When we were kids we had lots of heroes—perhaps they were football stars, cowboys, movie stars, TV stars, rock stars, or even our parents or teachers. Many people outgrow their heroes and don't replace them with new ones. Perhaps they think heroes are just for kids. If you want to be youthful, do what youthful people do. Youthful people have heroes.

I often see clients who see trust as an all-or-nothing issue. They either trust someone or they don't. This is a bad idea. I can't think of anyone I trust on all matters, e.g.,
~to honestly say what they think
(some people are "too nice" to risk hurting your feelings)
~to be honest and responsible with money
~to speak up when you are making a bad decision
~to be punctual
~to help with problems
~to keep a secret
~to be loyal
~to follow through, etc.

The idea is to appreciate a person's or hero's strengths and not insist they be perfect in all areas. Especially when it comes to political leaders, it is hard to find one who does not have faults and make some bad decisions. Not being perfect should not preclude you from having heroes.

Who is my hero? I thought you'd never ask. When my career turned to anti-aging psychology, speaking, and writing, my favorite hero became Art Linkletter. He was host of two of the longest running television programs—"House Party" and "People are Funny." One ran on radio and TV for 25 years. Keys to his success included his wit, his great sense of humor, and his consummate interviewing skills. He was MC for the opening of Disneyland in 1955 and at age 93 was MC at Disneyland's 50th anniversary in 2005. There is an interesting story that when Disneyland opened Walt Disney said he couldn't afford to pay him an appropriate fee. Linkletter graciously suggested he would settle for the camera and photo rights for ten years. I think he did OK on that deal.

He was adopted at an early age (and later in life adopted many children himself). Despite family tragedies, (his 20-year-old daughter committed suicide and his 31-year-old son died in an automobile accident,) adversity didn't stop him from his passionate interest in children and seniors. In a Larry King interview in 2000 he said he has been married 65 years. He swims laps every day and only recently stopped skiing because his wife was afraid snowboarders might hit him.

His "Kids Say the Darndest Things" format interviewing young children has been often imitated. His 27 books include Old Age is Not for Sissies. He does more than fifty lectures a year and is active on the Boards of many businesses and charities. At 84 he still travels the world on philanthropic causes. To me the crowning jewel is his new book, How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life. It has great advice for what it takes to live well into your hundreds. You can tell in reading it that this is what he really believes and follows. His life is a testimony to following the principles and the wonderful life that can flow from it.

P.S. When I sent Mr. Linkletter a copy of 52 baby steps to Grow Young,
I was thrilled when he wrote an endorsement for it.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include: Defy Aging, 52 Baby Steps to grow young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit www.NotAging.com for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips.


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