I've had this little gem tucked away for many years, and I refer to it from time to time to remind myself of what's really important. I've searched for the source (unsuccessfully) because I'd like to thank the author. Here are the original thoughts, followed by my impressions.

The most destructive habit: Worry.

The greatest joy: Giving.

The greatest loss: Loss of self-respect.

The most satisfying work: Helping others.

The ugliest personality trait: Selfishness.

The most endangered species: Dedicated leaders.

Our greatest natural resource: Our youth.

The greatest "shot in the arm": Encouragement.

The greatest problem to overcome: Fear.

The most effective sleeping pill: Peace of mind.

The most crippling disease: Excuses.

The most powerful force in life: Love.

The most incredible computer: The brain.

The worst thing to be without: Hope.

The deadliest weapon: The tongue.

The two most power-filled words: I can.

The greatest asset: Faith.

The most worthless emotion: Self-pity.

The most beautiful attire: A smile.

The most prized possession: Integrity.

The most contagious spirit: Enthusiasm.

First, let's talk about worry. Did you know this word is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word that means to strangle or to choke? People do literally worry themselves to death, or heart disease, nervous disorders and all sorts of other nasty conditions. The best remedy? Remember that tomorrow is a new day, full of promise.

Giving/helping others — Never pass up an opportunity to share what you have. Dedicated leaders understand they have tremendous power to help by setting a solid example and demonstrating the highest standards.

Selfishness — The old quote says it all: "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." An offshoot of selfishness is self-pity, which no one should waste time on anyway. Perhaps the worst effect is loss of self-respect. Self-respect motivates you to be the best you can be. And in turn, you can motivate others to be their best.

Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. People appreciate recognition, support and praise, and it inspires them.

Fear — Every crisis we face is multiplied when we act out of fear. When we fear something, we empower it. If we refuse to concede to our fear, there is nothing to fear.

Hope is what gets many of us through our worst days. It's believing that every cloud has a silver lining. A perfect partner is faith, for without faith, hope is meaningless. Love completes this trio. Real power comes through when you love someone or something.

A smile improves your looks. I learned years ago that one of the most powerful things you can do to have influence over others is to smile at them.

Integrity — if you have it, nothing else matters. If you don't have it, nothing else matters. Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing to do.

Enthusiasm is the spark that ignites our lives. It's one of the most important attributes to success. It also leads to the confidence required for achievement.

Finally, the brain. Unlike your computer, it may not perform rapid-fire, complex calculations. But attached to the heart, it can make better decisions and produce infinitely better results.

Mackay's Moral: If you want life's best, see to it that life gets your best.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail harvey@mackay.com.