These are not meant to be prescriptive, but I hope you can learn from what went well and what did not and pass it along to others. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me, trusted in me, and told me like it is.
Lessons from My Parents:
- Dad passed down advice he got from his Father which was, no matter what you do in life. Be the best and do a good job.
- Also, love what you do. No amount of money can compensate spending a third of your life in a job that you hate.
- "A Jack of all trades, a master of none, is always better than a master of one." I know my parents didn't invent this quote, but they sure lived it. I would rather know a little about everything, there is too much interesting stuff out there to stick to just one.
- When my parents were dating, my Mom wanted to be a Nurse. Her family told her she could never do it and she should just play it safe and go to school to become a secretary. My Dad told her to read Nursing Magazines. Even though she had no idea what they meant, when she went on to Nursing school she understood faster than anyone else and graduated in the top of her class. Even though my parents are divorced, my Mom will still say how grateful she is to my Dad for that advice.
- It is a wonderful thing to be a Geek, never be ashamed of it. You will have more fun than those boring people who have nothing they are passionate about.
- Schooling is really good at teaching you to think inside the box. It is just a game to get a piece of paper.
- Dad says his lack of formal schooling is probably what allows him to be as creative as he is.
- Both of my parents taught me that learning is for life and we are responsible for taking charge of that learning.
- Always read books that are challenging to you. If you didn't learn or think during it, then what was the point?
- Dad always had to have the newest technology, he bought the first Laserdisk, Betamax, Intellivision, Apple II C, Newton, Powerbook, Palm Pilot, etc. This meant I had a great teacher and a lot of awesome hand-me-downs.
- Dad once sat down and learned BASIC programming with me. To this day, that is the coolest thing in the world.
- I learned how to take things apart and see how they work.
- Mom and my Dad took me to the Library all the time so we could all check out books. I still think the Library is one of the most sacred places on Earth. Before the Internet became so widespread, we could go in and learn anything for free. I hope the Library is able to reinvent itself and continue as a hub for learning in the 21st Century.
- Read! If not for yourself, then for your kids.
- Road trips were never boring with either parent because we would have deep scientific, political, or philosophical discussions.
- Both of my parents found success in very unorthodox ways. Enjoy life's journey. Reminds me of Woody Allen's quote, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for tomorrow."
- Mom had to learn how to fend for herself at a very young age. She made sure that my brother and I learned to cook, clean, and take care of ourselves because you never knew when you would need to be on your own.
- Go camping outdoors in a tent. I went a lot when I was in the Boy Scouts and it gave us an important bonding experience as well as an appreciation for the Earth.
- Live within your means, it is so easy to spend more than you make. A lack of money will not ruin a family but certainly make it more stressed and strained.
- Divorce will be the worst day of your child's life. Rather than getting your children therapy afterwards, get some counseling to stay together. If you absolutely must divorce, don't put your kids in the middle of it. Trust me it affects your kids when you fight.
- Encourage and love your kids, there is nothing worse than the self doubt that comes when they do not have their family intact.
Lessons from School:
- I still cannot believe I stood up to the school bully. That day changed my whole perspective on what I was capable of.
- Do not get caught up in romantic relationships in Middle or High school. You may feel like an outcast for not doing it, but you will save yourself a ton of drama and you will accomplish so much more. Trust me on this one!
- People who have knowledge will always take advantage of those who lack it. I learned this when I sold math programs, games, and the original instant messaging program that I wrote for the graphing calculators to others. They got their homework done faster and I made some cash.
- I am responsible for the first ever tie at my school for Band Drum Major. This told me that exactly half of the people in this world will probably like me and the others might not. It was a very humbling lesson. Ben Franklin said,"Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none."
- I feel so bad for bullies. They must be so unhappy. If you are being bullied please know that you can eventually be tremendously happy so do not give up and please don't change who you are for others.
- Learn Aikido, I have had to defend myself from those who wished me hurt or dead twice and I am grateful for the few things I knew, everyone should know how to defend themselves.
- If you live in a city like Los Angeles or San Diego, go out into the desert away from all civilization and look up. You will finally see why our galaxy is called the Milky Way. I still don't think our technological advances were worth the loss of our sky. Of all of the things I have ever seen, our night sky is definitely the most impressive.
- There is nothing like meeting your heroes and finding out that they are just as awesome as you though they were.
- I used to wake up at 5am everyday to watch Mr. Wizard's World. One day I met Don Herbert (Mr. Wizard), and he was so gracious and willing to talk to a kid who was forever transformed by his show.
- Teller (Penn and Teller) sat and spoke with me for 3 hours about magic and performing.
- Never give up, it took me three times to become a member of the Magic Castle. Took me that long to overcome my fears and develop as a performer.
Do you have a tribute or lesson from your life that you would like to share? Leave it in the comments and thanks for contributing.