After thinking back over my own childhood and watching a lot of guys around me raise what I would consider boys, rather than of Men, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of Father I want to be and all the lessons I would like to share along the way.
In case anything happens to me and I don’t get to pass these lessons on, here’s what I would want to say to my unborn son.
If you’re reading this, it means that for some reason or other, I’m not here to talk to you myself.
I don’t think I need to tell you, but this isn’t what I hoped for.
Nothing would make me happier than to be able to help you grow into the kind of Man that your Mum, your sisters, your friends, and this world desperately needs.
But… As is the way with life, things haven’t worked out the way I wanted them to.
That’s ok. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And this is my way.
I’m sorry that I’m not standing with you, right now, being able to share these thoughts with you. I truly wish I was.
But to try and make up for that, here are the 14 things I wanted to teach you if I was:
1. Listen to your Mum
She is, without a doubt, the most beautiful woman I have ever met. I chose her for a reason. She is loving, caring, smart, kind, real, beautiful, and amazing.
If she’s saying telling you to do something that you don’t want to do, she’s telling you because she loves you very dearly and wants you to be the most incredible person possible.
I know it might not feel like it but it’s true. So listen to her, follow her instructions, and I’m sure that one day, you’ll see the beauty of her wisdom.
2. Do what makes you happy – always.
You’re the only one who can make you truly happy. Everyone else is far too wrapped up in their own problems and worries to be able to take yours into account. So you need to look after yourself.
Don’t sit around waiting for people to hand you things. Don’t sit around waiting for the world to change itself to suit your desires and needs.
Stand up, take control, and do what you need to do to make yourself happy, free, and fulfilled.
You’re the only one who can and will.
3. You can do anything
I don’t care what anyone says: you can do anything.
You can be anything. You can create anything. You can achieve anything.
The only thing that limits you is your imagination.
You are great. You are incredible. You are powerful. The world is in your hands.
Anyone who tells you anything other than this is simply saying that they don’t that they can’t do anything. They’re projecting their limitations onto you rather than making a statement about what you can or can’t do.
It has nothing to do with you.
You could become the greatest world leader in history, you could inspire millions to take action and change their lives, you could move to a deserted island and live your life in complete silence.
You can do anything you choose.
4. Only focus on what you can change
There are going to be many times in your life when things don’t go the way you want them to.
Other people are going to have their own opinions, agendas, and desires. The universe will, at some point in time, feel like it’s conspiring against you. Things are just going to go wrong.
That’s fine. It’s just the way things are. It’s just the way of the world.
The important thing isn’t what goes right and what goes wrong, it’s how you deal with it when it doesn’t work out.
It’s easy to sit back and blame other people for not being on board. It’s simple to complain about how unfair everything is.
But neither of those approaches are going to change anything.
Focussing on how other people should change is the fastlane to frustration.
Focussing on what the world should have done differently is the most consistent path to disappointment.
There’s only one way to get where you want to go: focus on what you could do differently next time.
Learn from every event.
You’re never going to be able to control other people. You can’t make the weather bend to your will. And trying to do so is just going to cause you pain.
Let other people be. Let them live their lives the way they want to. And just work out what you can do differently next time.
5. Challenge everything
“It’s always been done this way” is never a good enough excuse.
“This is what I was told to do” is never satisfactory.
There is always a way to be better, faster, stronger, more efficient, more effective, more profound, more powerful. The only thing that’s in the way is: “But we’ve always done it like this.”
The only thing that comes from just blindly continuing to do the same thing, the same way it’s always been done is the same thing, over and over and over again.
Nothing changes. Nothing grows. Nothing new is created.
Challenge everything. Never settle for ‘good enough’ or ‘just cause’. Branch out, explore, look beyond the habits and the structures and always be asking: Are you sure?
6. Create your own vision
Following someone else’s dream will never make you happy. Every person has their own set of desires, dreams, passions, and fears and someone else’s vision is never going to fulfil yours.
You have to find your own dream and live it.
It’s the only way you’re every going to be truly happy. Relying on other peoples opinions and perceptions about what you should do and how you live your life is all but guaranteeing that you’ll never be happy.
Finding your vision isn’t a guarantee that you will be fulfilled but it’s the most important step in the right direction.
7. You can’t change the past, you can only create the future
What’s happened, has happened. It’s done and dusted. You can never change the past and there’s no point in trying.
The only thing you can ever change is the present moment as you move towards the future.
The ONLY thing the past is responsible for is where you are now, not where you go from here.
The power is in your hands to decide and direct your future. All you ever need to consider is: where do I want to go now?
I’m not saying you should ignore the past… There are very valuable lessons in the past. But don’t dwell on it. It’s happened. All you need to focus on is ‘what have I learned and what am I going to do with it now?’
8. Surround yourself with people you love and ignore everyone else
Not everyone is going to love you. It’s a simple mathematical impossibility.
Everyone has their own beliefs, drives, desires, and needs and you’re never going to fit all of them.
So don’t even worry about trying.
Surround yourself with inspiring, passionate, power, driven, committed people who love you for who you are and ignore everyone else.
Let them go on their way, thinking their own thoughts, being their own people, and just keep living your life.
9. Never change yourself to please another person
Anyone who likes you for the kind of Man you pretend to be will never accept you as the Man you really are.
The only thing you achieve by convincing someone to like you is condemning yourself to a future of pretending to be someone you’re not.
Never change yourself for the sake of another person.
If you truly believe you need to change the way you’re living your life, then great. Change. But never make the purpose of that change to get something from someone else. It’s the simplest and fastest way to a frustrating life.
10. Your most precious commodity is time
Time is the only thing you can never have more of.
You can always get more money. You can always collect more goods. You can always meet new people and try new things.
But once you live through a second, that second if gone forever.
I don’t know how many seconds you have on this earth, but I do know that your time is limited.
So make the most of every second. It’s a beautiful gift that millions of people who used to live on this earth simply do not have the pleasure of.
Don’t measure your success in life based on the amount of goods you collect of how big your bank balance is. Measure your success in the only truly limited resource you have: how you spend your time.
11. The most important knowledge you will ever gain is knowledge of yourself
You can read all the books, study all the texts, be able to do algebra backwards, whilst hanging upside down from an elephants trunk in Nepal, but none of it will do you any good unless you know yourself.
You can’t surround yourself with people who excite you unless you know what you find exciting.
You can’t find a job that fulfils you until you know what you find fulfilling.
You can’t find the woman of your dreams until you know what kind of women you dream about.
The most important knowledge piece of knowledge you will ever have is knowledge of yourself.
Take time out, every day, to sit back and think about your self, your life, your fears, your pain, your sunshine, your darkness, and your desires.
12. Independence is the greatest gift you can give the world
The greatest contribution you will ever make to the world around you is your complete independent from it.
When you can be happy, fulfilled, and free, without having to wait for the world to give you something, then no-one else has to look after you. No-one else has to be responsible for you. You take the pressure off everyone around you so they can focus on themselves. And because you’re happy and free without them, you’ll be able to help them with whatever they’re working through.
If you still rely on anyone other than yourself to feel strong, confident, and in-control, then every time you try and help anyone else, it will always come from a place of needing something in return.
Become selfish. Completely selfish. Do what you need to in every moment to make sure that you feel sure and strong so that you can be free to help everyone else around you.
13. Do unto others…
Hate will never fix hate. Anger will never cure anger. The only way that you will ever help make the world into the kind of world that you want is by being the change you wish to see in the world.
If someone hurts you, uses you, tries to swindle you, getting angry and doing the same thing back (or worse) will never change the situation. It’s not going to help them see just how pointless their actions are.
The only way to help them and make the world a more loving and beautiful place is to treat them the same way that you want to be treated: with compassion, love, and understanding.
You don’t have to blindly retaliate. You don’t have to let your emotional response rule your life.
You can choose how you live your life and the only choice that’s ever going to help you create the life you want is treating other people with the same amount o understanding and compassion that you want to be treated with.
14. I chose you
You weren’t an accident. You weren’t an unwanted by-product of some drunken and stupid choices. I chose you.
I chose your Mum and together, we chose to create you.
You are wanted, loved and appreciated. Things might get tough and things might make it seem like there might be some other truth hidden beneath the layers of complaints and worries.
But underlying everything is this: I chose you.
I love you and I want you to be the happiest, most powerful, most incredible human being to ever exist on the face of this earth.
Never forget that.
There’s so much more…
…I would say to you if I was here right now. There are so many things we would do, so many places we would visit, so many laughs we would share.
But I’m not. And I’m sorry for that. Nothing would make me prouder than watching you grow into a powerful, beautiful human being.
I know this won’t make any difference but please don’t mourn my passing.
I got to experience so much more in the short time I was on this earth than most people who will outlive me by many years.
I made some incredible connections with some amazing people, helped thousands of people all around the world find the strength and courage to change their lives, and I did it all with the most incredible woman I’ve ever met by my side.
I lived an amazing life and if you follow what I’ve written above, I’m sure you’ll do the same.
You will be forever in my heart,