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What words of wisdom to son/daughter/younger self
Old 05-02-2014, 04:04 PM   #1
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What words of wisdom to son/daughter/younger self

I am very curious what words of wisdom you would want to give your young adult son or daughter or your younger self if you had the chance.

There is a lot of life experience on this forum, things we have done right, mistakes we made. Things we wish we had done or not done. The direction and philosophy of life we took or wish we had taken. Things we missed out on because of timidity, or things we rushed into because of foolishness.

What would you like to say to your son or daughter (or younger self) about life and how to get the most out of it? I am not talking about LBYM or the wisdom of saving, I am sure we all know this, but rather about the other things in life. What wisdom do you have to impart?

Having kids of my own, it is more than just a philosophical question. I want to help them learn from my successes, avoid my mistakes while encouraging them to embark on some great adventures of their own. I think this forum is probably the best place in the world to ask this question. I am so curious about what you all will say (before I meet my son for lunch next week).
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:30 PM   #2
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"Don't worry so much about what others will think. Worry about what YOU will think."

But then, I told her this many times. I hope that it sunk in at some point. It's a hard lesson to learn when one is young and wants to be accepted/validated by a group of one's peers.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:32 PM   #3
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When I turned 50 (over 5 years ago; Wow!) I wrote down some of the most important lessons I've learned.

Some Random Thoughts on Turning 50
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:34 PM   #4
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If I could speak to my younger self, I'd say, "Go easy on that motorbike and ride carefully, or you'll end up as a 50 year-old man with osteoarthritis pain in his knees."

Yep, that's about the only thing I'd like to change.
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Old 05-02-2014, 06:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
When I turned 50 (over 5 years ago; Wow!) I wrote down some of the most important lessons I've learned.

Some Random Thoughts on Turning 50
I missed that the first time, good read, thanks for pointing it out again.

If someone had told me what I know now when I was in my 20's, unfortunately I wouldn't have listened to much of it. Not that I was headstrong (OK, maybe that's part of it), but some things I probably needed to learn for myself, at an age when the knowledge would really register. Some of my greatest personal epiphanies happened in my early 50's. And I am still learning at almost 60, hope that continues as long as I live.
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Old 05-03-2014, 01:11 AM   #6
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"As inconceivable as it may sound, you will one day wake up to find that the working world is one large, persistent, subtly vicious attempt to strip you of your optimism, integrity, peace of mind, and just about everything else that's good about yourself.

What you'll find even harder to believe is that the ONLY escape is a lot of money. Yep, that thing that everyone has taught you is NOT important will in fact be the only thing that can save your soul. Therefore ...

Take 10% of every paycheck and invest it in stocks. You don't even know what they are yet, but one day they will be among your best friends. Start now and avoid the desperate scramble in your 40's.

Oh, and ditch the afro. It won't get you any chicks, anyway."
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Old 05-03-2014, 02:56 AM   #7
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I'd say that it doesn't matter what I say. You will know in your heart what is right or wrong and it is entirely up to you whether you listen to that or go against it. Life has a way of acknowledging you either way.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:14 AM   #8
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It is easy to be rich, it only takes time and self-discipline. What is hard is to get rich quickly.

It is not virtuous to be poor, if it means you are always dependent on others.

Never do anything because of what people will think. They aren't thinking about you anyway. And those who spend all their time thinking about other people and what they do don't have opinions worth your time to consider.

The only revenge worth having is living a good life. When (not if) someone does something you don't like, walk away and just going on with your life.
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:19 AM   #9
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Stay out of debt, especially credit card debt. One two things a person should ever borrow money for, a car or a house.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:46 AM   #10
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Floss!
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:53 AM   #11
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treat others with respect and kindness (the way you would want to be treated);
set your aspiration level high as you can achieve way more than you might think;
don't sweat the small stuff;
spend your discretionary money on experiences, not possessions;
treat your body like a temple and it will take care of you;
be a lifetime learner;
always show up for an appointment on-time;
make your retirement savings a priority and learn how to invest your money wisely

And Gumby, I really enjoyed your thoughts!
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:54 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
When I turned 50 (over 5 years ago; Wow!) I wrote down some of the most important lessons I've learned.

Some Random Thoughts on Turning 50
Great Post. Well written and thoughtful.

In terms of advice for the younger crew, I haven't rolled the odometer on 50 yet, but here is advice I give younger people when the opportunity presents itself. Admittedly, this is slanted a bit towards work/career:

1). LBYM isn't about retiring early or living a life of austerity. LBYM is the foundation of a peaceful life that enables high value risk taking.

Ultimately risk and reward are related. If your personal financial position is tenuous, then every risk is amplified. If losing your job means losing your house, you're less likely to take the risky high profile assignment starting the new business unit or take the risk of going toe-to-toe with the jerk senior exec who brow beats everyone. But if your personal life is in good order, those risks are reduced and you can play the game fearlessly. Over time risk turns into reward, LBYM on a larger income further insulates you from bad outcomes and you can take bigger risks. Its cyclical -- the only question is a whether it's cycling up to more peace, more risk, more reward; or cycling down to more fear, less risk, less reward.

2). Truly start from a position of caring for the best outcomes of those around you and try to help them along the road to the best outcome you can.

This applies even to a poor performing employee you have to terminate. Remember that caring for someone doesn't mean you can't hold them to a high standard -- whether it's a child, a family member or a co-worker/employee. If I care for you, I want you to be your best and I'm willing to do the hard work of showing tough love to help you strive -- but will be compassionate along the way. I hope you'll do the same for me.

3). With rare exception, at some point in life everyone has to work their a** off for 30 years if they want to be happy.

Some people do it from age 20-50. Some people do it from 30-60. People who become adults at age 40 have a rough road -- because they still owe the world 30 years of hard work. If you start at 50, you'll be whining that "You're never going to retire and don't know how you'll send your kids to school." They don't realize that they sort of retired when they were 20 and now have to "un-retire" and deal with life. Some people never become adults at all. I pity them.

4). Count your blessings each day.

Simply thru birth in the modern, western world you are one of the 0.001% most fortunate people who've ever walked the earth. We don't do the Black Plague. The govt isn't coming to torture my children if I blog that I don't like the President. Having a bad day? Watch "Band of Brothers", say thank you, and remember how blessed you are.

5). Seek out the talent in others.

Weaknesses are just strengths being used out of place. Find the people who have different strengths -- they're probably pissing you off at work -- and force yourself to learn from them. Test drive some of their behaviors. I will bet you a paycheck you become more productive and effective by rounding out your skillset.

Thank you for listening to my soap box messages for the day
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:51 AM   #13
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Unless you are one of those extreme rare people who are going to get wealthy playing sports, do it with moderation, your joints will thank you in the future.

Focus on being fit for life, not being an awesome jock when you are young so you can be a cripple when you are older.

(by the way, I just had a great MTB ride inside our property today - so I am not talking about being a wuss)
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:09 AM   #14
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Make sure you marry the right person.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:11 AM   #15
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Make sure you marry the right person.
+1. Great point
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:15 PM   #16
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Usually my advice is to ignore that old guy trying to give advice.

Once in a while, though, it's good to remind him that all along his journey others are helping out. Most of that is help he doesn't see or isn't aware of, even when it is staring him in the face, and some comes from folks that are just doing their job, even when that role is helping others. An important part, though, is from people cutting him a break, lending a helping hand, offering opportunities, giving second chances, aiming him in the right direction, and helping him acquire the tools that he will need to reach his destination.

He still needs to work hard, but that help will make a difference in his life. He doesn't need to pay that back but he does need to pay it forward.
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Old 05-03-2014, 03:59 PM   #17
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Do we live in the world where we can freely give other's advice anymore? I find that most people are pretty much guarded these days for fear that they might be telling someone how to live their life. It's sad because a lot of young people are misguided and could benefit from the wisdom of an older person.
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:51 AM   #18
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I always tried to set an example for my boys. The oldest one has relayed how he models my behaviour on occasion. So I guess it was worth it.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:49 PM   #19
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Seriously: "Get a job with the MBTA or the court system, then retire at 43, 44 with full pension and benefits for life (send the checks to Key West)". Had a few buddies go that route...wish I had.
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:04 PM   #20
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Thanks for all of you posting on this subject. I have read each one several times. Some great cuisine for contemplation here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
"Don't worry so much about what others will think. Worry about what YOU will think."
....
Maybe the most important lesson of all, because sometimes it is so hard to tell when you are following others or your own preferences. And watch out for the whole world is trying to convince you of one thing or the other for their own economic or political gain. Keep true to yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
When I turned 50 (over 5 years ago; Wow!) I wrote down some of the most important lessons I've learned.

Some Random Thoughts on Turning 50
Great post! Thank you for posting the link here. I even printed out so I could read it more leisurely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by krotoole View Post
...
In terms of advice for the younger crew, I haven't rolled the odometer on 50 yet, but here is advice I give younger people when the opportunity presents itself. Admittedly, this is slanted a bit towards work/career:

1). LBYM isn't about retiring early or living a life of austerity. LBYM is the foundation of a peaceful life that enables high value risk taking.
...
2). Truly start from a position of caring for the best outcomes of those around you and try to help them along the road to the best outcome you can.
...
3). With rare exception, at some point in life everyone has to work their a** off for 30 years if they want to be happy.
...
4). Count your blessings each day.
...
5). Seek out the talent in others.
...
Thank you for listening to my soap box messages for the day
Thanks for spending so much time on this question, some very thoughtful observations in your five comments, each deserving some reflection and contemplation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcowan View Post
I always tried to set an example for my boys. The oldest one has relayed how he models my behaviour on occasion. So I guess it was worth it.
I understand your savoring that. Sometimes my son even calls me and asks for advice. Not often, but when it happens, Priceless!

And the others, save, stay free from debt, stay healthy in body and mind, be considerate of others but stand up for what you think is right, don't let the working world pull you down, marry well, and floss!

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts.
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