Rusty beans and dusty gold.

One evening, you go to a friend’s house and she has rented a movie. She paid for it, but you get to watch it for free.

You notice a bestseller on the table and ask if you can borrow it. Your friend waves it away and tells you how disappointing it was. Instead, she urges another book on you that you never knew about. That book changes your life.

You have coffee with a friend who offers to introduce you to a colleague with professional experience that dovetails perfectly with yours.

You are on your phone, about to jaywalk. A bicyclist zooms past you and through a red light, almost getting clipped by a taxi. Your heart spasms with adrenaline as you step back on the curb and swallow hard.

You read a memoir of a man who went against the herd to start a business in an industry others had long since abandoned. He struggles, backslides, struggles some more, but by using certain surprising skills, he reverses the trend and creates a successful, beloved business. His book is full of specific descriptions that you can use to pursue your own dream.

You read a review on Amazon for a product you have been considering for a while. The review points out three unusual criteria you had never considered which make you act immediately.

Your mother-in-law smokes like a chimney. At sixty, she is dead of lung cancer. You used to have an occasional cigarette with your second martini. No longer.

You had a parent who withheld affection to the point of abuse.  When you have your own children, you use his behavior as a yardstick, a warning of things never to do.

Distracted, you say something unthinking to your spouse — who gasps aloud. You look up, suddenly aware of what you’ve said, and grow shocked at your own insensitivity.

Your grandfather survived the Great Depression. For the next sixty years, he counts every penny, then dies alone in a shabby house, its basement full of rusting canned goods and thirty pounds of gold bullion.

Every day life offers you a lesson you may or may not notice. What did you learn today? What did you teach someone else?

(Can’t think of anything? Well, that’s why there’s this.)