September 17, 2012 by Michael Vuke
This post is dedicated and written to my future children, but I thought I would share it with the rest of you in hopes that perhaps it might benefit you in some way.
Hey kids, it’s Dad.
I’m not sure when you will read this, especially since you haven’t been born yet, but there are some lessons that I’ve learned that I want to share with you. It’s been twenty one years since I was born, so I thought I’d write down something I’ve learned for every year that I’ve been alive. I hope that this helps you out; if nothing else, perhaps it will give you a different insight into what your Dad was like before he became an old fogey (just kidding, you know I’m still awesome).
- Nature makes everything better. It expresses the full range of emotions and allows us to experience a beauty that cannot be found in man made things.
- The less you consume, the more you create. There is a balance in life between consuming and creating—without any consumption, you cannot create anything. However, if you consume too much, you cease to create anything. Find the balance where you are inspired to create by things.
- You can’t predict life, so don’t try. Learn to roll with the punches and adapt.
- Don’t get typecast. It is easy to define yourself or let others define you as one thing, but that makes it hard to change as life changes. Be who you are—not a label.
- If you want to do something, do it now or it won’t get done. The longer you delay, the less likely it is that something will happen.
- Fail. If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried enough things. Failure will teach you more than success ever could.
- Don’t be logical. Too much logic stifles creativity, emotion, and what being human is all about. Don’t be stupid, but don’t be a robot either.
- The less stuff you have, the simpler life gets. When we have a ton of possessions, it clutters up the mind and complicates life. A little fat makes food juicy and flavorful, too much makes it disgusting and deadly. In the same way, having enough adds a level of comfort to your life, but having too much stuff clogs your life up and is deadly.
- Be a honey badger. They don’t care—they go for what they want, even if it means that they get stung by a bunch of bees, bitten by snakes, etc. They go for it and aren’t distracted by detractors.
- Weigh traditions. Is there a reason for them? Are they beneficial? If they aren’t beneficial, get rid of them.
- Don’t give up. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”—Winston Churchill
- Find an audience. Find people to do thing for, whether that is sharing your thoughts, creating art, or performing experiments. They will help you refine your trade and will become your friends.
- Seek out skilled people. You become what you surround yourself with, so surround yourself with people who do what you want to do and are what you want to be.
- Reflect. Take some time out of your life to stop and think about things. Ponder ideas, examine your life, and meditate.
- Be golden. The Golden Rule applies to all of life—treat others like you would like to be treated.
- Speak up. If there is an opportunity to present an idea or thought you have, take it. It will help you and those around you (even if it gets shot down).
- Shut up. Know when you shouldn’t share what is on your mind. “It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it.” One good side effect of this is oftentimes those who are silent are thought to be wiser than they really are.
- Cherish your friends. You never know when they will be gone.
- Get to know your family. We spend our whole lives with these people, yet sometimes we know more about our friends than we know about our family.
- Age doesn’t matter. There are countless examples of people who were considered too young or too old to do something making a huge impact. I was recently inspired by this man.
- Stop living in the future. It is so easy to live in the future—“when I finish school, I’ll do this.” “After I get married, I’ll be happy.” “If I can just get this promotion…” Whenever you reach that point, there will be another thing to achieve, so live now, or you will go through life without having ever lived.
What advice would you share with your children? I’d love to hear it.