For some life is a roller coaster, however, many people prefer the carousel, it just goes around and round not too many ups and downs perhaps a few bumps in the road, try not to make too many mistakes, find a sensible stable job and try not to take so many risks. Stay in the one place most of your life build a shell that’s comfortable close to friends and family. Follow the rules don’t lose your way in the flock and that’s perfectly fine if that’s what you want from life. Personally, I’ve searched for success my whole life, at great cost and sacrifices to my family. I, in turn, have urged my children to have ambition, to reach for the stars, the road has been anything but simple, adversity was and is my constant companion.
Success and failure go hand in hand and I’ve had my fair share of successes throughout my career thinking that when I reach that pinnacle moment happiness would follow. Success would bring everything I ever wanted and at that moment things where great, you are on a high, people want to know you, you receive many privileges but then it subsides, what was once exciting is now annoying, having a meal without being interrupted becomes the norm. So, when great success arrived I realised that it was not the answer to happiness, whilst it helped acquire comfort and an ability to deal with stress it was not the be all and end all that most people believe. In fact, in most cases, it was the other way around. Success sometimes just adds to existing problems or create new sets of problems.
Happiness is a state you can choose as are most human emotions that are usually triggered by events, people or circumstances. The things we see hear and feel are all external so how we react to these external influences will ultimately dictate your mental state unless you learn to choose your response. That in itself is not easy especially considering that the response mechanism is a learned habit acquired from the time you enter the world. I battle with this every single day and like everyone else I have good days and I have bad days. At times I cannot control my emotions my emotions tend to control me, how I feel, how I reply, my body language it affects every aspect of my existence at that particular moment and it is at these times that life can be tough, depressing, lonely and filled with anxiety.
What one needs to be fully aware of is that life is about solving problems, those that want problems to disappear are fighting a losing battle. Every time you solve a problem more problems come into existence. There are also different levels and types of problems or good and bad problems. You can have the problem of not having enough money or the problem of having too much money, I have spoken to people in every demographic in fact just yesterday I spoke with a person I hold in very high esteem and we were discussing his issues with his company a company that turns over several million dollars a year. Having lots of money has not diminished his problems in fact his hold day revolves around solving problems for his clients and he mentioned the fact that he cannot leave his business for too long because he is the one that generates work through his ability to solve problems virtually instantaniously, he says “I never say I’ll call you back”, he will resolve whatever issue the business has by offering alternate solutions and when you have someone like this that is able to find a positive solution to every problem that is thrown your way and embraces this as a natural part of life, this leads to a higher level of comfort in living. It’s not problem free it’s just a different set of problems, for example, this gentleman does not have the problem of putting food on the table, which for me is a bad problem to have, not knowing where your next meal is coming from poses a very big problem for anyone to solve, going hungry is never a nice situation to be in. As humans unlike any other animals on this planet we have the ability to see our future, to plan, to learn but most importantly to solve problems, that is why to this very day I cannot understand why our school system values standardised testing, it should value standardised problem solving and focused mainly on teaching the skills necessary for people to solve all types of problems through science and the acquisition of knowledge.
The main lesson I have learned as a parent myself is that success is a process and it is that process that builds you to become the person you want to be, success is basically a byproduct of the process. Today when parents ask me questions about how their children can improve I respond by saying your children can improve by improving yourself. You need to be the change you want to see in your children. Your kids are at an age where everything you do is gospel. If your diet is poor your children’s diet will be poor if you do not exercise why would your children want to exercise. Children can and do come in all shapes and sizes, they are all different and each and every one will need to be given independent attention as to their likes and interests. There is no one size fits all so when people ask me about my kids there are things we did as parents that led them to their personal ambitions. These things are supposedly universal and laced with common sense, however, we have learned that common sense isn’t always common practised and there are things that we could have done better. Ultimately all we have ever wanted was for our kids to be happy and healthy, to have a good level of education, to be able to hold and nurture relationships. We also wanted them to have an ambitious attitude towards their selected careers, whatever they may turn out to be, I think in general we did ok where we perfect? absolutely not, did we make mistakes? every day! There are certain things that we did that I believe can be applied in general to all parents.
Some of these include urging your kids to do their best in everything they undertake, to ensure that anything they start they follow through regardless of whether they like it or not. We urged our kids to try different things, had we left it in their hands they would not have tried anything. By urging them to do things it taught them to overcome frailties, to become fearless and be able to put themselves into situations of adversity. We had to learn about the things they had interest in, whilst it was their activities we had the wisdom and life experience to help them through the process, so the more we knew about what we didn’t know the better we could assist them. We created an environment for them, we found a good place to live where they could be outside but in relative safety, we looked for a dwelling where we knew there where other kids their age. They now reflect on the years we lived there as some of the best times of their lives. We travelled as often as we could we went to every corner of Sydney exposing them to the myriad of different cultures and places that one finds. Apart from this, we ourselves did our best to be good role models, we tried to introduce them to good people, we sent them to what we believed would be the best school for them as individuals. We fought for them and nurtured their self-esteem. We also chose to sacrifice our own financial situation to ensure that they always had one of us available 24/7. Of course, as they got older there were times where this was not always the case but doing this meant one of could only work part-time with flexible hours.
Perhaps what we didn’t do well was to teach them to value things more. To respect the importance of the little things like keeping their rooms clean and helping us around the house a lot more. In other words, we facilitated a level of entitlement that to this day is implanted in their subconscious. Our youngest who still lives with us cannot manage to keep her room tidy no matter how many times we asked her to comply. Today I emphasise with all of our players the story of the goose and the golden egg. Children need to understand that the little things matter in fact they are the most important. If you can’t get the little things right how on earth are you going to deal with the big things that cross our path.
There is no set way of being a parent but there are set ways which you can be a better parent, try not to shield them to much allow them to feel uncomfortable but help them to deal with those issues, don’t bubble wrap them from the world or they will get a big shock when they leave the nest.
If there were compulsory topics with which to expose them then I would say these are very important:
- Money, what is it? how does it work? what is investing? and how do you run a business?
- Health, Food whats the deal here? what is good? what is bad? what information are you getting? who is it sponsored by? Don’t forget you dig your grave with your teeth!
- Excercise, make this a conductive habit, a norm, football is a great way to ensure your body gets a workout 3-4 times a week. Kids love to play and the better their skills the longer they will continue to play.
- Reading, perhaps this should be at the top of the list reading is to the brain what exercise is to the body. A school will give you a formal education which will, in turn, provide you with a living but self-education will provide you with a fortune, reading is like having Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle as your best friends. Mentors at hand ready to instal a world of knowledge.
- Communication, learning to listen and a basic understanding of social psychology, what makes people tick, why do we behave the way we do, how to make friends and influence people is perhaps the greatest skill you can teach your child!