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Advice from my grandfather

My grandfather turned 96 years old this year. Most people his age will experience natural and inevitable senescence. But very fortunately for him, and equally for me and my family, he continues to be the culmination of decades of personal growth in full cognition, notwithstanding the occasional knee pain.

grandparents
My grandparents

He’s written 9 books since 2001 and published 3 of them. He’s writing his latest one right now which is meant to be his biography. In fact you can read all about this in his web site that he keeps updated. His discipline is admirable and frankly enviable.

I asked him recently: ”what advice could you give me to live a good and meaningful life?1

He sent me an email which I’ll try to translate as best I can from Portuguese. (For context he is an electrical engineer and he lectured higher education courses).

Always look to the future, so one can be forward-thinking and not stress too much about the present. Despite some fear that things would work out badly in my life, often things would work out well for me2. Look to the future, predict the future, be alert to futuristic events, this has always been my motto. I was one of the first people to use programmable calculators and to speak about digital impact in my company and in the university where I lectured. And 30 years ago I predicted much of innovation we now see in renewable energy, which I experimented with in my company and again lectured in my class in university. Today I’m able to tell you: the hydrogen energy revolution will happen in your life time and it will be unmatchable in storage and action.

In human relationships: complete devotion to being loyal. Loyalty is the concrete of marriage, which is our safety net in difficult times and the enduring comfort we feel in life for having our partner’s hand in ours as if it was an extension of ourselves3. To honor commitment, no matter how hard it is, and the value of people trusting our word. The inner joy of giving without expecting in return. The tolerance in tradeoffs, without extreme positions and acceptance of their results. To have a clear conscience of not having been unfair to anyone, indifferent to suffering or wasteful with conquered fortune.

Nevertheless, don’t be a sacrificial lamb, because a dead hero is of no use to anyone. Heaven’s reward, the ultimate beautiful dream, might end up being a fairy tale

Finally, I share with you the story of a man who, on the celebration of his 100th birthday, someone asked what was the secret to his longevity. He explained multiple reasons: not smoking, not drinking, living a healthy life etc. Suddenly, a man appears, smoking and completely drunk: his dad.


  1. This is a question that I’ve been exploring recently, leading to read thoughtful books on the topic - https://hundred.substack.com/p/007-how-will-you-measure-your-life.

  2. por linhas tortas

  3. por termos na nossa mão uma outra como se nossa fosse.