I have gleaned so much wisdom from my father over the years. I want to share more life lessons I learned from my incredible dad with you.
He grew up with no money, no education, and no Dad. But he had fire in his belly and a work ethic to match it. Through insatiable hard work and a desire to succeed, my dad (nicknamed Chubby) became a Harvard of street smarts.
On Saturday mornings while I was growing up, Chubby took me to breakfast at Perkins Pancake House (Cincinnati). He leveraged my love of pancakes for the opportunity to share the practical lessons he was learning as he built his real estate firm.
What are the life lessons I learned from my dad?
I’ve written about them before, calling these life lessons, “Chubby Rules.” Some are originals from Dad, others I learned along life’s sometimes difficult road.
This week, I am sharing more life lessons I learned from my dad. These four are my most treasured Chubby Rules, with the last, “Poll Panderers,” being my favorite.
Brilliance In Brevity
The smartest people I know send the shortest emails and text messages I receive. No fluff. Just the bottom line. Polite, but to the point.
Have you ever been on the phone with someone who keeps saying the same thing over and over in different ways? You want to yell, “Stop, I get the point,” but you bite your tongue to be polite. In emails, texts, and conversations, don’t let others wish you would shorten it up and shut up.
Chubby Rule: Say less and express it clearer.
Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? I was there, a school kid at the time. Nobody talked about anything else. But Chubby never said a word, focusing even harder on building his business.
When I asked if he was worried about war, Chubby told me since he couldn’t control it, he wasn’t going to worry about it. He said while his competitors where diverted, he was going to work even harder building his business.
Chubby Rule: Don’t worry about what you can’t control.
Pleasure In Purpose
When I became successful, I started buying fancy cars, vacation homes and the luxuries I had dreamed of having. It was great for a while, but to my surprise I became bored.
Eventually, I realized that I had been happier “going for it” than when I finally “got it.” My mistake was that I was trying to find happiness through pleasure. It’s great to have money, but without purpose, life becomes superficial.
Chubby Rule: Pleasure is icing on the cake of purpose.
Chubby didn’t think much of poll-panderers, people afraid to say what they really believed for fear of being unpopular. Obviously, he was not a fan of many politicians.
Dad encouraged me to be bold and have the courage to advocate unpopular positions I deeply believed in. He said that great leaders change what people think, re-shaping the polls rather than pandering to the polls.
It takes guts to make yourself a target by advocating against what others believe. But Chubby taught me that we sometimes have to risk unpopularity to achieve a popularity we can look back and be proud of.
Chubby Rule: The pursuit of conformity is the path to mediocrity.
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