In 1825, Thomas Jefferson was asked by a father to supply a few words of wisdom to his young son, Thomas Jefferson Smith (who had recently been named after Thomas Jefferson). The president responded with a handwritten letter, at the end of which was the following 10-point list of advice for the youngster titled “A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life.” Following were Thomas Jefferson’s ten bits of wisdom:
1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it.
4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.
The advice is as applicable today as it was almost two hundred years ago.
(via Lists of Note)