5 Lessons Your Father Should Have Told You
By: Benjamin George
We currently live in an age unprecedented in human history. What we call the West is seeing an increase of fatherless children (I can’t speak for the rest of the world, as I don’t live there). Be it that their mothers are single, their fathers died… whatever the reason, children growing up today have a high chance of growing up without a father or a strong father figure.
Children growing up fatherless or without a strong father figure don’t end up well when they are adults. Girls grow up with daddy issues and have trouble with men later on in life. Boys grow up and don’t have the support that makes them stay on the right path and have trouble with women later on in life. It is a recipe for disaster.
Nowadays you see many of these young men and teens search for father figures on the internet. Some go to the “Manosphere,” some find Jordan Peterson as a surrogate father who tells them to clean their rooms, others end up in very weird and dark places of the internet… the point is, we are living times where the right path is unclear and there is a search for something that was taken for granted not so long ago.
I say all of this because I am a lucky man who had (and have) a present father in my life. Not only that, my father is a man whom others look up to. Being a natural born leader, my father has taught me many of the things that today I can read on the internet. The difference is that he taught me by example.
Leading by example is the only way to actually learn for many young people, especially men. Nobody cares about your stories and ways to do things, I know I didn’t when I was younger. When people ask: “What would you say to your younger self?” they lie to themselves. Their younger selves would simply ignore their advice. What matters is what you do, not what you say.
Why do I bore you with this?
These aren’t only lessons for young men. They are also lessons on how to be a strong, present father. Being a father is an unpaid, unpraised job. It is “What you are supposed to do”. Nobody sings songs about parents that were good parents.
These lessons are useful for relationships, self-improvement, politics, money and social settings.
“When hunger knocks on the door, love leaves through the window”
During the Great Recession of 2008, most divorces in Spain (I am from Spain) happened when one of the parents lost their job, usually the father. While I’m only familiar with the Spanish situation, I can confidently say that it is similar in the rest of the West.
This is a very raw lesson. If you are a man, your wife will leave with the kids if you cannot be the person that protects them and provides for them. It is how it is. Call it double standards, call it whatever you want. It is a job with no glory.
If the ship is sinking, you will save your children first. There isn’t room for all, and she will save them and push you off. If our ancestors hadn’t done this, we wouldn’t be here because the kids would have died and wouldn’t have had kids of their own.
Everyone saves themselves first, and that comes with the price of fucking others over. There is no point in being bitter about this, it is the way nature made us work. Know this, know that you are what you can do for other people, and work this in your favour.
“Let others exchange time for money, nobody turned rich that way”
Whether you know about money or not, this is a lesson that you learn the hard way, usually when it might be too late. We all grow up saying we want to become millionaires, so let’s do an experiment to illustrate how we won’t (unless we change our way of viewing money).
Say you work and have a $50K yearly wage. Let’s say you save every single dollar out of those 50K (purely hypothetical). You will take 20 years, without taking inflation into account, to reach $1M. And this is by saving everything you earn. In real life, half goes to taxes; of what’s left, half goes to rent… Keep going and let’s say you save 10% of the 50K. How many years is it going to take? This isn’t a way to become rich.
You are exchanging hours of your life for income. There are only 24 hours in a day. This cannot be scaled, it is fixed. Anyone who became rich became so because they created income that is separated from the hours they put in: investing, business, interest…
A reason why online business is popular is because it is highly scalable. There is no difference in cost to sell 1 copy of a book than to sell 1000. There is when you are selling physical products. This blog is an example of an online venture, for example. A “side hustle” to a job, to escape normal wage life.
There are many more examples of scalable income streams. The internet is a wonderful place for that.
“No clients will come to me if I sit all day at the office”
Sitting down on your ass because you got a degree or set up an office is a mistake. Nobody trusts a young lawyer, why? Because of experience. Authenticity is something everyone should strive for. Authenticity creates authority.
My father set up his own office, having never worked for anybody else. You don’t create a new team to play in the league and expect fans from other teams to come running to you. He went to go and look for clients.
He went to bars looking for clients. Why? Because lawyers solve problems for people, and people with problems go to bars to drink their sorrows. You need to get your foot in the door. Be so present people are forced to acknowledge you.
Another thing he did, in pre-social media era, was run to become the mayor. He plastered his face in posters all over the town. Overnight, everybody knew that there was a young lawyer punching his way up in town. He never wanted to become the mayor (he didn’t), he wanted the exposure. He funneled all the attention into clients.
Knowing your market is essential, working to maximize that knowledge is necessary. There is nobody out there giving thrones away, you must go out and fight for your place. Hustle and work smart.
“My money is mine, you are working the summer you turn 16”
I’ve worked as a waiter during summers and holidays since I was 16, which isn’t that common where I live. Most start doing summer jobs when they hit 19-20. Even though my father could probably pay for my university tuition, he wasn’t going to give me any money (to clarify, tuition in Europe is much cheaper than in the US).
My father is a lawyer; the children of his university friends never worked a day in their life. The children from his high school friends worked as butchers, in the fields or as waiters. Some even worked at sea. Once all of us reached an age where everybody should be working, the ones who did during summer and weekends had all the advantage.
Who will you hire in the future: the young adult who worked during summers and weekends, or the one who has no work experience?
I was not going to spend all summer at the beach and laying down in the sofa while my father worked 14 hours a day.
I would be lying if I said that, had I not worked in the summer, I wouldn’t have gone to University. My parents would have probably paid for it. They managed to convince me that they wouldn’t. I didn’t understand back then why I should work while my friends go to the beach. I understood the day I finished work.
Many young adults are careless with money, can’t speak to anybody outside their age range and lack social skills. This doesn’t cut it in the real world.
Dealing with a boss, having responsibilities, dealing with co-workers, sticking to a timetable, saving money… these are all things that young people lack in their early twenties. All of them are “curable” with a good summer’s worth of work.
“Don’t be a politician, be close to them. Politicians are the punching bags of society”
For those of you who don’t know, Spain is a very political country. More so than the US I would say. The reason for this is that we have four different levels of government, which makes us one of the highest countries in the world in politicians per capita.
Politicians stick their noses in everything. If they do not receive a cut, your project will likely fail in favour of another who gives a share to the politician. This share can be monetary, jobs creation or influence. The point is, there are people that you are going to have to deal with to get things done.
Nothing good comes from politics. It is full of people of the worse kind, and even the ones who start with good intentions fall to the devouring machine that is politics. If you want to become a politician, you will be a punching bag for the voters, and a puppet for the powerful.
This doesn’t mean that politicians aren’t useful. Keep close to them, in the shadows. Do not affiliate yourself to one party, do not do any favours and do not receive them. Nothing is free in life. But, sometimes, it is good to let others win too with your work. You reap what you sow.
If you know powerful people, you yourself have power. By staying close to politicians you have the upsides and not many downsides.
Hope you enjoyed this post. Nobody remembers the good parents, only the bad ones. This is a post to change that. Follow me on twitter: @BenjaminGJW, where a lot of fun happens.