Inspiration comes from everywhere — sometimes the most surprising places. Today’s inspiration comes from having spent time with one of my 16 year old cousins whom I haven’t seen since he was a tiny child. He has grown up to be a really nice kid and incredibly handsome young man, and I hope that I can be in his life a little bit more – as much as he will allow or tolerate — and teach him anything I have to offer. Even though some of my lessons are a bit off-kilter (and many have to do with cocktails), here’s the second installment of the tidbits of information that I feel are worth sharing with young people. I’m continuing this list not because so many people were interested, but just because it’s fun.
I hope some of these inspire thought, at very minimum.
- There are reasons why you need to excel in school. Elementary or grammar school prepares you for high school. It’s important to do well in HS so that you can get admitted to the best Universities — not just for the programs they offer, but because of the network to which you’re exposed. When you become an adult, you will want to have a good network of smart and successful people to leverage for connections to great jobs, business partnerships, or even just informed opinions. Those relationships are developed in college and continue throughout your life. A reasonably smart person with a great network will go a lot further than a genius who operates in a vacuum.
- Take a genuine interest in getting to know the people in your life. Make a concerted effort to know them — what makes them happy, their motivations, their goals and anything they’ve learned along the way. Especially your parents, who are so focused on raising you that you might look up and realize that you don’t really know them at all. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will hate to have missed the opportunity.
- Get a good handle on the basics. Know how to load a dishwasher, unload a dishwasher, do laundry, iron a shirt, remove a stain. Life hacks will get you through.
- Understand that, by and large, people just want to be heard. It’s worthwhile to listen, even if you don’t take their advice. You might learn something that will change your course, or not. But you’ll never know if you don’t listen.
- Err on the side of formality until you’re invited to do otherwise. This includes manners, the use of nicknames and business attire.
- If it’s introduced, it has to be addressed. Your job is to keep things that you don’t want addressed from being introduced. Sometimes it’s best to fly under the radar.
- Pick your mate for the right reasons. It’s great that she has an incredible body, or that he has a nice car. But look for personal traits — signs of integrity. Watch how he/she treats the important people in his/her life. Is this person determined and deliberate? Goal-oriented? Examine the family before making a true commitment. And always remember that how you align is how you’re defined.
- Make a valiant effort. Life is much more fun when you actively participate. This rule is one that I learned the hard way.
- Have a signature dish that you master and enjoy cooking.
- Find an older person in your life who cares about you, in whom you can confide. This can be an aunt or uncle, a godparent, a cousin or an unrelated person who you connect with.
- Don’t be mad at your friends for being themselves. They might not show their love for you in the way that you expect or hope. Sometimes you have to adjust your expectations to accommodate what they have to offer. If you try to change them, you will only frustrate yourself and alienate them.
That’s it for now! I welcome all comments, questions are rebuttals!