Advice From My Parents: 8 Principles To Live By

My parents have been my first influencers in life and I’ve always trusted their advice because I knew they wanted the very best for me. I was in my late teens when my Dad passed away, but the principles he and my Mom have taught me are my guiding compass to this day because they are not only timeless, but also valuable to everyone who wants to be successful in business and life.

Below is a summary of their best 8 principles to live by:

1. Your reputation is your brand. Long before the rise of social media, my parents believed that the way you present yourself to the world speaks volumes about who you are. Having good manners, presenting yourself appropriately, and showing an exemplary attitude can play an important part in how people perceive you. As a result, my parents have done their best to embody these qualities and pass them on to me, through example. Their motto: Act in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it. This is especially important today in the social media era, when more often than not, your online reputation precedes you. This means that you have to be proactive and diligent about managing it by making sure that your online image accurately reflects how you want to be perceived. Hint: Having a social media profile you wouldn’t be ashamed to show your parents, employer, or business associates is the first step in controlling your online reputation.

2. Commit yourself to permanent learning. My Dad was – and my Mom still is – an avid reader and life-long learner. I clearly remember our bookshelves filled with books on various topics: from the world’s greatest classic novels to encyclopedias to medicine, history, geography and psychology, among many others. And although I’ve always been naturally curious, I think my parents’ passion for learning has influenced me significantly along the way – so much so that I’ve committed myself to permanent learning and personal development, because I’ve come to understand that the most expensive thing in this world is ignorance.

3. Trust your instinct. Three doctors have told my Mom that she couldn’t have children due to a medical condition suffered in her youth, but she refused to believe their verdict because her instinct told her otherwise. Thus, she decided to seek natural remedies instead, at a Romanian balneotherapy resort, unique in Europe for its healing benefits. The treatment has proven to be successful and shortly after, she got pregnant. When people say that something is impossible, what they’re actually saying is that they’re not aware of how it can be done – it’s an egotistical statement based on their own knowledge and views without taking into consideration other possibilities outside of their expertise. The lesson:  trusting my instinct has proven to be the right path to follow in my life, as well, regardless of what other people thought was possible for me.

4. Nonverbal communication is the key to understanding others. My Dad was widely known and admired for his composed demeanor, well groomed physical appearance, reliability, and trustworthiness. Although being an officer of high military rank has played an important role in shaping his behaviour, he’s also earned an excellent reputation and great respect for his ability to relate to others. He advised me to always pay close attention to people’s actions and nonverbal communication, regardless of their words, because they reveal their true intentions. His advice helps me to this day recognize which people are to be trusted and which ones to be kept at an arm’s length.

5. Develop the courage to face your fears. As a military air traffic controller, to say that my Mom’s job was tough would be underrated. She used to work 12 hour-day/night shifts in less than favorable conditions. Receiving compensation for radiation exposure to radars, among other ‘perks’ associated to her job’s hazards might give you a clue about the type of work she had to perform. Despite that, she loved her job and was considered to be the best in her team. When it was time to solve a major problem that was disregarded by her superiors, she requested to meet directly with the General of the Air Forces. It took a lot of courage on her part to do that – so much so that the General himself was surprised by her boldness and, surely enough, has set the wheels in motion. Consequently, my Mom’s example has inspired me along the way to go out of my comfort zone and reach out to people of great stature – and more often than not, I’ve been amazed by their positive response and have also learned valuable lessons in the process.

6. Have a positive attitude. Whenever people asked him how he was doing, my Dad replied with a bright smile on his face: “Annoyingly well!” That remark used to leave many people speechless, but I’ve always admired his attitude because I knew that he was doing his best to overcome tough challenges and obstacles – only he was never showing it to the outside world. Nowadays, many people ask me how I manage to stay positive most of the time, thinking that my life must be all milk-and-honey – when in reality, I just follow in my Dad’s footsteps and choose to stay positive in the face of challenges and struggles.

7. Pursue your dreams and never settle for the status-quo. Growing up, my parents have done everything they could to offer me a good life with the little they had. Later on, when I realized that growth opportunities were quite limited in my home country, my Mom has encouraged my initiative to pursue my dreams overseas, even if that meant to be thousands of miles apart. And although there’s still a long way to go to reach my goals, I believe that taking action toward your dreams one step at a time is far better than doing nothing and just settling for the status-quo. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Mom’s support – and I’m convinced that my Dad would’ve supported me the same, if he was still alive.

8. Build meaningful relationships. My Dad was a ‘connector’ – in other words, he knew a lot of people and vice versa, a lot of people knew him.  But since the definition of “know” is very broad, my point here is that he knew more about people than just their names. He was familiar with their background, their interests, as well as their problems. His guiding principle was to be of service to others and has demonstrated it all along through his actions. He has taught me that the only way to genuinely connect with people is to look beyond their social status, job title, looks, or money and learn about their interests, passions, struggles, and dreams. This is why when meeting new people I avoid asking the most common questions that everyone asks, such as: “Where do you live?” or “What do you do?” as I find them quite irrelevant. What I like to ask instead is what they’re passionate about and why, or to tell me about something that they’re proud of / look forward to in the near future, because these types of questions reveal much more about their personality and help me get to know them on a deeper level. This was my Dad’s strategy and what made it great was the fact that it was genuine – he really loved meeting and connecting with people, and so do I.

Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands ~ Anne Frank

If you enjoyed and found value in this article, hit that “Like” button below – or even better, share it with your friends, as well. It would mean a lot to me and I believe it may also help other people learn from these principles. Also, I would love to hear in the comments below, what was the most valuable advice that you received from your parents?

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