A young girl walks out of her bedroom down the hall and smells a lovely aroma seeping from the kitchen. She decides to investigate and walks in to the kitchen to see the familiar sight of her mother cooking intently. Her mom opens the lid of the pot on the stove and gives the contents a good stir as the oven preheat temp alarm starts to chime. She closes the lid on the stove and prepares the large ham to go in the oven. Before she places the ham in the oven, she cuts the ends off of the ham and then slides it in.
“Mom?” the young girl inquires. “Yes honey?” the mom replies. “Why do you cut the tips of the ham off before you put it in the oven?” “Because that’s how your grandmother always did it.”
Puzzled, the little girl thinks about why one would cut the ends off of a ham. Was it to let moisture out? Was it to cook the ham more evenly? Was it to get the ham more air beneath the skin?
That weekend she and her family went to visit her grandmother.
“Hey grandma?” the girl says. “Yes, dear?” grandma replies. “Why do you cut the tips of the ham off before you put it in the oven?” “Because my oven is small and typically a large ham won’t fit in unless I cut the ends off.”
We live in a culture where most people don’t think for themselves.
They take any and every opportunity to just do what they see around them. They buy what other people buy, they work like other people work, they do things the way other people do them, they constantly seek advice on how other people do things so they can copy it. They want the shortcut.
A “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it” mentality.
You and I, we were and are shaped massively by the way we were raised. We are shaped by what we were told, what we experienced, and what we observed. And guess what?
Your parents were wrong about a lot of things.
Don’t get me wrong… they were also likely very wise in a lot of ways too. But they were wrong. A lot. Why? They are human, and no human is perfect. Far from it actually. And we are all conditioned to shape our opinions simply by observing other non-perfect human beings. This gives us an often incorrect or inaccurate view of the world and how things are. Just like the girl's mom with the ham… she believed she needed to cut the ends off to make a good ham, when in reality cutting the ends off was pointless for her because her oven could easily fit a large ham without cutting the ends off.
Things Your Parents (Probably) Taught You Wrong
“If you want to be successful you must go to school.”
“If you want to succeed you must go to a top college.”
“If you don’t get a degree you’ll never be successful.”
“You have to get an education to do something like that.”
Look, here’s the reality… you need an education, but education is not in the box they likely taught you. It’s not only taught within the 4 walls of a “school.” Through the power of the internet and connectivity, we now have access to virtually limitless education. You can learn a TON using resources like research on google, youtube, Udemy courses, and so much more. Yes, I believe in education and the need of it, but I don’t believe there is ONE source of education needed for all people (college for example).
Here is a prime example: My wife has a degree in Occupational Therapy. At 31 years old, she won the Alabama Occupational Therapist of the Year award, an award where the average recipient is likely 50+ years old. She LOVES what she does, she’s bad ass at it, and is exceptionally fulfilled. She is doing exactly what she feels God called her to do with her life. A college degree in Occupational Therapy is mandatory for her to do what she does. Other wise, she could not legally be an Occupational Therapist. So, college was an important part of her education. It wasn’t all of it though. She has learned just as much if not more outside of her college days as she did in them.
But for me, I dropped out of college and am one of the owners of the medical facility that my wife work at. In other words, a former construction worker and college dropout (me) owns a medical facility that she (a college grad with a Masters degree and tons of certifications) works at. Did I need to go to college to open a medical facility? NO. I studied entrepreneurship myself. I read countless books, went to seminars, got mentors and coaches, listened to audios, went to networking events, you name it. I got my education outside of college, and I operate every day in my divine design.
“You’re really good or smart at ____ so you should make a career out of that.”
“___ is what your grandfather/grandmother did and what your father/mother did so that’s what you should do, too.”
“You will take over the family business one day.”
“You can’t make a living doing that.”
“That will never work.”
“That is not realistic.”
“You should get a real job.”
Let me ask you a question…
Who’s dream is your dream?
Is your dream one that YOU created and have for yourself, or was it given to you by your parents?
Are you an attorney because your parents told you that you would be an awesome attorney and you wanted to make them proud? Are you a plumber because your dad was a plumber? Are you a nurse because your parents told you that a career in medical would be a “smart and successful long term career?” Are you a school teacher because they told you the benefits and retirement were rock solid? Do you run the business your parents used to own because they expected you to take it over? Your parents have probably never intentionally steered you wrong. It’s not their fault. But most often they will put expectations on your shoulders that you have to learn to ignore. I’m not saying you should be defiant or disrespectful… I’m saying you need to listen to YOU when it comes to what YOU want to do with YOUR life. Your life is YOURS to live, not theirs or anyone else's. Make sure YOU are the one choosing your destiny, not someone else. Life is too short to do anything else other than your divine design. You were designed and created on purpose and for a purpose. Discover what that is without them or anyone else telling you what you should do.
Listen for advice... but make up your own mind.
And if you have a dream that they don’t support… do it anyway. The last feeling you want at the end of your life is a single ounce of regret.
“The first 5 years are the hardest.”
“Find someone that completes you.”
“Oh that’s cute. Enjoy that now. That goes away when you get married.”
Most marriage advice you get is complete garbage.
I know because most of the advice I get is flat out not true. A lot of it is not even CLOSE to being true.
I was recently at a wedding and I heard a man (who was divorced by the way) give the groom advice that I wanted to cringe over. He said “One of the smartest things you can do is make sure she always thinks she’s right, wether she is or not.” Listen, if you are a man, I can promise you one thing (through experience and reading tons of books) and that is this: a woman biologically wants a strong man, not one that convinces her that she is always right even when she’s not.
Also, you will hear “the first 5 years are the hardest.” I disagree with this entirely. I could be wrong, because I’ve been married close to 7 years, so maybe 20 years from now I will say the first 5 years were the hardest. But, the only thing that’s been super hard the first 5 years of our marriage has been life, not marriage. For example, my wife has had many health challenges. That’s been tough. She lost her father. That was also tough. My mom had brain surgery. That was challenging. But our marriage? It’s been rock solid and sexy since day one. By design, by the way. Which leads me to comment on statements like "Oh that’s cute. Enjoy that now. That goes away when you get married.” I still get the door for my wife. I still buy her random gifts. I still take her on countless dates. I still write little love letters, swat her cute butt as a flirt when she’s not expecting it, kiss her when she comes home or I come home, ask her how her day was, send her random text messages during the day, flirt wit her, and so much more.
These moments don’t have to go away.
Treat your marriage IDENTICAL to how you treated it when you were just dating and I promise it will stay on fire. Don’t listen to all of the advice you get. Read books and make up your own mind how your marriage should be.
“Save save save.”
“Make sure to save for retirement.”
“You only live once."
“You need a safe and secure job with good benefits."
Your grandparents were raised in a totally different world than your parents were. Yet they taught your parents and gave your parents advice as if they lived in the same generation.
Your parents were raised in a totally different world than you were. See where I'm going?
The economy today is not the world your parents grew up in. The business world today is not the business world your parents grew up in. The limitations, opportunities, challenges, technologies, demands, and marketplace are totally different. TOTALLY different. And it's changing every day.
The days of "go to school, get good grades, get a degree, work 40 hours for 40 years and have a great retirement" are just as common today as a T-Rex walking downtown where you live.
If you live like you only live once, what happens if you live to die of old age?
If you live like you'll die of old age, what if you got a diagnosis and a prognosis that brought you to your knees tomorrow?
We live in a world today where your potential audience is a click of a button away. If you give them value... they'll give you money. Your parents and grandparents didn't have that.
Also while I'm on the topic, your parents worked in a world where the harder you worked, and the more responsibility you took on, the more promotions and raises you got. But what that created in our generation are people that believe that to still be true, yet as they climb that ladder, they end up giving up more of their life by working more hours, taking on more stress, and more responsibility just to make more money. Do you honestly think you are going to be fulfilled in your accomplishment of making more money by working more hours, taking on more stress, and more responsibility, therefore giving up more of your life, more of your quality of life, and almost all of your freedom?
Also as you climb, it is more common today to get fired or laid off than it is to retire. Companies will cast you off like a used napkin and replace you with someone younger, smarter, more experienced, or even worse, someone not as smart or as experienced as you but someone willing to work for less pay. And they hand you a pink slip and walk you out of the front door just as soon as you found out you were going to have a baby, when you bought a new house, or when you just saved up enough for that dream vacation.
Passive cashflow is key. PASSIVE. What can you set up that will pay you every day even when you aren't working? That will free up your time and money so you can do what you are truly passionate about, like I am right now writing this blog post for you. Passive cash flow creation is for a different blog post though.
I hope you will take the time to reflect on why you believe what you believe, to examine if you should believe it in the first place, and to recalibrate your life in a major way. Because that's the #StrategicLife.