Be at peace with yourself; be happy and help others

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“This is my final column.”

I wrote those words on June 19, 1994. I changed my mind and have written more than 300 articles since then. Now, I actually mean it.

What would I like to say in parting? Thank you, to all readers reading now, and those who read in the past.

Thank you, to the West Coast critic who wrote to tell me I was illiterate because of a typographical error.

Thank you, to the woman who wrote and told me I must be a man because I wrote an article about problem drinking and only men had problems with alcohol.

Thank you, to the Midwest manager who wrote me twice. He was the only person to do that. He told me how often I made him mad. Sometimes when he’d read one of my articles he said he knew I was right and got so mad that he had to change.

Thank you, to the people who wrote to say they agreed with me.

Thank you, to those who wrote to disagree energetically with me.

Thank you, to those who said I made them laugh.

Mostly, thank you, to those who said I made them think. Those letters and e-mails served as inspiration and motivation to continue writing.

This column began as a stress management column. It evolved into a lifestyle column about any subject I could write 550 coherent words about.

It evolved further into a forum for me to express and explain performance improvement techniques.

So, what final thoughts do I have to share?

Be at peace with yourself based on high moral and ethical standards and the happiness you experience can be profound.

Take control and responsibility for your life. Approach everything you do in a systematic way. This will allow you to perfect what you do well. And, it will help you recognize what impedes you.

Have fun living. Every day I wake up happy about all the options and opportunities I have. Use self-discipline and self-control to limit those options to the ones that will give you the most fulfillment and satisfaction. Have a personal mission statement that will help guide you as you travel on your way to awakening.

My mission statement is nine words long: Love God, relax, be happy and help other people.

Tim O’Brien writes continuing-education courses and presents seminars on stress management.

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