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‘Things to Worry About’: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Advice To His 11 Year Old Daughter

by on January 23, 2015
 

F. Scott Fitzgerald on what matters most in life

F. Scott Fitzgerald, known for his beautiful prose in his stories, is just as adroit in this letter of advice with his then 11 year old daughter, Scottie, who grew up to be a writer herself. Written in 1933, it is a timeless piece of advice that shines a light on what matters most in life and what we would all to well to remember nearly 80 years after it was written.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love,

Daddy

(via Lists of Note)

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