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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Advice To My Daughters, Part 2

As a follow-up to THIS POSTING from March 18, 2013, I want to share more advice with my beautiful daughters.  These are gifts to them that were never given to me.

Professionals - Find and develop professional relationships with people who are good at what they do.  Knowing and trusting someone who is an expert at something is important, because it will help you solve difficult problems in the most efficient ways possible.  Now I know that sounds overly formal, so let me bottom line it for you:  you will never be good at everything, and there are just some things in life that you simply can't do yourself (for example, self-dentistry is, shall we say, somewhat problematic), so you will always need help with some things.  Find a mechanic, a doctor, a dentist and a lawyer that you can talk to on a more than just professional level.

Respect - Now matter how much you accomplish in life, how educated you become, no matter how high or low your perceived social standing, always show respect to the people that serve and help you.  I've come to the opinion that the hardest job in the country is probably being a waitress at some busy restaurant off of a highway exit.  Tip at about 20% if you received good service; a little more if you got great service.  Always be polite to people who serve you.

Religion - Never let religion get in the way of your search for a higher meaning in life.  For a long time I was really fearful of exploring religious beliefs outside of how I was raised.  Now?  I wish I would have started exploring far earlier.  Our lives lead somewhere and must mean something.  Make looking for that meaning a part of who you are and what you do.

Give - Something else I wish I would have started doing sooner.  Give your time and your money to causes that mean something to you.  It doesn't require a lot of time or a lot of money by the way, and if you don't have one (be it time or money) simply give more of the other.  Just make sure that the investment you make is in an organization/cause that is both legitimate (sadly, there are people out there who steal resources from the truly needy) and aligned with what you believe to be important.

Read, A Lot - Spend as much time as you can reading.  It doesn't matter what you read, just read.  Growing up we were relatively poor, but we always had some books laying around.  I hope that by doing the same for you when you were younger the cycle of lifetime reading will continue.

Never Stop Learning - I would say that one of the few pieces of advice I ever got from my mother was on the importance of an education (hence having books, see above).  Please, never ever become mental loafers!  Always and continuously keep learning new stuff.  I don't care what the new stuff is; I don't care the venue by which you learn the stuff, just keep learning.

Zombies Are Real - I am of the concerted opinion that zombies are real...mental zombies that is; these are people who walk among us, but yet are no longer engaged in any meaningful way in learning or growing.  Maybe they are bitter at past mistakes, maybe they feel they have done and learned enough, maybe they just figure that life now owes them.  Regardless of the cause, never be one of them.  Always search for and find reasons to be engaged with life.  Remember this:  Every moment of every day counts.

Be Physically Active (as you grow older) - It's easy to be active when you're younger, not so much so as you grow older.  Heed my advice:  never stop moving.  Your body will wear down over mine is starting to now...but that's not an excuse for sitting on a couch and letting your parts atrophy into jello.  Me?  I'd rather see my parts worn out of use than degrading to goo due to inactivity.

Always Assume Positive Intent - No matter what the situation, no matter who the people, always assume positive intent in all of your interactions.  If someone or something just isn't right, you'll learn that soon enough, but assuming positive intent from the beginning helps you put your mind (and soul I will add) on a firm footing.  Yes, it's easy to fall into negativity, as that's what so much of what society teaches these days, but make it a point to take the mental and emotional high road.  It's especially important when you feel threatened, be those threats real or imaginary/personal or professional, because positive intent teaches you to pay attention to your own emotions, resulting thoughts and actions.  If a situation is truly negative, then you'll figure that out soon enough, and positive intent isn't code for "naive" either.  You can assume positive intent and be cautious at the same time.  In the end though, being aware of self is a key personal and professional advantage that many people don't have these days.

One of the joys of parenthood is seeing your "children" grow into adults.  I hope that as you grow older and start families of your own you make it a point to share what you've learned in life with your children, just as I now share with you.  It much for you as it will for them.

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