Wow! The “basics” can get a bit heady. How about a six pack for a change of pace? Maybe you have a six pack of your own that is a little more quenching, so to speak. If so, pop a top and relax; and if a cold brew is not your style, a tall ice tea works just as well. You need only get comfortable, open your mind to the possibilities, and drink it in. This six pack’s for you.

* Always be as dependable as you are capable of being.

Slot one in this special six-pack is reserved for dependability. If you tell someone they can depend on you, does that mean your commitment to them is as if you made it to yourself? If so, people need only watch you to see how well you take care of yourself. That is as dependable as you are capable of being; so there you go.

* Be energetic and ready to fly at a moment’s notice.

Slot two is reserved for energy. If you were born tired and haven’t rested up yet, you may as well hang it up; but if you are energetic and prepared to give every opportunity your best, you may be ready to join the ardent high-flyers.

* Seriously consider what is important to other people.

Slot three is set aside for consideration. If you are ready for the give-and-take of living and working with people, you always take their needs and interests, goals and motivations into consideration. You don’t reflexively defer to their values and beliefs, want to’s and got to’s; but you put them into the equation as you set your priorities and make your plans.

* Put being honest with yourself as priority No. 1 and consistently apply the principle.

Slot four is for honesty. Sure, you are as good as your word; and when you make a commitment, people can take it to the bank, as they say; but this version of honesty isn’t for other people. It’s for you. Are your motivations as pure as you say they are; are you as committed as you claim; are you as interested in others as you seem; are you being as straight-up and forthcoming as you profess to be? It’s a fact you can fool some people all the time and most everyone now and then; but fooling yourself is worse than foolish. It’s taking dishonesty to a new and often irreversible low.

* Sustain your positive approach every time, with everyone.

Slot five is saved for the positive approach. This is not the pasted on smile, glad hand, and “Isn’t everything wonderful?” phoniness some slick types try to pass off as the genuine article, just as it isn’t some kind of nonsensical philosophy like, “Some good comes out of even the worst experiences.” Rather, it’s believing there is a way out of the darkest forest and you will find it. It’s remembering the good news in your life as you receive the bad. It’s hanging in there with yourself and with others when a lesser spirit would hang it up.

* Be consistently and genuinely reliable.

Slot six finishes up this six-pack. Make a list of people and things you have found to be reliable and then think about what their common ingredient is. Your list depends on your personal experience; but here are a few examples of reliability serving the immediate purpose. Sharp knives cut better than dull ones; cats don’t like having their heads held; Mom makes the best raison cake in the universe; if you are running late, something comes up to make you later; and Santa Clause still believes in you even if you stop believing in him. What is the common ingredient? Everything on the list is reliable, the way it is, always that way. The same is true for reliable people. They are not on-again off-again, up-and-down, one way with you and another with other people, erratic and unpredictable. Reliability is indeed their trademark; and an hour with them is as was an hour yesterday and as will be an hour tomorrow.

* Stick with the Simon who got you there.

Finally, know where you are headed and whose company you are keeping. You can’t go any which way, with whomever happens along.

Simon says, “Take two steps to the left.” Well, okay. This time you don’t follow old reliable Simon; and this time you give that new Simon a try; and this time you end up somewhere you certainly don’t want to be. Playing follow-the-leader can indeed be a risky business. Next time, if you get a next time, and if old reliable Simon chooses to forgive and forget, you swear the Simon you follow will be the real Simon, the same Simon you know and trust; and since you are in a swearing mode anyway, you might as well swear no matter how tempting it may be to go with the latest example of glitz and smooth talk coming along, you are resisting the temptation.