Part of growing older is realizing that your parents were usually right and if not right, than at least well intentioned. Your mom knows when you should wear a jacket and your father knows that noise your car makes isn’t normal. Over time I’ve gotten some great advice from my father, and not just my dad but a lot of wise men have helped me a long the way. In an effort to share the wealth, I’ve posted some of my favorite fatherly advice and how I’ve interpreted it. (The sources are credited in each hyperlink)
For the sake of brevity I’ll paraphrase this story, but I’ve hyperlinked it here in case you want to revisit it later. It is impossible to build a perfect wall. You can wear yourself out mentally imagining the process of having to build a perfect wall. You have to mix the cement, lay the bricks, spread the cement, measure for the next, I’m exhausted just typing it out. You cannot build a perfect wall. But you can lay one brick absolutely perfectly. If you pay enough attention, slow down and focus on your craft, then in time… the results will be a perfect wall. It’s this level of detail and manner of approaching life as the next best move, that has kept me pushing forward the past 28 years. It also serves as an allegory for loving the process of hard work. The only thing greatness requires is a doglike work ethic. Showing up, giving maximum effort and completing tasks sounds so easy. But people love short cuts. Fall in love with the work and break up with the short cuts.
June 2013 I was living in a converted living room/bedroom in Jamaica Estates, NY and reading a GQ magazine. I know this because this was an important moment in my life. Denzel Washington was on the cover and inside he had an article that spoke only the way he could. His exact quote I’m not sure of any more but he said that he ended each day the same way, by tucking his slippers so far underneath his bed that he had to get on his knees to get them in the morning. This ensured that he started each and every day in prayer. I’m not going to push religion, that’s not my message. My message is to be dutiful, set yourself up for success and make sure you’re feeding your mind, body and soul equally. Working out every day but going home to tweet and play video games is counterproductive. Giving up chocolate for lent but replacing that Vice with smoking is counterproductive. Move with purpose and you will attract the goals you’ve placed yourself in front of.
This is just solid advice. I’d replace the orange juice with water but it’s three simple steps to living a better life. Social media it’s so easy to get wrapped up in envy and want what others have. Sit down, read something thought provoking, drink some water and take stock of what you can do to get to your own goals. You don’t know what someone sacrificed to get those Instagram shots. You want to go into debt keeping up with the Joneses? Be my guest.
“My father had the chance to be a great comedian, but he didn’t think it was possible so he became an accountant. When I was 12 he lost his job and my family struggled to get by. What I learned from that is, that you can fail at what you don’t wanna do; so why not take a chance doing what you love?.” – Jim Carey
If that isn’t some perspective, what else is? You may be talking yourself out of the lifestyle you deserve for a safety net that doesn’t even exist. No one can predict tomorrow and that uncertainty can be scary but it also speaks to the opportunities that exist to those who reach out for them.
Imagine that. Being the first person to make a mattress. Now it’s engrained in our minds as having always existing, but Jobs was right. It’s a first. What are you holding on to that could be a staple of society 2000 years from now? Some of the smartest people I know are afraid to tel their ideas or be recognized as being smart so they hide from it. If Jim Carey’s father taught us anything it’s to seize the opportunities to impact the world.
Man cannot remake himself with suffering for he is both the marble and the sculptor
I put this last for a reason. Nothing in life worth having is easy. Approaching that person at the bar is hard, filling out the job description box after you already submitted your resume is hard, calling someone to end a relationship is hard. But you are the sculptor, you have the vision of what you want for your life. You also have the tools and the material. Working on yourself hurts, but gets easier over time. Soon instead of chiseling away the old, you’ll be buffering areas you want to shine instead.
Keep this advice in mind as you journey forward. I am excited to see how proud you all make your fathers this Father’s Day.