I’m lucky enough to have a nerd for a father. Growing up he challenged us constantly to approach the world the way he did; with openness and curiosity. He’s the king of pithy sayings and cheesy jokes and while we would regularly roll our eyes when he repeated something for the umpteenth time, I’ve grown to love those lines. They’ve become part of my life, given me perspective. And I know I’ll someday harass my kids with them.
A few of my favorites:
- When there were chores or projects and we wanted to work with friends or siblings he would say: “One boy’s a boy, two boys are half a boy and three boys are no boys at all.” He had a variety of work-related stories and sayings. He valued hard work more than most things.
- When we weren’t working hard enough he’d say “you can always tell the core of someone when you’re sailing in a storm. There are two types of people–those that are wrapped around the mast praying for it to stop, and those ready to help however they can.”
- When we were late: “If you can just show up to work on time, you’re doing better than most people in the world.”
- When trying something new: “Never be afraid to be a beginner. You’ll never learn anything without getting comfortable being bad at it.”
- When we came up with a new business idea: “Great that you had an idea–what are you going to do about it? What can you do to make a dollar with it? Not a thousand dollars in a month or a million dollars in a year, make one dollar THIS weekend.” He values action so much more than the hypothetical.
- When I was 12 and asked to buy something I wanted: “You don’t have enough money for that.” This was a significant turning point for me. Differentiating between his money and mine changed the course of my life.
- When I was 15 and my folks wouldn’t let me go to a party and I was SO MAD: “Let’s see, there are wars in the Middle East, people starving in Africa, and Brent can’t go to Katrina’s party. What’s most important for us to focus on right now?”
- When work was hard: “If it was easy to make a million dollars, more people would be doing it.”
- To stay creative: “Let’s walk a different way home” or “Let’s go to ___________ (insert random conference with no visible application to our lives or work.)”
- When we wouldn’t try foods he’d call us “food wimps” and threaten to not take us to interesting places because he’d be embarrassed. To this day I pride myself on being willing to eat just about anything.
- When we were driving and passed a cemetery, without fail he would say “Oh look! A cemetery, I hear people are dying to get in there.”