Since Father’ Day is right around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to share some of what I have learned from my dad. Every boy’s first role model is his father. You believe him to be a man of Olympian strength, Einstein-like intellect and the quintessential self-reliant individual as portrayed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. There was nothing he couldn’t fix or problem he couldn’t solve. I remember watching many cowboy movies as a kid and always assuming my dad would have made the better protagonist.
As we get older we learn that our dad is human like everyone else and if you are smart you eventually relieve him of the pressures of sitting up on a pedestal. However, many of the lessons we learn from our parents end up lasting a lifetime. My dad taught me the following:
It’s sad how often fear rules individual lives. You can’t blame people for being afraid. Just about every commercial and news program preys on these fears on a daily basis. When you scare people by tapping into their fears it is easy to manipulate them. I just heard a radio commercial where the financial advisor was basically warning of a financial Armageddon in the next 12 months. What irresponsible nonsense! I simply changed the channel in disgust.
I often worry about people who read too many self-help books and/or set lofty expectations for themselves based on what others think or espouse. Many of these books or speakers attempt to create and communicate a common definition of success and/or happiness that resonates with everyone and is applicable in all situations. They also tend to engender flawed comparisons of reality and potential. It’s almost as if who you are doesn’t matter and that everyone is equally capable in all situations and that there is a proven recipe for managing all life has in store for you.
Emotions aren’t bad they just need to be appropriate to the situation and managed accordingly. In my experience, people often won’t trust or have other concerns about a leader or colleague who is devoid of emotion and seemingly stoic in all situtaions.