To my 1-month old daughter: A few principles I hope you learn if I die before I get to teach you myself

Hi Ava, a month ago you made your arrival into the world. You’ve blessed the life of your mom and I. You’ve helped me learn that I have another part of the me I never knew about before: the capacity to love more and to do more for someone so helpless but has so much potential.

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Your mom might think this blog post is a little morbid but I don’t think it is. You just have to plan for different possibilities and my writing is one way to live forever and still be there for you. Below are a handful of things I’ve learned in my 28 years of life so far that I believe will help you be happy and successful in this life. I hope you can find at least one or two helpful tips that will provide value for you in my collection of unsolicited advice.

Be careful not to take advice from people who haven’t done what you’re trying to accomplish: As you grow up and go through out life, you will meet people who will try to tell you what to do despite lacking experience. I can’t tell you how many times someone has tried to get me to do something and have no idea what they’re talking about. If you’re not sure if the advice you’re being given is coming from a place of experience, ask that individual if he/she has done it before. Yes, there are a few exceptions to the rule but you’re better off getting advice from someone who has accomplished a great deal in the same type of goals you’re pursuing.

Read about everything that interests you but don’t feel like you need to finish a book you don’t like: Books are one of the best ways to learn. I hope you don’t let the current education system turn you off to reading and acquiring knowledge. It can be draining trying to complete book reports and analyze literature that you don’t care for. Despite the drain, make an effort to read books that do interest you. It can be on any topic like business strategy, emotional intelligence, aquascaping, or martial arts. Feel free to go deep into a specific subject matter or cast your net wide. It’s all up to you and what helps you accomplish your goals. In the event that you do start a book you don’t like, don’t finish it. You’ll waste your time and feel frustrated in the end.

Practice empathy and ask questions to gain a greater understanding: This simple tip will help you develop meaningful relationships. Always be willing to ask questions when meeting new people to gain better insight as to what makes the individual who she/he is at her/his core. Empathy takes effort but it’ll help you better relate to others and communicate more effectively.

Take care of yourself before you expend energy and resources to take care of others: Would you ever hire a car mechanic whose car is always broken? How about asking an orthodontist with crooked teeth to straighten your teeth? You can’t be in a position to help others if you’re not taking care of yourself. Invest in your health and mind. You’ll be in a better position to serve others.

Know when to keep pushing through and when to call it quits: There’s a time to grind and there’s a time to move on. Some projects and endeavors are difficult but they’re worthwhile. Other things you want to pursue may not be worth your time. Use your best judgment and ask for input from others you trust to see gain insight when you need to change your focus and redirect your energy.

Stand up for those who can’t defend themselves: This world can be cruel at times thanks to bullies. Don’t be afraid to stand up for people who may not be as strong as you are. If you see people being bullied, either remove the victim/victims or physically intervene and speak up. Bullies are insecure human beings who need a little help so don’t hate them. Sometimes they need a strong person like you to stand up and help them recognize what they’re doing

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Always rely on God for strength: Your life is going to have ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll feel alone but the truth is that you never really are. You can count on God to always be there. You can be sure that He has more in store for you than you’re aware of.

Ultimately, I hope you know that I love you and want the best for you. I know it’s unsolicited advice but I hope it works for you.

Joshua Jamiaslife