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18th of July 2018


The 5 Greatest Life Lessons I Teach My Son (and You Should Too) - The Good Men Project

Well, it’s official. I made it another year, and like I have done every year since my wife and I survived the tsunami I take an hour on my birthday to reflect on everything I’ve been though. This year though, I thought about the greatest lessons life I’ve learned, and I came up with five. Here they are presented in a countdown concept format, from the least to most powerful. Make no mistake, all of them are powerful and have the power to transform your live.

Number 5 Ask and ye shall receive

“Do what you love” is some of the worst advice ever… My Best Advice: Develop skills that are evergreen and will still be in demand in 20 years.

Jack Canfield said this and it bears repeating – “Ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask.” The shy and timid don’t get the girl of their dreams. They wait. And wait…and wait some more. Hoping. Asking takes courage, it conveys confidence. You risk looking like a fool for a minute, but the rewards far outweigh the risk. Too often people focus on the worst that could happen instead of the best. I remember asking my future wife to go out. She was way out of my league, and still today I’m glad I took a chance. In life we regret the chances we didn’t take.

My Best Advice: Nike got it right – Just do it.

Number 4 There is power in niceness

Say please and thank you. Who knew that our parents got it right, there is power in niceness. People are often happy to help if they are just asked nicely. Oprah Winfrey used to have a bookclub, where she would recommend a book and overnight the author would become a household name. Why did she stop? Because the authors never bothered to say thank you. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing BlueFish author Steve Sims, and one of the things he loves to do is send unusual gifts as thank-yous. Anyone can buy something nice, all that takes is money. But finding a gift that has some special meanngi for the receiver is almost always more powerful.

My Best Advice: Show people you care.

Number 3 Develop the skills necessary for success

“Do what you love” is some of the worst advice ever. It seems to have become the motto of this generation. Kids go off to college and study subjects such as Gender Studies or English Literature, yet are stunned to find the lack of jobs waiting for them upon graduating. Like it or not, if you want to make money, you need to offer value to others in the form of a product or service. What’s hot and in demand will change over time. 20 years ago, only a select few could create websites. Today, anyone with access to WordPress or $50 can get a website set up in less than a day.

My Best Advice: Develop skills that are evergreen and will still be in demand in 20 years.

Number 2 Life is not fair

Life is Not Fair. This seems to be the toughest pill to swallow for today’s generation, but not liking it doesn’t make it any less so.

This seems to be the toughest pill to swallow for today’s generation, but not liking it doesn’t make it any less so. It’s the underachievers that love to scream “It’s not fair” when they are passed over for promotion, when they don’t get onto the cheer-leading squad, or when they lose the race. Life wasn’t fair when my 12-year-old student was given 12 months to live because of leukemia. Nor was it fair to Jim Stovall who lost his eyesight at the age of 19. In Jim case rather than letting his infliction hold him back, he went on to write 30 books, including the best-selling The Ultimate Gift series. To use a poker analogy – it’s not the cards you’re dealt but how you use them that determine your success.

My Best Advice: Life is not fair – deal with it.

Number 1: The Power of Time

This has to be the single, most powerful concept of success and life. It’s been talked about in such books as Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. I call it the power of time. Here’s how I explain it to my 10-year-old son – If you start early enough, and keep going, you can master anything. Underachievers in any field fail to put the power of time into practice. Those that do start often give up at the first sign of trouble (which is inevitable). Life rewards those who don’t give up. It’s almost as if life says, “Well, they’ve been at it long enough, let’s give it to them.” My son will earn his black belt in Karate next month and is a green belt in Aikido. He’s also aiming to go to the Junior Olympics for swimming. He can also speak English and Japanese. How did he do it? He started early and works at it.

My Best Advice: 10 years is enough time for anyone to activate the power of time, so determine what you want to achieve, then go get it.

Photo by Sabine van Straaten on Unsplash

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