In these “lessons from my father” posts, I will share some of the most common advice my father would give his children.He said some of these things so often that they are now ingrained in our thinking and daily actions.
“Lazy People work the Hardest”
One thing I remember my father frequently commenting to us was that “Lazy people work the hardest”. It was usually in response to our completion of a task in a manner that didn’t meet his standards. He’d also mutter that if he happened to witness someone trying to take a short cut and end up having to do the whole task over again. His theory is that you should take the time and effort to do something right the first time, so you don’t have to do it over again. I see this lesson proved time and time again in my life.
He also believed in teaching us the value of working. He’d find jobs around the house and pay us to do them. One task that payed quite well was polishing his cowboy boots. He was an attorney and wore business suits to the office every day. He would wear his cowboy boots with his business suit. To this day, I’ve never seen that fashion trend repeated in the workplace (and I work at a company where professional dress/business suits are required attire). I believe he paid $5 to polish all of his boots (I’d guess he had about 10 pairs of boots) and if you skipped a pair or did a shoddy job, he would refuse payment until you corrected the issue.
Polishing his boots was prime money making opportunity in our house and once you were promoted to “boot polisher”, there may be competition with your siblings in order to get the job. After paying for shoe polishing (since I wear dress shoes every day to work), I see how this arrangement worked out well for my father.
Even today, when I attempt to take a short cut in order to save time and effort when completing a task and then find myself not satisified with the result and/or having to engage in what we IT geeks term as re-work, that phrase of “Lazy people work the hardest” comes to mind. The lesson still stands – do things right the first time and you’ll save yourself time and energy in the end.
“If you have your health, you have everything”
Another frequent bit of advice given to me from my father was the phrase “If you have your health, you have everything”. In his later years, he suffered greatly from a back injury that he incurred early one morning before sunrise on his way to go duck hunting in the late 1980’s – on my birthday. I believe that incident really taught him that if you are a healthy, mobile person, you really have your whole life ahead of you. As the years progressed his pain worsened. Even though the accident didn’t lead to his death (he died of a massive, sudden heart attack that took his life almost instantly), he struggled with the limitation of his injury and the reality of living a life in constant pain. As a young adult, I would frequently dismiss this piece of advice from him. I was too young to truly understand what he was trying to communicate to me.
As an older adult, I’ve seen people’s lives completely consumed by a terminal or chronic illness. I’ve seen the quality of life of those people slowly deteriorate. I’ve seen people lose work from their inability to perform their job because of health issues. Since my father died of a heart attack , heart disease has always been a concern of mine. He also led a stressful life and hard a hard time relaxing. In that sense, I am truly my father’s daughter. I find it extremely difficult to relax and I usually lead a stressful life – my mind is always racing with my latest “to do” list and I’m usually on the move, even on the weekends. I thought that if I could get my stress level under control and learn to relax, I’d have it all figured out.
About a year and a half ago, I was introduced to Crossfit. That led me to dietary research and experimenting with my diet. That led me to the Zone diet, where I learned about silent inflammation. Then I started hearing about ancestral eating and one name kept popping up – Robb Wolf. I started eating mainly meat, vegetables, nuts, seeeds and fruit about 16 months ago and I promptly saw some of my minor health issues drastically improve. Stubborn acne resolved itself and other issues began to self-correct. I also dropped about 30 lbs of weight I was carrying around – that I’d slowly accumulated over a period of about 10 years. I began to hear speculation from many that the way we’re eating is causing us to be sick. Luckily, I never saw any significant health issues, but I am certain they were looming off in the distance, if I were to remain eating and living the way I was. As I learned about diet, these words of wisdom from my father came to mind – “If you have your health, you have everything” and I realized that it is my utmost responsibility to do what I can to proactively protect my health. I do this by watching what I eat, focusing on quality food sources (grass fed beef, pastured chicken eggs) and staying active. If you aren’t healthy, it will affect your quality of life – sooner or later. If you want to read more about how I eat – you can read the basics on the “Paleo Diet” page.
So, stay healthy and don’t be lazy :)