Childhood Lessons

Posted on 19/02/2011


For the first several years of our lives, pretty much everyone lies to us. We’re taught to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and, of course, the monster under your bed who’ll nibble your feet if you get up after you’ve been tucked in for the night.

By the time you’re a teenager, you’ve figured out that Mom and Dad were just having a good laugh at your expense. So you can’t help but wonder if the other stuff they told you – about life and love, God and government, morality and money – might be just as specious.

What’s more, since you were smart enough to discover the truth about Father Christmas, you may fall into the trap of figuring you’re actually smarter than your parents – and probably most other adults, too.

What you don’t know is – the Tooth Fairy aside – most of the things they told you were probably pretty good. In fact, most of what you need to know about success and life, you learned in grade school, Sunday school, and at your parents’ knees.

Just a few examples…

“Don’t Cheat.”

Our juvenile national teams have been cheating on ages of the players for years. We always knew this, but the rest of the world didn’t and our boys went on to win cup after cup, youth cups, Under 13’s, the FIFA under 17’s, Under 20’s. We performed brilliantly at all these competitions and our players were in high demand by all the Euro clubs. But they failed to perform at their respective clubs, simply because they were over-aged. The result? We have a bunch 0f 30 plus year olds playing on the national team – quite reflective on their performance at the recently concluded World Cup.

The moral of the story: If you are not honest with whatever claims you present today, it will definitely come to haunt you tomorrow.

Here’s another thing your parents always told you:

“Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.”

Many years ago my driver had helped a lady he never knew who he saw stranded at a bus stop in torrid rain one morning – she was on her way to work, there were no busses, her umbrella had copped out, and she was soaked. He picked her up, wet and all, and had since forgotten all about the incident, and the lady…until many years later. I had taken my car for a service check up and was finding it difficult to get attended to by the company’s representatives – I didn’t notice that my driver had sneaked around the company – he came back to meet us at the workshop – in the company of a lady. Would you believe it was the same woman he had helped in the rain many years earlier! She had obviously risen up the ranks and was now the General Manager at this motor repair company. Incredible, you say?

Moral of the story: Karma always kicks in with a vengeance. Helping others truly works!

Here’s one final lesson:

Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit.”

You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? I lost a job once, and at a stage, things got so hard for me – I had kids in university, bills to pay and I had to put food on the table. I sold my cars – I had two cars back in the day – I love Mercedes’ cars – I had a 300 D and a 230 CE, but I had to sell them both when things got tough. But I never gave up, instead I picked up my other skills – I started writing, I became a freelancer. I was desperate. At 36, I had a wife, young kids, no savings to speak of, no money coming in, and no real prospects for a job. I dug deep – I did the only thing I knew how to do. I used the skills I’d developed to find clients of my own. I started my own company. It was brutal at first. We barely had enough to eat – let alone pay the bills.

At that point, an intelligent person would have just given up. A sane person would have said, “Bros, you better find a real job.” Not me. I was too dumb, stubborn, and cocky to abandon my dream of independence. Lo and behold, slowly, but surely, things began to improve. I’m still not exactly where I want to be, but I’m definitely not where I was a few years ago!

The moral: Winston Churchill said it best: “Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in.”

Or as David Zucker put it: “Quit now. You’ll never make it. If you disregard this advice, you’ll be halfway there.”

It sounds trite, I know – but it’s true: If you can conceive it, you CAN achieve it. It won’t always be easy. You won’t always appear to be winning. But if you hold the picture of your perfect success in your mind – and if you can muster the courage and energy to keep going when all around you urge you to quit — you’ve already won. It’s only a matter of time until you make it a reality.

Honesty and ethics are a huge part of being successful. People will be more likely to deal with you, customers will be loyal, and your friends will always trust in you.

Posted in: Inspired Moments