Ask many children / teenagers (especially youth) and they will tell you how they detest advice. Repeat the same exercise when they reach past 50 years of age and they will reverse their statement!
Jim Rogers has some advice for his son through his book “A Gift to my Children”. And one special passage he has written stuck me hard. I quote it verbatim:
“While I was driving around the word with your mother, my father’s cancer deteriorated and he eventually passed away. But I did not stop our journey to return to my father’s side. That might sound selfish or coldhearted. And so I want you to know why I made this choice. For me to go on a round-the-world trip was my father’s dream as well as mine. He insisted that I not cut the trip short for his sake. When his condition worsened, it was important to me to tell him how proud of him I was and how much I loved him. I phoned dad frequently and wrote him numerous letters. But I did not return to the United states. I still cry about it when I remember those days and his wishes.
I want you to fulfill your dreams. That is my dream too. As your father, I wish for you a lifetime of happiness and fulfillment. I want you to pursue, without pause, whatever it is that stirs your passion. Keep working toward your dream, not someone else’s and not mine, either. A lot of people try to live for others-their children, their spouses, their parents, their friends-and in doing so twist themselves into knots attempting to meet their often outsized and/or unrealistic expectations. That leaves little space for personal growth and progress, and creates resentment for lost opportunities.”
What a wonderful advice to Entrepreneurs and all those driven by a dream but torn by the self-imposed chains of expectation! How often have we stood at the cross roads – guilt ridden, looking back with remorse at the balance between expectation, reality and aspiration. The above advice is probably the most difficult to practice – but then can there be any other way for someone who is consumed by a dream?
Reading “A Gift to my children” made me feel nostalgic about some of my conversations with my dad during my early years. Of late our (me & dad) periodicity of conversations / discussions have come down, but intensity and depth have increased. I feel today I need to increase the periodicity too! Past experience when superimposed on current challenges has immense take-a-ways!
The aspects covered in Roger’s book can be split into 3 buckets namely: advice on investing, advice on living, and advice on growing. Advice on living is similar to what most other parents wish for their children with some additional nuggets from Roger’s additional exposure. Advice on investing had some cool stuff, especially for long term investors. Advice on growing that too the professional side of it, was in my purview the real value.
Some of these actually triggered my thinking and here are some of the thoughts that I have been able to derive for self:
- Learn the art of recognizing trends
- Read extensively especially history, philosophy & economics
- Learn languages especially Mandarin
- When you have nothing to do, dust the shelves
- When everyone is thinking the same thing, someone is not thinking – Patton
- Future is going to be driven by the BRIC nations
- Learn to be a global or world citizen
- Truth is usually the first casualty of war, so stay away from war / enmity
- Train yourself to think both ways: induction (by observation) & deduction (by logic)
- Accept mistakes gracefully for only this can take you higher
- Re-read, understand and apply the basic theory of demand-supply – No one defied this and survived!
- Acknowledge that women are more active in society Understand and learn to work along with them
He also offers some futuristic guesses that only time can validate:
- 21st century is that of China; don’t ignore!
- In 100 years there will be more than 300 -400 soveriegn nations in the world!
I am sure some of you are wondering if this is a book review. I am not sure if this can be classified as one as I have not touched many of the aspects that one would touch in a book review, and definitely that was not the intent either when I sat down to write these thoughts.
Reading this book had an impact on me as an Entrepreneur – psychologically and business wise. It got me thinking, got me curious and as always I am here sharing it with you!!