is in controlling what you want, not what you have.

Watching your son grow up to be a good man is like winning the lottery, times 100.

You think you know who you are and then some of your brain cells stop producing dopamine and you don’t recognize that person in the mirror.

My worst day is a cakewalk compared with how many suffer in life. That calls for waking up every morning with gratitude and compassion.

To be truly exceptional at any endeavor one must be unencumbered by the requirement to be good at it.

If you love the smell of garlic and onions sautéing in extra virgin olive oil, then we at least have a shot.

Humor is a great deodorant.

To be alive when our understanding of the universe—from the sub-atomic to the inter-galactic—has increased a billion-fold, I just find it so damn exciting.

Take responsibility for your choices. If you can raise a steer, shoot it between the eyes, butcher it, then enjoy your T-bone—otherwise, they make a great ratatouille down the street.

Your legacy is also what you don’t leave behind. Try not to litter.

David Bickart lives in Marin County. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected]
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