Laws for the Navigation of Life


Peter Safar giving the 'kiss of life'

The late Peter Safar had a remarkable life. Born in Austria of Jewish ancestry he managed to evade the Nazis as a young man and survived the tragic death of his young daughter from status asthmaticus. Despite such terrible trials he went on to give the world ‘the kiss of life’ and became the acknowledged ‘Father of CPR’. He had a relentless interest in everything and was a true humanist.

On the occasion of his 70th birthday he was presented with a framed set of laws by his friends and colleagues. These laws were derived from the sayings of Peter Safar himself. They were titled ‘Peter’s Laws for the Navigation of Life’ with the instructive subtitle ‘The Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive’.

Imagine the laws spoken in the Austrian-English idiom, by an elegant and energetic elderly man with a wide grin on his face:

1. If anything can go wrong, fix it!

2. When given a choice, take both.

3. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.

4. Start at the top and work your way up.

5. Do it by the book… but be the author.

6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.

7. If you can’t beat them, join them, and then beat them.

8. If it’s worth doing, it’s got to be done now!

9. If you can’t win, change the rules.

10. If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.

11. Perfection is not optional.

12. When faced without a challenge, make one.

13. “No” simply means begin again at one level higher.

14. Don’t walk when you can run.

15. Bureaucracy is a challenge to be conquered with a righteous attitude, a tolerance for stupidity, and a bulldozer when necessary.

16. When in doubt, THINK!

17. Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.

18. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.

19. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live!

20. Death is not the enemy but occasionally needs help with timing.

21: When on thin ice, dance.

22: It’s up to us to save the world.

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