Ever since my daughter was able to make decisions, I’ve been consciously grooming her for a full life. A life of success, happiness and wealth. I’m a strong believer that, it’s the choices we make every day that will determine our outcomes in life, and setting her up for making great choices is extremely important.
I wanted to share with you today, the 10 rules I’ve been working to reinforce in her as she grows up.
Your network is your net worth
You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Hang out with 5 broke and negative people; I promise you that you will be the 6th. To live life fully, you must stand guard at that gate of your garden (your mind and soul) and be aware of what you do with your time, and who you spend it with. The sooner kids understand this, the better off they will be. In my daughters Senior Kindergarten year, there was a mean girl in her class that would go through considerable effort to exclude my daughter from activities with two other kids she was friends with. We talked about the behaviour of the mean kid, how she treated others, and whether or not she was the kind of kid my daughter wanted to be around. This is a slow lesson for a 6 year old to learn, but beginning early is important. Kids spend nearly as much time with their school peer groups as their parents and that plays a huge role in our children’s development. Help them choose their peers wisely.
Winners never quit and quitters never win
When my daughter was 4 I figured it was time for her to learn how to buckle her own seatbelt in her booster seat. She couldn’t do it at first, and was extremely frustrated. She gave up quickly and wanted to get out of the car. I taught her that winners never quit, and quitters never win. I encouraged her to keep trying to buckle the belt until she got it right, so she sat in the car repeating the verse over and over (“winners never quit, quitters never win”) fighting to get herself buckled in, when she finally got it, she was incredible proud and learned a valuable lesson. To be successful in life, you’ve got to learn to persist through adversity.
Water off a ducks back
My daughter’s feelings get hurt sometimes when someone says something she perceives to be mean. I taught her a lesson I learned from my dad about ducks. He’s British, so naturally it came from a damp climate. He told me about how rainstorms don’t bother ducks and used to say “like water off a ducks back son”. When she came crying to me recently about something someone said, I explained this concept, and she “got it”. I was surprised a few days later when I had a major loss in my life, I was hurt, and sometimes a puddle of tears, but my daughter consoled me. When she had her arms around me, I asked her what she would do about being hurt. She said with an amazing smile “be like a duck daddy, let the water roll off”. To be successful in life, you’ve got to learn how to shake off rejection, and loss.
My parents were strict with me, especially my dad; he was a Royal Air Force Sargent for many years and a hard ass. My dad made sure me and my brothers understood hard work. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be woken up at sunrise on a Saturday because he wanted help in the garden. It’s because of this I’ve looked for opportunities to have my daughter get used to hard work. At the age of 3 she would help shovel snow with her little pink shovel, at the age of 4 I taught her how to load and unload the washer and dryer and put away any clothes she could put in drawers and as soon as she could reach the cutlery drawer, I had her putting away the spoons and forks from the dishwasher. Be the hardest worker in the room, nothing with any value in life will come easy, you’ve got to work your ass off for it.
Teach the value of money & delayed gratification
My daughter loves playing in the games at the Cineplex movie theatre. If I’m being honest here, she would collect points to trade in for really cheap and lame trinkets. One day she pointed to a lava lamp that needed 2,000 points and said she wanted that. I explained how she would need to save up the points, and focus on playing the games that returned the highest payout. It took several visits to get there, but through this exercise she learned the concept of delayed gratification, maximizing effort expended and saving. To be successful in life you’ve got to understand the value of a monetary system, and delay gratification.
Always do your best
No matter what you are doing, always do your best. If you are going to perform any task, do it to completion, and always do it well. Whenever she tries to do something half ass because it’s tedious or boring, I always ask her if she could have done it better, and teach her to go at it again and complete the task well. She isn’t pleased about it, but you’ve got to avoid mediocrity to win in life and repeating a task that should have been done right the first time, is a valuable lesson.
There is tons of mindless garbage that can fill our children’s minds and add no value to their ability to think, and problem solve. I know girls are bombarded with messages of fairy tales, rescue, princes and magic happily ever afters. The real world is different, very different. Connect four is a great game for kids 4+ to learn. It teaches strategy, problem solving and deeper thinking. I didn’t go easy on her either, I would destroy her on purpose so she would learn to adapt, and be better the next round. She would try to quit, cry and sometimes cheat. After each loss I would explain where she went wrong. After about 500 rounds of the game, she can beat me about 1/3 of the time now. The next game she’ll learn will be chess.
Follow your passion
Becoming a happy in life means doing what you love, otherwise you could end up building a life around something you hate. Always follow your passion and do what you love to do. You’ve got to expose kids to as many experiences as possible, and I do this as often as possible. Once every 2 weeks I have a one on one date with my daughter, with all electronics off, and I let her choose activities for about 6 hours. It’s amazing to see the things she picks sometimes. Always get down on the floor with your kids and help them explore their passions. Don’t let your children fall into the trap of working jobs they hate to buy things with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t like.
Break the rules, but not the law
Growth and learning comes from doing things that break into new ground. Many of the most innovative products and services we use today came out of thin air. I met an Angel Investor once that passed on “Air B N B” because he thought it would never work. It’s now considered the largest hotel chain in the world, and they own or maintain zero properties. People told me the concept of my company, Total Debt Freedom, would never work, but it was profitable from day one, and within 3 years everyone and their mother started to copy my business model in Canada. To date we’ve saved thousands of Canadians over $36 Million dollars. Breaking the rules pays off. I constantly ask my daughter to question rules and ask her if there is a better way to do something, but only doing so without breaking the law. Some of the conversations that come out of this are absolutely beautiful.
Don’t lose, learn
Life is filled with loss, failure, heartbreak and disappointment. Whenever my daughter feels like she failed at something I always ask her to find the lesson in that moment, and what she could have done better. There is a lesson in every loss. Every single one has a silver lining. Talk about it with your children; ask them to think about opportunities and the lesson in the hurt.
That’s my list, most importantly, love your children, hold them close and tell them daily how important they are, and that they can live a limitless life. if you see any value in this blog, please be kind and share it generously. Sharing is caring.
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