Short Lessons for the Kids

I’m writing this while at an altitude of 11,582 meters somewhere over Western Canada, on my way to San Francisco. For those who know me, or who have seen my talks on ‘making the most of your fears’, you will perhps have an idea of my curent state of mind. With that context, it seemed like a good time to make a rough start on a list of ‘Life Lessons for my Kids’. A few of these are of my own making, many more are a collation of learnings i have gained from others, and ideally i will backfill accreditation at some point.

The following are currently in no particular order, though hopefully i will put more organisation into them at some point. (spellings are also likely to need attention at some point - i am currently typing on the ipad in git2go):

Your perspective is just about the only thing that you really control.

Encourage opportunity.

Plan in decades. Think in years. Work in months. Live in days.

You are your habits

You have to be aware of your habits to change them

It takes 66 days to form your habits (good or bad), and then it becomes your new normal.

If you don’t know what you want, you are less likely to get it.

If you are not working on your own dreams there will be plenty of people looking to use your time, energy and skills to work on theirs.

If you only do what is easy, then like will be hard

If you believe you can, or if you believe that you can’t - you are probably right.

97% of the things that you worry about never happen, and those that do are often less impactful than you feared.

Start with the end in mind. For each important engagement and decision, go into it knowing what you need, and want, to get out of it.

Expectations not outcomes govern the happiness of your perceived reality.

Try not to focus on only the problem too much. When motorbiking and there is a rock in the road, if you focus on the rock you are more likely to hit it, than if you instead focus on the safe route around it. Learn from the past, but don’t live there You can’t lose what you never had.

There is no passion to be found in playing small - in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living. Nelson Mandela

Distractions keep us from:

  • wanting we we truly wnt
  • Doing what we truly want to do
  • Being who we want to be

Time Energy Attention

Where possible, don’t limit your life choices too much because of your financial commitments.

Think about the things we should be doing, rather than what we shouldn’t be doing. Instead of worrying about being distracted, instead try to remember to be focused.

Be kind to yourself.

The strongest negotiating position is knowing that you have the ability to walk away (from a job that isn’t providing you enough, or from just about any purchase, or just about anything)

People who refuse the take risks live with a feeling of helplessness which is far more frightening than the fear associated with actually taking the risk. Fear can permeate their life.

if you want to be happy - get more sleep. Arianna Huffington

Dont walk into somewhere, without knowing how you can walk out. This includes employment, and not tying yourself to the things that the job provides be it overly expensive equipment or lifestyle.

Each day grants you the gift of time, in 86400 small pieces - the same as everyone else, no matter however successful. The difference is what you have to trade your time for, as well as what you choose to invest it in.

The people you surround yourself with, will frame your expectations and your values - so choose wisely. Choose to be with the people who help you to be the better you.

Consider books as mentors. A well considered book gives insights into the experiences and perspectives of another… you can learn a lot making your own mistakes, but you can also save time and grief by learn from the mistakes of others.

Our achievements grow according to the size of our dreams, and the degree to which we are in touch with our mission. Ferrazi

Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Establish multiple revenue streams.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. (though getting lost can lead to some wonderful discoveries)

Dont obsess over money…. its not important, as long a you have enough of it to do what you NEED… as well as ideally giving you opportunity to also do what you want.

Understand your personal and family finances - be efficient in your earnings. Understand tax. Inflation or compound interest will either erode or grow your savings and investments. Money standing still is eroded by inflation.

Sustainability. Ideally find a way to live. Such that if things stayed just as they are today, they would be at least bearable, or ideally better…. then use that as a baseline, and look to see how things could be better.

Each time you get a pay increase or bonus, if you can afford it, find a way to siphon off some part of it for longer term plans. Reduce inefficient debts, increase savings… but also remember to live a little.

Understand your own risk profile - what you are comfortable with. The more risk, by definition, the more unknowns there are, and the more you might gain… or lose. I am fairly averse to risks… being able to sleep at night is invaluable. Encourage opportunity.

Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. The less-good people may well be oblivious, but the more-good people will acknowledge and appreciate you. You can imagine which one will be the more beneficial to recognise.

Be cautious about your sources of information. Everyone has their biases. Some are unaware, some are deliberate. Be especially cautious about information from organisations and entities for whom you are part of their revenue stream.

Be cautious about things which are promoted as being free - they often come at a high price. A free book which is rubbish, will still cost you time and attention. If a service appears to be free (such as facebook) then it might actually be you who is the product.

If not now, then when?

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll probably always get what you’ve always got.

Fulfilment comes when we live our lives on purpose.

Instead of focusing on what is wrong with a particular situation, focus instead on what could be right or valuable.

Choice is the act of hesitation that we make before making a decision. Alan Watts

Trust your intuition. Learn to hear it.

When things feel out of control, consider an external source for some objectivity - good friends, or also for me the I Ching often provides balance, and a more useful perspective.

Shop to the price you pay - don’t be swayed by the advertised discount.

You will make mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself, as you would a good friend.

When riding motorbikes, racing cars, or undertaking other potentially hazardous endeavours, remember to try to force a smile on your face - it’ll change your mental attitude and hence your riding style to be more mellow, and for the better.

Do to others as you would have them do to you

It will be exceedingly rare that someone else will decide to help you to be the success that you want to be. You’ll have to own that realisation yourself.

Be the change that you want to see.

Up in the air.