There comes a point in life when you realize if you don’t start getting your act together, it’s never going to happen.
The truth is, the older you get the harder it is to change. Habits become more entrenched and the will to change weakens.
I had this cold revelation several weeks back when I realized my lofty “legendary dad” goals were never going to happen, if I maintained my current course.
One of the main reasons?
There I said it.
How can I be a legendary dad when all I want to do when I get home from work is get my kids to bed as quickly as possible so I can “do my stuff”?
How can I be “crazy in love” with my wife when in reality I don’t really care that much about the things that are important to her?
How can I pass on “world crushing advice” when my mind is constantly abuzz with “get rich, get famous” projects and all the mental weight this carries?
Too much of my efforts and focus in life revolve around me. There’s a word this behavior…
The most base of all human emotions. After all who doesn’t, in some small way, love themselves? There’s a little narcissism in all of us I think.
A little bit of selfishness can actually be good.
It can cause you to take some time out for yourself so you can recharge your batteries whilst performing an activity or hobby you find enjoyable.
It can cause you to stand up for yourself when you feel someone else is always getting their own way. One sided relationships are a classic example of this. One partner compromises on everything to keep their partner happy but in the process ends up being treated like a doormat!
The problem is when life becomes all about us and we don’t give any consideration to others. It’s especially disturbing when the people we are giving no consideration to are our family.
Now don’t get me wrong. Most people would say I’m an honest, nice and good family man and I am, if I compare myself to the average dad
But I don’t want to be average.
My kids don’t want an average dad. They want a dad who is a super hero! Leaps tall buildings with a single bound. Beats the bad guy.
Thankfully my kids are still young enough to believe this of me. This will change as they get older but I refuse to accept the norm of dad becoming irrelevant and embarrassing. Not on my watch!
My wife doesn’t want an average husband either. She wants a rock of security and stability. Someone who treats her with respect, an equal. One who keeps the romance up and makes her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.
Being an average husband doesn’t achieve those lofty standards.
Finally I don’t want to be average for myself. I want to reach my full potential that God gave me! It’s nothing short of criminal to strive to be all that you can be.
Unfortunately at the moment, I am average. And being selfish is what is keeping me average.
So what’s a man to do when he finds out something about himself that he doesn’t like? He takes action! He doesn’t sit around moping, crying into his milk and blaming everyone around him. He takes action!
After a mental stock-take I concluded there was one major stumbling block that was causing me to be selfish and thus average: the ‘next big thing’ projects.
I’m a software developer by profession so I am always trying to think of the next “big thing”. This means I am constantly trying to keep up with the latest happening in the tech industry and the latest software development platforms or development methodologies.
I have spent so much time on this over the years and had so many different ideas that I couldn’t get off the ground it’s depressing. All of this adds up to a colossal amount of “mental weight” to carry around all the time.
I’d come home at night and have 3-5 different ideas I’m currently working on. Then I’d have to decide which one to work on but because I’m working on so many things it’s hard to decide what to do. So I’d do nothing. Then I’d be depressed because I did nothing. Then the cycle would begin again the next night.
So I fired all my projects!
I gave myself permission to drop all of these projects and completely give up on the idea of ever creating the ‘next big thing’! And boy does it feel great. It’s like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders.
I can come home at night and do whatever I want without feeling guilty! It’s amazing.
But it’s so much more than not feeling guilty:
- I can spend time with my wife/children and just enjoy our time together rather than worrying about when I will work on my projects
- I don’t have to consume inordinate amounts of information trying to keep up with the latest and greatest tech news
- I can more easily live in the now so that changes in plans don’t annoy me
- I no longer put pressure on myself to be the next Mark Zuckerberg
- I have more free time to do whatever I want whether it be to hit the gym, play my guitar (haven’t done this in a long time) or any other thing that comes to mind
- I can more easily enjoy the simple things in life
Being a legendary dad means you have to keep sight of the bigger picture. That bigger picture is your wife and kids and being selfish by only wanting to pursue your own personal dreams is not going to help one little bit.
So the big question is… are you selfish, and if so, what are you going to do about it?