The other day, I posted about “Always tell the truth” and other lies my parents told me. These were lessons that turned out to be more complicated than they seemed. Today, I thought I’d focus on the things I learned that have remained true through adulthood:
Life’s not fair.
Some people exist just to make your life miserable.
Not only that, but I’ve discovered that I am that person to certain other people.
Never trust someone who won’t look you in the eye.
Don’t build a jack story.
You don’t know what a jack story is? It goes like this: A guy gets a flat tire on a country road. He’s got an extra tire, but no jack. He starts walking to the nearest farmhouse and along the way, his frustration about his situation is growing. “I hope they have a jack” becomes “They better have an effing jack!” and then “Wouldn’t that be so perfect, they’ll probably have a jack and not let me use it!” Along he walks, grousing all the way, getting madder and madder. “I bet those nasty S.O.B.’s are going to make me beg!” he imagines. He gets to the farm, a man answers, and Mr. Flat Tire blurts out at him, “You can keep your damn jack!” before stomping off back to his car, empty handed.
Everyone’s got something.
Some peoples’ issues are more visible than others, but everyone, it turns out, is dealing with something.
Don’t worry about dying.
No need to waste your next breath waiting for the last one. When it’s your time, it’ll be your time. In the meantime, live.
You can stay up all night thinking about the “what ifs,” or you can get a good night’s sleep and be ready for tomorrow.
The what ifs’ll still be there in the morning. And since they can’t hurt you until then, you may as well sleep.
Eat your vegetables, you’ll grow big tits.
This wasn’t advice I got, this was advice my sisters got. Worked, too, although having four kids seems to have undone some most all of that for one of them.
Know your house and how to fix it.
It’s very rewarding to know that I can build stuff. To this day, I’ll call my dad over before doing home improvement projects. It’s a great bonding experience, I frequently learn something new, and we have the same, predictable argument every single time, which is funny.
Make your questions count.
It’s amazing what you can learn if you ask your questions the right way.
Know your car.
There’s no excuse not to know if your car will fit in whatever space you hope to drive through.
Find things to like about your kids.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to meet them on terms they understand.
You’ll get more from the world with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.
Even the most optimistic will agree with this one.
When your enemy suffers, don’t celebrate. You don’t have to help, but don’t celebrate.
Fortunes change. This strategy will keep you safe when they change against you.
Don’t you know who you are?!
Don’t go looking for reasons to need someone else’s permission.
Sometimes, it’s just your turn.
But that doesn’t mean you have to like it.
Be a friend.
Don’t abandon good people when they do a bad thing. Everyone goofs.
No good deed goes unpunished.
The reason you should do what’s right when no one’s looking is because that’s probably the only time when it won’t bite you in the ass.
I’m sure I missed something. This can’t be all they told me in the eighteen years I lived at home.
Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing. Ajax amplifies brands by aligning employees' online messaging.