20 Life Lessons Every Father Must Teach His Son
1. Self-Respect is paramount
Without self-respect, nothing else in life is possible. Discipline, integrity, work ethic, values: they're all made possible through self-respect. Guide your actions with the question “What would a self-respecting man do?” Then do that thing.
2. Everything must be earned
You are owed nothing. The world will rightly treat you as such. You must believe you are capable, and you must believe you WILL achieve your goals. But you must never rely on others to do the work for you. If you don't earn it, it isn't really yours.
3. People are ultimately self-interested
People will behave in whatever way is most expedient for them. It isn’t right or wrong, it’s just true. People want their problems solved, and they want to feel good. Give them those things and you’ll never be wanting.
4. Compounding powers the world
Success is the result of your daily actions. The effort you put in today, whatever the endeavor, will build on itself over time. Investment, strength, knowledge, the rules are the same: 1% of 100 is much less than 1% of 1,000,000.
5. Be kind to all
Magnanimity is the ultimate flex. Kindness implies strength. Only a strong man can afford to be truly kind, because in doing so he expects nothing in return. Being kind and being nice are two very different things.
6. Time and attention are your most valuable resources
Where you focus determines what you will achieve. How you spend your time determines your destiny. As long as your time and attention are driven by someone else, an employer or other relationship, you cannot truly be free.
7. Regret will kill you
You will make many mistakes. There will be many times regret rears its ugly head, and you wince at your past actions. Instead see them as data, lessons to learn and get better. In the end you’ll regret what you didn’t do more than what you did.
8. Be undeniably great
Whatever your endeavor, your aim is to be the best in the world. Use each day as an opportunity to improve your performance over the day prior. Your skills are the result of daily intentional practice. And your opportunities are the result of your skills.
9. Everything is downstream from physical health
Mental and emotional health require a healthy body. Never chase success at the expense of your health. You’re far less likely to succeed if your body is sick. And even if you do, your rewards will be stunted by poor health.
10. Physical strength connotes overall strength
Creating an enviable physique is hard. It requires discipline and years of hard work. And it's mandatory. Life is easier for the strong. Be strong and the world will treat you better. It's not fair, it's just reality.
11. The sun always rises
You will face disappointments. You will face failures. But every setback holds a lesson. And every day presents an opportunity to leverage the knowledge gained from that lesson by making yourself better. Never waste a failure.
12. There is no such thing as ‘fair’
Life treats us all differently, and in this way we are all the same. Some are dealt an easy hand. Some face unbelievable difficulty. The only certainty is that fate isn't fair. Comparison with others leads to ruin. Compete only with yourself.
13. There is always someone smarter than you
There is always someone smarter. There is always someone more talented. There is always someone more blessed by the world. Know and leverage the strengths you have. Know how to find and befriend those with the strengths you lack.
14. The right woman will propel you to greatness
And the wrong one will lead to destruction. When selecting a mate choose a woman who aligns with your values and supports your goals. If you want the same things out of life, and you walk in lockstep, you'll both be unstoppable.
15. Women are attracted to value
To attract women, first make yourself valuable in the eyes of the world. Women recoil from neediness. Her resentment will destroy you if she's the most important part of your life. Her support will amaze you if you are driven by your mission.
16. No one will love you as much as your mother
No woman, no friend, no organization will ever love you as much as your mother. Her love is unique. It's a blessing you can rely on. But to expect this type of love from anyone else, especially your spouse, will end in heartbreak.
17. Your reputation means everything
Don’t believe it when people say ‘it doesn’t matter what people think of you’. They’re wrong. In fact there's nothing more important. Guard your reputation with your life. The world is very cold to those deemed of poor character by others.
18. You must control your emotions
You mustn’t repress them. But you must develop the discipline to control the time, manner, audience, and means of their expression. A man who is a slave to his emotions cannot lead. A man who has mastered them can lead nations.
19. Your self-image fulfills itself
You are whatever you think you are. To become great you must think of yourself as great. Design the image of greatness in your mind with such detail that it becomes indistinguishable from reality. Internalize this and you will be inevitable.
20. Words drive the world
Just as the words you say to yourself will shape your own destiny, so will the words you use toward others shape theirs. Words stir armies to war. Words drive our global economy. Be always intentional about what you say and how you say it.
Is this list complete? Of course not. There are hundreds of lessons a father should teach his son as he comes of age. What would you add? Write it in the comments. I will include the best ones in future threads.
Until then, I sincerely thank you for reading.