Over the years, I have quite naturally tried to give help and advice to my children, offering them the benefit of the experience of an older head, just like so many parents have done before me. It is something that my own father would do, on occasion, and I think I had to get to my mid-twenties before I was really ready to listen to any of his advice. Exactly the same is true, of course, of my relationship with my own son.
Personally, I think you have to get into your mid-twenties before you even begin to know your own mind. After that, perhaps you are ready to listen to your parents. Sadly, when they are no longer around, you will come to wish you could speak with them and ask them for their advice, fully understanding that they always had your best interests at heart all along.
As a parent, you can try very hard to communicate what you think is the best advice. You can tell your kids that it doesn’t really matter what they choose to do. If they want to flunk school, it’s ok with you – the world needs garbage collectors (no disrespect intended at all) and it’s perfectly ok if that’s what they should choose to do. All they need to understand is that life is about making choices and that there are always consequences attached to those choices.
If you choose to not pay attention or skip lessons or flunk your exams, that’s fine – really, it’s fine. It’s your life and those are your choices, but there will be consequences attached to those choices that you will have to accept. If you later can’t get the house you want or the car you want or the holidays you want, then these are some of the consequences of the choices you made. If you are happy with those consequences, then perhaps you made the right choices.
That is the kind of stuff I tried to pass on to my kids, and I genuinely was not trying to motivate them to knuckle-down at school. I just wanted them to understand how life works so they would be able to make informed choices. But, in the transmission, the message became distorted so that what was received was not what was intended. My son heard a different message entirely. He thought I was telling him to focus of getting a proper career. It’s quite amazing really because nothing could be further from the truth.
If I were starting out in life – my working life, that is – I would certainly not get a job or focus on getting a career; I would simply start an internet business right away. Even with the hurdle of learning how to construct it and then how to operate and improve it, the time would be far more wisely invested this way. It has taken me just six years to get to where I am at present, where my online business is a very healthy second income (five figures); and I do not believe it will take me a further five years to achieve what was my original goal – a six figure income. How could you possibly do that in a day job within that time?
The internet is the opportunity of the millennium and I am constantly amazed that so many people, who seem to possess all the right skills, do not seem to realise what a tremendous opportunity it represents. It does not require that you should come up with a big idea as so many people seem to think. You can actually make money on the internet with almost any idea provided you posses that one magic ingredient we discussed previously (see The Secret Ingredient).
Life is about making choices. The choices you are making right now will determine your future so make sure you are making the right choices. You are in charge, so you get to choose to do exactly what you want. You can sit in front of that television if you choose to do so, you can get yourself educated if you wish or you can spend your time building a career if you choose. But there are consequences attached to each of those choices.
What’s wrong with sitting in front of TV? Nothing. Remember, the world needs people who want do that. What’s wrong with getting educated? Nothing. The world needs well-qualified people for all kinds of jobs it has on offer. What’s wrong with building a career? Nothing. The world needs people in those professions. But remember that even if you become the very best at whatever career you choose to follow, you will only ever earn the market rate for your job. There is nothing wrong with that. It is however a consequence of your choice that you will never become wealthy if you pursue a career. If you can live with that, then those choices are just fine.
The problem with pursuing a job is that you are simply trading your time for money. You are not investing your time building your future as you would be if you were in business. The internet is the opportunity of the millennium because business ventures on the web are very low cost and low risk. Sure, you will need to learn a lot and you will need to stay focussed and determined, but that is where the opportunity is right now.
We never stop making choices. That is life. What we need to learn to do is make the right choices in the present in order to live the life we want to live in the future. As Zig Ziglar used to say, “when you do the things you ought to do, when you ought to do them, the day will come when you will be able to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them”.