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There’s a reason our grandparents are called the “Greatest Generation.” They know a thing or two about living life the right way. Our grandparents told us stories about the old days, taught us how to cook, and made us fall in love with family traditions. But more importantly, their lives are an example we should be emulating in our own. Here are seven lessons we all need to learn from our grandparents if we’re going to have happy, lucrative lives.
1. Make Real-Life Connections Instead of Digital Ones
We all need to put down the phones, close the computers, and turn off the tablets. We’re so consumed with technology and our social media followers that we neglect the real-life opportunities for connection. Our grandparents didn’t make friends through Instagram. They didn’t get job offers by sending a LinkedIn message. They certainly didn’t slide into someone’s DMs to get a date.
There’s nothing wrong with using social media. In this day and age, it’s incredibly useful, but we also shouldn’t forget how to talk to a stranger in the checkout line. If we neglect our IRL social skills, we’ll have a harder time simply talking to someone in person. Sure, it’s scary to approach someone you don’t know to ask them on a date, and it’s nerve-wracking to have a conversation with a potential employer. But we can’t let the fear of it keep us from continually practicing our social skills.
2. Keep Using Traditional Manners
A good set of traditional manners will get you farther than you think. Opening doors, saying “thank you” and “no thank you,” referring to people as ma’am and sir – these are manners that people will appreciate from you. It’s easy to slip out of the habit of using our manners as we grow up, but we absolutely should not let that happen. Manners show that you respect others, which is especially important in your career and when meeting new people.
3. Live Frugally
This was a bit easier for our grandparents. They didn’t have images of consumerism bombarding their retinas constantly the way we do. Nonetheless, we need to follow the financial footsteps of our elders. Our grandparents didn’t purchase things they didn’t need. They didn’t waste food or live frivolously. They worked for their money, made sure to save it for the future, and only spent on the things they truly had to, like groceries and bills.
If we did the same, we wouldn’t find ourselves in a tight place in-between every paycheck. Before clicking that “liketoknowit” link on Instagram, we’d all benefit from pausing to think if it’s actually a necessary purchase or one simply driven by gluttony and desire. Most of the time, the purchases we make aren’t necessary and many of the bills we agree to are too high. The premium U-verse package really isn’t a requirement for survival.
4. Put Your Best Foot Forward
The Greatest Generation isn’t one for skipping corners. They always dressed up for everything and did the best they could each day. They didn’t do the minimum or think “this is good enough.” Our generation is all about comfortable clothing when we should be putting our best foot forward each day.
So let’s all step away from the leggings and slip into an actual dress for work. Let’s actually do our makeup and hair before heading to meet with friends for dinner. There’s a lot of value in taking the time to look and feel your best, and it leaks over into every aspect of life.
5. Buckle Down and Finish the Work
Our grandparents didn’t quit working when they felt like it. They didn’t sleep in and get to it when they felt like it. Early mornings and late nights were the norm, and they had the results to show for it. Whether it was an early morning on the farm or simply a late night at the office, they put in the hours. Our careers and school work could benefit from such a dedicated work ethic.
We shouldn’t complain about our “9 to 5” desk jobs when many of our grandparents were at work before the sun was up and didn’t head home until it had set. If we ever hope to get anywhere in our professional lives and reach financial security, then we have to buckle down too. The work that’s not done won’t ever benefit us.
6. Stop Complaining
This is one of the most important lessons we can learn from our grandparents. They didn’t complain about the work they had to do or the success they hadn’t yet reached. They never whined about the things they didn’t have, and they certainly didn’t feel they were owed anything from anyone. The real kicker is they had more than enough to complain about back then. Yet here we are, complaining about lack of wifi.
We need to stop complaining about the items we don’t have but feel we should. Instead, we should work to afford those things. We shouldn’t complain about our work obligations when we’re lucky to have jobs at all. Complaining doesn’t do any of us any good.
7. Honor Your Responsibilities
No, they didn’t renege on their commitments. If they said they’d work the church bake sale, they did. If they were supposed to tend to their younger siblings, they did. They were taught the importance of honoring their responsibilities, and sadly it’s a lesson many of us have ignored.
When we skimp on our obligations, it reflects badly on us. It says we aren’t reliable as friends, employees, and humans. We need to stick to our word and do the things we say we’re going to do. Otherwise, we’re all talk, and that’s not of value.