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Life Lessons

Ryan Piraneo

By: Ryan Piraneo

Internal Operations Specialist

I was recently introduced to a document with thoughts from the late 60-Minutes commentator, Andy Rooney titled, “You Are the Best” which contains life lessons he learned across his illustrious career. I have selected a few of these revelations and how they are true to my life. We should all take a couple of minutes to read the list and see how they resonate to you personally and how you can learn from them.

I’ve learned…That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am. I absolutely love this because let’s be honest, we all think we know everything but it just simply isn’t true. There will always be someone smarter than you and I’ve found that 90% of the time, they’re willing to share their experiences and how you should approach a situation the right way. As a good friend of mine says, “You won’t learn anything until you shut your mouth and open your ears”.

I’ve learned…That money doesn’t buy class. The greatest leaders in American Industry learned this lesson late in their lives. John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan were the richest men during the American Industrial Revolution and played an extremely important role in making this country a global superpower. Towards the end of their lives however, they began to understand that having all this wealth means nothing to their legacy once they die. So they gave it away to colleges and other research foundations. We see the same thing continuing today with Bill Gates. Nobody cares what your bank account balance is, what they DO care about is the kind of person you are.

I’ve learned…That life is tough, but I’m tougher. Life isn’t meant to be a pleasant stroll on the beach. It gets ugly and bad things are going to happen. The most important thing to remember is that no matter what, it will get better. People will hurt you or you may lose your job, but as long as you stay positive and have a great supporting cast of loved ones around you, nothing can keep you down. It’s always darkest before the dawn and you will persevere. It is also during our toughest times that we seem to learn the most, so take every challenge in stride and find the silver lining.

I’ve learned…That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile. This is basically The Golden Rule, “Treat others how you would want to be treated yourself.” You never know who the person you’re meeting will turn out to be. It could be your future spouse, an amazing business partner or your best friend for life, so start every relationship on a good note.

I’ve learned…That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with. RELAX! Let your hair down and have some fun why don’t ya?! We are given such a short time on this Earth and you never know when it could come to an end so have some fun! My group of best friends and I are all in our mid-20s and beginning our lives as professionals. One is already married, one is on the road to taking over his family business and one is on track to become a successful lawyer; but when we get together, we act like the biggest idiots. And you know what? IT’S FUN! Our wives and girlfriends HATE how ridiculous we can be, but we’re just being ourselves; and its perfectly healthy (as long as you aren’t breaking any laws of course).


As for myself, I have learned…That the best moments in life are where you can stop and see all of your friends and family smiling and laughing. Those are the moments I live for; when I know that I’m in a special moment I won’t ever forget. I remember weddings, parties, adventures, childbirths and best of all, when nobody says a word but you just know that you’re in that moment together. That’s what I have learned.