Saturday, January 23, 2010

...I Like to Keep it Simple...

As kids, our parents gave us three basic principles to live by when we were growing up:

  1. Don't hate.
  2. Don't be lazy.
  3. Don't be an idiot.
And it's that simple. Easy to remember, easy to follow, and can be liberally applied as necessary to almost any situation and in any combination.


Don’t hate.

This is pretty cut and dry. You could never say you “hated” something, or more importantly, that you hated someone. You could “strongly dislike” stuff all you want, but to “hate” something was just wrong. And stupid, since hatred involves a great deal of investment on your part and why would you put time and energy into something you claim to detest so greatly? No, hating just makes you look bad.

Now, as I got older, my father would come to explain the idea of “healthy hatred” to me, which basically meant hatred was okay if it steered you away from something bad and propelled you toward something good. Healthy hatred is the reason why you work hard to live in a nice house and not be in a neighborhood you’d rather not be in, or why you don’t go to the Reptile House at the zoo if you hate snakes. “Healthy hatred” keeps you safe, but any other kind of hatred is completely useless.

Don’t be lazy.

Lazy shouldn’t be confused with being genuinely tired or a deserved period of relaxation. If you worked hard and you’re tired, get some sleep and regenerate for the next day. If you worked hard and it’s the weekend or your vacation, enjoy it. But (as usual) my father had a saying, “There better not be anything you want that you don’t have if the reason you don’t have it is because you didn’t go after it.”

Yeah, that’s deep right? But it’s always been a motivator for me. Break it down if you must:

There better not be anything you want
that you don’t have
If the reason you don’t have it
Is because you didn’t go after it.

Don’t be an idiot.

Here, my dad would say, “Angel, there’s no such thing as ‘I don’t know.’ What you really mean is, ‘I haven’t discovered that yet.’” And though my father was a virtual well of wisdom, he and my mother never gave us the answers to anything.  We were expected to find our own solutions when we needed them.

Want to know how to spell a word? Look it up. Want to know how to make or do something? Find and read the instructions. Not sure if you should go left or right? Pick one and come back around later if you have to but don’t just sit , and make an effort to pick the educated guess. And this was all before easy access to the internet like just about everyone has today. As far as I’m concerned there’s never a reason to be ignorant. There’s too much information out there and too many ways to get to that information to just simply not have your hands on it. If you can read, you have the power. There’s just no excuse to not know, even if it’s “before [your] time” which seems to be the fun thing to say these days.

What does that mean anyway when people say that? “[X] was before my time.” So? What's your point? That you don’t know, won’t show or don’t care about anything that’s not sitting right in front of your face in this exact moment?

Please stop saying that, it makes you seem like a lazy idiot. And I hate that.

Songs stuck in my head right now:

Dirty Money  - "Angels" (Can't wait for this CD!)


and
Pharcyde - "Runnin" (Classic!)

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