A message to my 5 year old son, Brandon

Do me a favour. Never find a job or enter a career just to please me or your mother. In fact, do not ever find a job or enter a career to please or impress anyone. Most people are so busy trying to impress somebody else they won’t notice.

Lessons your dad, me, learned while pretending to be a mature, responsible adult at the age of 36.

  1. Adults don’t know everything.  In fact, adults know very little compared with the all the knowledge about the world there is to know. Yet adults love to act as if they have all the answers. Job titles are fantastic foxholes. Don’t be impressed by people’s titles. Be impressed by whatever good they are doing. If they are not doing any good, there’s no need to be impressed at all. The only advice I can give you is, take advice from people who are doing things better than you currently are. And only in things that you want to do. Do your own research.
  2. It’s only takes a little extra to be extraordinary.  But most adults won’t do the little extra to make themselves extraordinary. Many adults are always looking for the next thing. They’re in one job to build up their resume for the next job without giving their current job a hundred percent. “I’m not paid to do this” is something you’re going to hear at some or many points in your working career. What is this little extra?  Taking extra courses without needing to be paid to, reading extra books that enhance their work, or doing that little extra networking to meet others in their field to make them better at what they do. You know how some kids are really good in your class while some kids just do OK? Well, it’s like that in the adult world as well. Don’t hesitate, always do more than the next guy.
  3. If you can’t sell, you will always work for someone who can. Brandon, you might turn out to be brilliant. But if you can’t string together a sales pitch to get that brilliance out of your brain, you’re going to be the tool for the person who can. Trust me – if you can pitch, present and close, you will always have income…forever.
  4. All people are not equal.  We all theoretically have equal opportunities.  But we are not equal. There are millions of people who are smarter than you, more capable than you and more creative than you. There are also millions of people who are less intelligent than you, less capable than you and completely unable to connect simple ideas. And here’s the thing, there’s no guarantee who will be happy, healthy and successful. The only way to tip the odds in your favour is hard work and not being afraid to look stupid a few times.
  5. Luck plays a huge role.  But good luck somehow seems to happen to those who see every situation as a learning experience.  Right place at the right time?  You need to work to know where the right place is, when the right time is and what the hell to say when you’re there. This is called situational awareness. Let others call it luck.
  6. Most people are just employees.  Cut them some slack.  Sorry kid. We all have bosses. If you’re not working for someone, then your customer is your boss.  Most of the time, if somebody can’t help you, they’re just following rules. It’s only the rare occasion that they are deliberately being jerks. No matter what, don’t be an ass back.
  7. Don’t accumulate stuff.  Accumulate experiences.  If somebody were to break into our house right now, the only thing of value to me are your pictures. Anything can have value if you attach yourself to it. Save the attachment for people and places.
  8. It’s not about you. Brandon. If you ignore everything else, remember just this; see everything through the listener’s eyes before you see it through your own. At least make the effort.
  9. Pride is bullshit.  I left an epic job to be a stay-at-home dad with you for two years so I can make sure that you had absolutely every advantage I could afford. Your nanny was great but I wasn’t going to trust her to teach you anything.  Whatever you’re doing by the time you have your first kid, always put your kid first.
  10. Just assume everybody is good.  Going through life with a shield up is an awful way to live. There are definitely people who may want to take advantage of you but most people just want to meet and work with other good people. Just be happy for everybody. It’s easier that way. Trust me.
  11. Don’t over think stuff.  Just do it.  There are some things you’re never allowed to do.  Hard drugs, drinking and driving, bio-terrorism, etc. But with everything else, just jump in with both feet. The more you think about stuff, the more you’re going to talk yourself out of it. If you survive it, there is no such thing as a bad experience.

By the way, if you ever talk to some adult who comes off as knowing everything, there’s a good chance he’s more worried about his tomorrow than you are of yours.

Under sell.  Over deliver.

 

Love,

Dad