How my old man has guided my decision making throughout the years.
You spend the first part of your life providing unconditional love to them, the next part insisting that they are wrong at every corner, and the rest of your life realizing that they actually knew what they were talking about. Of course, I’m writing about fathers.
My old man was, and still is, a straight shooter. Want to know where you stand with him, just ask. He won’t pull any punches. And, from the beginning he was always looking out for me and guiding me to be the man I am today. How did he do it? By providing a solid role model who never took the shortcut and always did the right thing, no matter how hard and socially-unaccepted it was.
He lived by one motto when making a decision and it still holds as the best advice I’ve ever received. Very simply, it goes like this:
Think of the worst thing that can happen and it probably will.
Yes, it’s a pessimistic look on life – at the beginning. At first it seemed like he was all gloom and doom – expecting the worst possible outcome at every turn. But, I learned over the years that what he was really saying was:
Think of the worst thing that can happen. Are you willing to live with that outcome?
Want to touch that hot stove when you’re a kid? Are you ready to get a burnt hand? Want to skip doing your homework in junior high? Are you ready to get detentions (and probably punishment at home)? Think you’re ready to bring that relationship with your girlfriend to ‘the next level?’ Are you ready to be a dad (that was a BIG one to think about in high school)?
It’s always been a question I ask myself. Hell, I even use this advice in smaller life situations. When I was thinking about whether I was going to keep my earrings in during interviews I thought about whether I was willing to lose a job I really wanted due to some older person’s misguided opinion. In the end, I wasn’t and took the earrings out for the interview (I got the job – although I don’t know that taking the earrings out was what tipped the scales).
So, thanks Dad! You’ve helped me make the right decisions in life and have taught me to think before I leap. Sometimes I wish I didn’t – I’m less spontaneous because of this advice – but, for the most part, I’ve made the right decision because I think through the consequences of my actions.