My wife and I burst into tears.
It was time to throw the bassinet in the bin. The new cot entered our bedroom. It towered over our bed. She was gone.
Our little girl had gone. She’d been replaced by a big girl.
A grown-up girl. It’s the first time since she was born 100 days ago that we’ve had to accept she won’t stay our little girl forever. It’s enough to make a grown man like me cry.
I thought they stayed young forever.
Reflecting on this experience, here are the lessons I will teach my 100 day old daughter before it’s too late (and I’m gone forever to the afterlife).
Bullies will provide half of your elementary school education
Chris rock is famous for explaining the benefit of bullies.
What dealing with bullies teaches you is wildly applicable when you’re grown up, unlike much of algebra and the fact memorization you learn.
This resonated with me because I was thrown around like a rag doll in school by bullies. They didn’t like the tall, skinny kid with crooked teeth.
What’s weird is these bullies still pop up in my life at 36.
I don’t even know how the F they still find me, but they do. And I’m grateful for them. They remind me never to listen to the critics or let made-up lies hold me back.
Sometimes I imagine seeing them again in real life so I can kick their ass. Then I remember that anger driven by the ego gets you nowhere.
The mediocre middle ground is the toughest place to live
Tim Ferriss taught me 99% of people don’t think they can achieve great things. So they lower their standards and join the mediocre middle ground.
When you settle for mediocre goals it’s a crowded arena, so more time and energy are needed just to stay afloat.
Aim higher than most people to have less competition and run your own race in life. It’s way more enjoyable.
Doing the right thing is always the right thing
The other day I had a customer in Africa.
He spent the whole day to trek across town and try to pay for my product. When it didn’t work he tried two more times on different days.
After all his hard work he missed the deadline. He sent me an email with screenshots and evidence of just how hard he tried. There was no way he could pay in time.
In that moment it felt like the only thing to do was give him my product for free. Not because I’m an angel, but because it was the right thing to do.
When you focus on doing the right thing in most situations it makes decision-making ten times easier.
There’s less guilt and complexity too.
“While not everything that happens in your life may be your fault, it is always your responsibility”
I want my daughter to know the biggest epidemic is caused by adults who refuse to take personal responsibility for their actions.
It’s far too easy in modern outrage culture to blame everyone else for your problems. But this gets you nowhere.
Once you start to take responsibility everything gets easier. You win back control of your life.
This trait is so rare which is why you should practice it daily
A lack of kindness towards each other is what made the events of 2020 more difficult than they needed to be.
I want my daughter to know kindness is the simple act that makes the world go round. Last night I watched the movie “A Man Called Otto” starring Tom Hanks as the grumpy old man main character.
He tried 5 times to take his own life.
Each time some random event happened. He wanted to die so he could be with his dead wife in the afterlife. Through being kind to others he found real meaning in the present.
That kindness led strangers into his life who changed his life.
It’s one of those movies that makes you cry. Something as simple as kindness can solve so many problems.
Every time my daughter is kind to others, I am going to reinforce that message as much as I can. Be kind.
“Don’t expect the world to be fair to you because you played by the rules”
Playing by the rules is one of the worst things you can do.
Many people fall into this default behavior and then create huge expectations in their heads as to what they’re “entitled” to X.
You’re entitled to nothing. You get what you give. You get what you earn too. Most of the rules in society are made up, and people blindly follow them without ever testing the boundaries.
I recently bought a home. The real estate agent told me the owner had a rule that they would only sell at auction. All the other interested buyers believed the rule.
I didn’t and still put an early offer in.
As a result, the owner accepted my offer and I got the house for much less than I would have paid at auction. Only dumb-dumbs see rules as brick walls they can’t break through.
Use your imagination more.
An old professor’s advice that’ll change your life
A young woman named Sherry has had her tweets blow up.
This advice from her old professor to 20-somethings is perhaps the best you’ll ever read: “10 years from now, you need to be able to say that this is the life you chose, not one you settled for.”
Too many people settle for the default path to avoid discomfort, uncertainty, or risk — the very things that’ll make life easier in the long term.
Being proactive and curious gets you much further. Otherwise, you risk getting second-hand advice from used and abused people that doesn’t apply to your situation.
As James Clear says, “When you need to learn quickly, learn from others. When you need to learn deeply, learn from experience.”
Don’t settle. Raise your standards. Be relentless.
“If you don’t choose a struggle, you will be assigned one”
Many young folks have lived a life where they’ve never had to struggle.
No war. Mostly peaceful world order. No deep recessions since 2008. Lots of help from parents. Limitless trust funds.
They think a lack of struggle is something to brag about on Instaglam or TikTok. Wrong. Without struggle you attract more struggles.
There’s nothing I appreciate more than losing my family home as a kid, dealing with mental illness, getting fired, losing my life savings, and leaving behind a startup I loved.
Struggle equals silent compounding growth.
The boring stuff from childhood will become the pillars of success in adulthood
As a kid my mother insisted I…
- Go to bed early
- Drink lots of water
- Eat mostly fruit and vegetables
- Spend time alone in my bedroom
- Have an outlet for my creativity (like music)
- Not stay out after midnight
- Limit sugar intake
It really pissed me off. Yet, now as an adult, these penalties have given me most of the achievements I call success.
It’s phenomenal how well you can survive almost any obstacle life throws at you when there’s no other choice
At 16, I nearly lost my life due to a random knife attack.
At 26, I thought mental illness would take my life. In my 30s, I thought losing a lot of money would cause me to live in poverty.
These are all blessings looking back. They’re character-building events. It’s crazy just how much humans can endure. Never underestimate yourself in dark times. Stay strong. One small step at a time.
Use the act-as-if method to overcome fear
We all get fearful. I’ve pooped my pants plenty of times before getting on stage to give a talk, except no one ever saw the skid marks.
As a kid I learned the act-as-if method. It basically means you approach a fearful situation the way a successful person would if they had the answer. By pretending you’ll succeed it unlocks your resourcefulness.
You find an uncommon path.
Deal with risks like this…
Author Morgan Housel says we spend a lot of time trying to weigh up risks.
We even write crazy-long pros and cons lists while we overthink and say in analysis paralysis. There’s an easier way. Just figure out if making or not making a decision will lead to regret or not.
If it’s likely to lead to regret then feel the fear and do it anyway.
Regrets feel much worse than failure ever did.
Choose eulogy virtues over resume virtues
David Brooks once wrote in the New York Times about the difference.
- Resume virtues are shallow things like income, job title, and how big your house is.
- Eulogy virtues are deeper than that and include how helpful or kind you were. They tell us how loved you were and whether you’ll be remembered long after you’re gone.
Most people waste their lives fulfilling resume virtues. Instead, spend your life wisely on eulogy virtues that’ll add meaning to your existence.
A final graph for my daughter that’ll bring you to tears
This is the part where we finish on an emotional note.
The graph shows that as I get older my daughter will see me less. Once she’s an adult most of our time together will be over.
This graph is a reminder that unless we proactively spend more time with our parents, they’ll slowly drift into the background, and we’ll likely have regrets that we didn’t spend enough time with them.
You can never spend too much time with your loved ones. Make time for them.
One day, my 100 day old daughter, daddy will be gone, but he will always love you. That’s the last thing I want to teach you before it’s too late.