The 7 Best Pieces of Advice My Dad Has Given Me
Where to begin…
A single blog post does not suffice in expressing the countless nuggets of wisdom my Dad has shared with me throughout the years. In truth, condensing this post to seven points was a challenge in and of itself.
Most of this list was derived from conversations, corrective lessons, and principles that were instilled in me even before I grasped the depth and gravity of their meaning.
Distilled, these pieces of advice revolve around one thing – success. This comes as no surprise, as my Dad – above all else – has always wanted to see his children succeed. I can truly say that the successes I have achieved in my life are in large part because I took his advice to heart, and applied what he asked me to.
I pray these 7 be as beneficial for you, as they have been for me.
One last note. My Dad is 100% Cuban, so some of these points were communicated to me in Spanish. I’ll provide a “loose” translation so the meaning still gets across.
1.) “Con hablando se resuelve todo”
Loosely translated: “things get resolved when you talk them out”
I’ve mentioned this piece of advice in a prior post about marriage. But rest assured, whether married or not, the principal behind this point is completely universal.
People have a hard time communicating. Correction – people have a hard time “verbally” communicating. We’re more inclined to text, email, or say nothing at all. God forbid we have to talk about something verbally. The problem is, deep rooted issues don’t get resolved over text. In fact, messages are more likely to be misconstrued when communicated non-verbally.
My Dad, however, will not waste his time with non-verbal exchanges. He’s the kind of guy that wants to talk about something, handle it – and move on. So growing up, whenever he found me stressing over something pertaining to another person, he would tell me: “Ricky, talk to them, either make a call, or go in person – but talk to them, because ‘con hablando se resuelve todo‘ (things get resolved when you talk them out).”
I can’t tell you how many times this principal has helped me avoid conflict. Whether in the context of marriage, relationships, or business – nothing beats talking things out.
2.) In everything you do – do it with excellence
Whoo boy, growing up this one used to tick me off! lol
It didn’t matter if you were mowing the grass. It didn’t matter if you were folding laundry. Truth is, it didn’t matter how menial you thought what you were doing was. For my Dad, if you were doing it – you better be doing it with excellence.
As a child, it always annoyed the heck out of me whenever he would tell me this. As an adult, I’ve come to realize this was simply an expression of the standard he demanded of himself.
The wisdom behind this principal is three-fold.
First, Dad demanded a standard. This is key considering it’s very easy to breeze through life, and never decide upon ANY standard for how you will conduct yourself.
Secondly, if you’re going to set a standard for yourself – why not excellent? Why settle for anything less?
Thirdly, upholding a standard of excellence can only become habit if applied to all that we do. Thus, in everything you do – do it with excellence.
3.) “El dia de mañana”
Loosely translated: “someday in the future“
Ever since I was young, Dad always advised me to keep one thing on the forefront of my mind: the future. He’s always told me that when making decisions of any kind, the future is always to be a factor.
Whether making a personal, relational, financial, or professional move; I was advised to consider how it may effect my future aspirations, and whether the move will potentially contribute adversely to anything I want to accomplish.
To this day, I find myself making decisions strictly on the premise that, “el dia de mañana” (someday in the future), it’ll serve to help me meet a goal, or at least position me in a place that best suits my professional, and familial needs.
4.) Don’t Limit Yourself
I’ve always battled inferiority complexes. As a child I questioned whether I was as smart as my classmates, or athletic as my friends. While I’ve learned how to wrangle these thoughts better, my propensity to create barriers for myself (due to these complexes) still occasionally rears its ugly head. It’s in these moments where I think of a piece of advice that Dad has always given me: don’t limit yourself.
We can literally talk ourselves into mediocre existences. We set up barriers for ourselves based on false notions, and faulty evidence. We limit ourselves, and in doing so, live mundane lives, never putting ourselves out there to pursue what we truly want.
As a child, Dad always built me up. He made me believe that if I truly wanted to, I could accomplish anything I set out to do. He wouldn’t scoff at my insecurities, or make me feel bad for having them, he would just look me in the eye and tell me with all of the certainty in the world, “don’t limit yourself, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to“.
So If you’re familiar with propping up barriers for yourself (like I am), look yourself in the mirror, daily, and repeat these three simple words: don’t limit yourself.
5.) Always think management
Since getting my first job at Dairy Queen at 15 years old, Dad has instilled in me a mentality that has permeated my approach to every job since: always think management.
Settling is not in Dad’s vocabulary. For him, you get your foot in the door at a job – but then you think management. Mixed with his advice on excellence, and insistence to not limit yourself, thinking management at work was the only acceptable approach.
I have been fortunate enough to obtain leadership positions, and promotions, in large part because my gaze was always upwards. I attribute this to one thing only, Dad constantly telling me: always think management.
6.) Start with Prayer
Whenever life gets hectic, when do you pray? Is it from the jump, or as a last resort? For me, prayer has sometimes been shoved in the backseat, whereas Dad – it’s always come first.
It’s really easy to view prayer as the last line of defense when all other options have been exhausted. We often resort to prayer when our back is up against the wall, and we have no where else to turn.
Dad, on the other hand, has always instructed that before anything – before reaching out to family and friends, before seeking counsel from anyone – start with prayer.
Going to God first in prayer is an outward expression of a deep trust in Him. It shows that while worldly wisdom may be helpful, what is truly needed is God’s intervention. Also, deciding to start with prayer draws a line of consistency between what we say we believe – and what our actions demonstrate.
In other words, it may sound pretty to say that we trust God, and believe His word; It’s another thing entirely to live that out by going to Him first when life gets rocky.
Finally, prayer has an incredible way of bringing us peace in times of turmoil. Consider Philippians 4:6-7 – a powerful verse, and the source from which Dad derived his advice on prayer:
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Does life seem to be unravelling? Start with prayer. Did something unexpected, and unwelcome just occur in your life? Start with prayer. Is life treating you well, are you successful and fulfilled? Great! Start with prayer.
7.) Worrying won’t accomplish anything
Last but definitely not least!
I love my Mom to death. She is unbelievably sweet, supportive, and strong. Besides Bri, she is one of my greatest cheerleaders, always encouraging me to keep striving for greater.
Funny thing, my Dad and I look A LOT alike. We also share a great number of character traits. But overall, my personality is undoubtedly my Mom’s.
One of the personality traits that her and I share is a tendency to worry. Mind you, we worry not out of weakness, but out of a strong desire to see nothing but the best for our family and those we love.
Dad has always been the rock of the family, so in time’s where either my Mom or I have worried greatly, he’s always told us the same thing – “worrying won’t accomplish anything“.
I have to admit, those words are the last ones I want to hear whenever I’m anxious about something. Quite frankly, I’d rather someone worry with me. Fortunately, Dad won’t oblige. In the moment I hate it, but in retrospect I love him for it.
Realistically speaking though, when has worrying ever created solutions? It hasn’t! Worrying serves no purpose. It’s a torturous emotion that contributes nothing of worth. It robs us of our peace, sleep, and sanity. So why entertain it?
I understand this is a lot easier said than done; but the next time you find yourself worrying, ask yourself: have you started with prayer? Fantastic! Now stop worrying, because it won’t accomplish anything.
There you have it!
The 7 best pieces of advice my Dad has given me. I must add that Dad continues to drop wisdom. He’s a machine of man that’s non-stop. While this list of 7 are ones that have resonated with me greatly in the past 26 years, Lord knows what the future holds. I don’t doubt that, el dia de mañana, some other piece of wisdom may carry a greater level of meaning than ever before.
It brings me great joy to share wisdom that has been monumental in my life. I believe we do humanity a great disservice when we withhold wisdom that has proven to be effective. So I share these 7 with you with the hope that they be as instrumental to you, as they have been for me.
I love you more than I can express in words. Thank you for your wisdom, your faith in me, your love for the Lord, and your profound desire to see people achieve all that they can in life.
Happy Father’s Day Pa.