rob's blog

It's not what you do that matters or even how, but why

Son, I don't really care what you do in life or how you go about doing it so long as I can understand and sympathise with the reasons why you are doing it.

You can't predict what will happen to you, what opportunities will come your way, what will catch your interest. These days you can't predict what the world will look like. So there is no point in planning what you will do.

Likewise you can only have loose plans on how you will get anywhere, because life will undoubtedly mess them up. The military say "no plan survives the first encounter with the enemy".

Calm mind

cool bike

Son, your greatest asset is a calm mind. We've been talking about meditation. Time you started to learn it. You have a high-horsepower mind like your Dad, and it will rule you and drive you to distraction unless you master it young.

Have money to make money to spend money

snowSon, wealth is not about what you spend or what you earn. It is about what money you have. Most of those people you see spending a lot are spending someone else's money. or they are spending all of theirs. In either case they depend on earning it faster than they spend it. So they will always be working hard for nothing, and one day they won't be able to earn fast enough any more.

Money matters

Kid of the week There are two things that really matter, Jack: love and money. Which is more important? your arm or your leg? Both are. In the same way don't let people tell you love is all that matters or money isn't important.

The world isn't fair

workbenchSon, when you were young you always used the word fair to mean "what I want", as in "That's not fair". As you grow up you are beginning to understand what it really means about equitable distribution of benefit. After that you have one more thing to learn: the world isn't fair.

Everybody is pretending - it is not just you - nobody is as cool as they seem

jack on chainSon, some days you will feel like you are a sham, a fake. You will feel that if people knew the real you they would be shocked, or they would really like you or whatever... Jack, everybody is pretending. Or put another way they are presenting masks to the world. Everybody constructs this persona they want the exterior world to see. And within that more masks for those they let get close.

Beware women in black

This will upset many people I'm sure, but son beware people who dress all in black. Especially don't enter into relationships with women who wear all black.

You can't live your life to the beat

steamDon't do it, son. Don't make your life run to a boom-shikka-boom soundtrack. Be part of the world. Engage the world. Live the world.

Love yourself

Learn to respect yourself, love yourself, be comfortable with the person you are. Only then can you feel peace.

On happiness

I bet you don't remember, Jack, what we talked about back in 2007 about happiness: you can never be happy all the time because the mind measures happiness relative to how things were before, especially not so long before. If things are getting better you feel happy. if things stay the same for a while, no matter how good they are, you eventually start to feel less happy.

Teenage boys should hear three things regularly

For the first seven years of life, a parent teaches a child everything they can. In the second seven years the child starts to listen more to peers and occasionally teachers. In the third seven years, it has to be very simple to get a boy to pay any attention at all: three things.

So Jack, in the event I'm not here to tell you these things, pretend I am. Pretend I walk with you through your days saying:

Every good boy deserves men

Somewhere around teenage, almost all boys switch from "My Dad can beat your Dad" to "My Dad is an idiot" (that is, if their father is still around at that point). Disillusioned when they discover he is not in fact superhuman, they reject their father, and especially his advice. (Actually I know a certain eight-year-old boy who doesn't give much credence to his father's advice already).