Being a father taught me I’m not the most important person.
6 months ago I had to put aside my wants for a small person. Recently I came across an online discussion of wise words people had been given by their dads. 631 people took part.
I expected to learn a thing or two, but what caught me by surprise was many people who left comments didn’t grow up with a dad. It made me quite emotional. I’m lucky to have grown up with a dad who’s still alive.
It hit me how much of a privilege that is.
As I continued to read the replies, what hit me even harder was the number of people who had their dad pass away at a young age. I couldn’t help but feel for them.
For many, the last words they got from their dad became the motto for their life. Here are the best pieces of advice I got from these 631 dads that’ll help you find newfound happiness.
“Find other role models”
That’s what Evan said because his dad died at 12.
He could either grow up without a father figure or find a new one. The lesson is we can source new role models if our current ones suck.
“Money solves a lot of problems”
It’s cool to hate on money.
“Money doesn’t buy happiness” the critics say. Maybe.
But being poor is a nightmare. All you can think about is money. Even if you don’t like money it can be donated to people who have nothing and used to solve their problems.
Money is a tool. Use it for good.
“The only thing to do when it rains is just let it rain”
The temptation when your life falls apart is to try and stop it.
I disagree. The best thing you can do is stop trying to fight it and let everything break into a million pieces. Then you have the chance to rebuild your life again in a new way.
“If you’re doing it hard, you’re doing it wrong”
The average person wants their goal to be easy.
Easy means you’ve chosen the wrong goal. The best goals are hard and full of struggles. When you achieve those goals you feel true fulfillment that helps create a meaning for your life.
If life is boring or every day feels like groundhog day then it’s time to choose hard. Get out of comfort hell.
“Fault and responsibility are not the same. Something may not be your fault, but it IS your responsibility”
We live in a world where victims run the show.
Strangers on the internet want sympathy and they want to be praised for the tragedies that have happened to them that aren’t their fault. They want concessions, handouts, and love.
The world doesn’t work like that though. We all have tragedies that happen that aren’t our fault.
A mature adult owns the tragedy and takes responsibility for it. They take an event out of their control and use it to regain control in a new inspiring way.
They’re who we secretly call heroes.
Own your situation.
“Fairness does not exist. You must train daily to prepare for moments of tragedy.”
Tragedy can strike at any time.
It’s not a matter of if, but when. It’s why some rich people like Tim Ferriss eat beans and rice every day for 6 month stretches.
They don’t do it to save money. They do it to prepare for a tragedy that might take away their fortune. If you can get used to living below your means as a millionaire, then if you go back to $0 the loss won’t hurt as hard.
It’s the same reason I live in a mediocre house. I want to train myself to get used to simple living so that if my wealth gets wiped out it’ll hurt less. Sounds crazy, but…
Preparing for tragedy is a superpower.
Sell or be sold.
Learn to sell or endure way more hardship than you need to. Sales just means persuasion. And those who can ethically persuade get all the rewards in life — because an honest salesperson is rare.
The best way to sell honestly is to put the other person’s needs ahead of yours.
“At the end of your life you’ll realize that all the wisdom you needed was in a dozen books… but it’ll take you hundreds of books to read to find those twelve.”
Readers become leaders. The problem with the current content ecosystem is that 99% of what you read online has a recency bias. Everything that happened before today is too easily forgotten.
Yet history is our greatest teacher. The past doesn’t repeat but it bloody hell rhymes a lot more than we’d like to admit.
Read timeless books. Re-read the best 12 over and over.
Each time you do you’ll discover new wisdom. Because certain lessons are only learned while we are at different stages of life.
“Keep your promises”
Far too many people are full of crap.
I used to love going to meetings when I worked in banking and watching people make promises. 99% of them never followed up or took action on anything from the meeting. It was just a stage show performance.
It was the appearance of work instead of doing the actual work.
I managed to get ahead of many of my colleagues, not because of intelligence, but because I always did what I said I would.
A wise teacher once told me good people do what they say they’re going to do. High performers do more than they said they’d do.
“Leave things better than you found them.”
This advice can change the world.
It’s why I leave the toilet on an aeroplane cleaner than I found it. Because I hope that when I need to use the bathroom the person before me followed the same advice and left it sparkling clean.
I’ve found when you lead by example people follow your lead. This, bizarrely, is how we solve the hardest problems in the world that are yet to be solved.
Pay it forward.
“Liars need to have a great memory. When you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
People tell me I’m stupidly honest all the time.
I’m upfront about everything. I’m happy to look like an idiot or share a painful moment and not worry about how it affects my image.
I do it because being a liar is hard work. I have to remember the lies, and I know I won’t. And when people catch you lying they secretly stop engaging with you. Even worse, they tell others behind closed doors.
Lying ruins your life but you don’t get to witness the demise.
So you start to become a conspiracy theorist and can’t figure out what went wrong and why you’re on your way to bankruptcy.
The truth sets you free. Plus it’s so rare. Use it to your advantage.
That’s the final piece of advice 631 dads have for you. Never take your dad for granted. He’s a person with so much wisdom to offer you.