August 10, 2015
Passion, effort, fear, desire, work, goals, happiness are a few of the words that epitomize our thoughts about our children. I have been passionately talking to my children about these topics over the last two years while they are getting into their preteen age.
Over the past few months, I have been listening to podcasts on various topics, but primarily regarding people who have achieved excellence and what they have done to get there.
Here are a few statements that have resonated with me, even if they are cliche. I have been sharing them with my family and I hope that you will as well.
1) You only have one shot at this life. Don't fear. Peter Diamandis.
Fear is paralyzing. Rising above fear is key.
2) What is your capacity to add value, to give to others, to make their life and your life better? This is the essence of happiness. Tony Robbins.
Giving is the greatest gift that you have.
3) Divorce the story of limitation and marry the story of the truth. Everything changes then. Tony Robbins.
It is never too late to divorce your limitations.
4) Be thoughtful. That is the key to any persons answer regardless of whether they get it wrong. Shape people by believing in them. They don't want to let someone down when you put faith in them. Stanley McKrystal.
5) Dream big, believe big and create big things.
It has become more clear to me that we have to guide our children in life through appropriately timed education that hits on all of these major points. After reading Atlas Shrugged a few years back, I was inspired by the never quit attitude of the protagonists in the face of supreme governmental stupidity. They wanted to be great and accepted nothing less while they surmounted hurdles left and right. This is akin to the Elon Musks of the world today looking past linear changes in automotive technology and going for exponential changes. If the battery is the rate limiting step in electric vehicles, then produce a better one. Slowly Improving the combustion engine is a linear move, changing to electric is much greater.
Atlas Shrugged has been criticized as a self centered manifesto. I find that the essence of effort and desire coupled with passion are the keys to the book. Using these ideals for the betterment of mankind is brilliant.
How does this translate into a child's work or desire?
How do you impart this knowledge to a child? I find that by telling stories of greatness while referencing these quotes is helpful.
I have been telling my son about Peter Diamandis' current Global Learning Xprize as a prime example. Here we see brilliant people realizing that governments are failing us from an education perspective during the grade school years. Many people around the world are undereducated causing much unrest and violence. Waiting for a government to move the education train is slow and laborious. Why not incentivize the private entrepreneurs of the world to tackle these projects.
This is exactly what is happening. There is a $15,000,000 prize for the group from around the world to develop open source and scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within 18 months. The key here is open source, i.e. anyone can use for free!!!
These are the beliefs that I want for my children. Think exponentially. Think big. Trust effort and not only innate ability.
Thinking about passion is key. I was fortunate enough to find my passion in pediatric medicine. Doing my job is fun. (despite governmental stupidity) My children know that my wife and I want them to embrace and pursue their passion with personality attributes like the great thinkers and doers of our time.
We are patiently waiting for the spark that will ignite their fires of learning, doing and being. We truly hope that we give them the best chance to be great. As always they have to choose to BE.
Watching greatness unfold is joy,
Check out the Tim Ferriss Show on iTunes. Great podcasts.