advice, that is. I figure that’s about the value of the advice I’ve received from people over my lifetime. I’m not just talking about money, jobs, or even finance. My waife and I were having this conversation earlier in the week, and I honestly believe that the people who have influenced me to become who I am today have had such an impact over so many aspects of my life that its about time I pointed them out.
Mom and Dad– Goes without saying. They were so important in the formative years. I remember that we had a set of encyclopedias (anyone still remember those?), and from a very young age, my mom used to make me put them in order. She would move them while cleaning, and have me put them back. This taught me letters at a very early age, and this jump-started my love for reading. My dad taught me many lessons about doing one’s best to be the best. At the time, I thought he was just bragging about how good he was at his job, but when we talk today, he was using my competitive nature to inspire me to to better.
My Eighth Grade English Teacher– She was a miserable, bitter, old woman. She was the first teacher that ever taught me that just knowing the right answer wasn’t enough. She almost failed me because I never wanted to go through the process, instead skipping ahead to the end result. This is a lesson that I’ve had to learn several times.
My High School Physics Teacher– Okay, so some of the things he did weren’t “technically legal”, but he taught me to look for answers no matter how crazy they seemed. He also taught me that it was okay to try and figure out the unfigurable (is that even a word??), as long as I kept trying to expand my horizons.
My High School Drama Teacher– When I wasn’t such a great kid, she and my Physics teacher believed in me. She fought against me being screwed over by a really over-eager pincipal. It cost her her job, and I never got to thank her.
The CEO of that one credit union I worked at– He was a good guy. He showed me ways of looking at work that really stuck with me. I eventually got fired from the place, but he gave me the advice to take the firing like a gentleman, learn from my mistakes, and never repeat them.
The CEO of that other credit union I worked at– He never gave advice that was particularly useful, but he was one of those rare characters who actually believed whole-heartedly everything he said. He used to make it a point to say good morning to me every day, and would go out of his way so we would interact. I left his company because the people under him were incompetent and lacked honor. Too bad they couldn’t learn from his example.
My wife– More than advice (which she also gives), she gave me inspiration to just get off my ass and do it. Whatever it was. She and I differ on a lot of things, but we both share the dedication to do something right.
I’m sure there are a lot more people that have influenced me, but these people shaped me. This brings me to the present. When I talk to young people, I try to think that I might be one of those people who will someday influence them. It is of the utmost importance that I influence people in a positive manner. If I do my job, then there will be a new generation that will be influenced to also do the right thing. I think we got away from that for years as a society. Or maybe we just don’t know how to get from the right idea to the right action. If there is one piece of advice that I can give you that will be worth “$1,000,000.00”, I would say to make sure that whatever you do in life, make sure you do good, and to make sure that you can influence one person in your life to also do good. As the good action spreads, you will see that life is so much more fulfilling than money could ever make it.