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10 Life Lessons for My College-Aged Daughters

Do you know that there is an inverse relationship between your ability to imagine and your age? Have you noticed that — as we get older — we lose our ability to think without boundaries due to self-imposed limitations set by stereotypical knowledge that we gain from others?

A great nation’s future rests on the shoulder of its ability to foster success in youth. When I watch a child with agility and unbound curiosity, I am astounded by the creative existence of spirit that I rarely see in an adult.

As we grow older, we learn to become normal. It’s normal not to dream big; it’s normal to carry dozen credit cards with several thousands dollars in debt; it’s normal to live like Joneses; it’s normal to blame circumstances for our mediocrity; it’s normal to please others at any cost.

As a father of two college-aged daughters, I want to share 10 life lessons for any young person to achieve not only financial peace, but also happiness and fulfillment.

1 Fear not fear of failure.

Okay — this is the most important life lesson for you — failure is part of life. Without failures, no one has achieved success. Embrace failure as a way to learn how to succeed. Niki has learned valuable life lesson as a tennis player  — it is not the outcome, rather it is the relentless effort that matters most in life. Failures on tennis court has taught Niki that it’s always in her power to work harder and succeed in the next game. Life is lot like a tennis game — you can overcome loss of one set by playing harder in the next set.

 2 Learn to share.

You have to learn how to share. Happiness comes from within by showing act of kindness to others who need your help.  Simple acts of sharing clothes, sharing games, sharing books create sense of bonding. Sharing with others create lasting relationships that are far more important than any material possessions.

3 Money doesn’t grow on trees.

You have to learn how to become good steward of your money.   You’ll learn how to earn money by attending prestigious university and earning a degree in medicine, but you’ll have to learn how to save money yourself. It is not how much you make that matters most, rather it is how much you save for your rainy days and your retirement that matters most in your life.

4 Learn to earn.

I strongly believe that young people ought to learn how to earn and be responsible for their own needs. You should earn and save money for your first car; and, you should earn for your leisure expenses.

 5 It’s OK to think out of the box.

I have great conviction for this sense of freedom to think out of the box. Adults have too many stereotypical beliefs that often disguise creativity. Learn to think on your own without allowing others to influence your thoughts. Both Henry Ford and Thomas Edison attributed their success to the infinite power of imagination and perseverance to turn ideas into reality. They mastered how to cherish failures. It’s okay to chart your own course even if others don’t believe in and support your decision.

6 Every action has equal and opposite reaction.

You should not blame anyone for your mistakes as the sole owner of actions you choose. Learn to analyze risk associated with every action you take. If you are prudent, you’ll reap sweet fruits of your labor. If you are not, you will have to face consequences. Every bad action ought to make you determine to make better decision going forward. Never cease to learn. Learning is as important as breathing for the purpose driven life.

Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will, his personal responsibility. –
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) German theologian, philosopher, and physician.

7 Remove “but” from your lexicon.

In infancy and youth, our lexicon is rather small. As we grow, we add toxin words that poison our mind with excuses for under achievement. World is full of mediocre, self-professed underachievers who do not understand that they do not need more power, more strength or more money to be successful. It’s exasperating, but the word “but” is killing more people than cancer. You should remove  word “but” from your lexicon. You will achieve your wildest dreams by replacing word “but” with “I can.”

8 Character matters.

If you learn only one thing from all the successful people — they are extremely generous. Their success is built on the foundation of their magnanimous character. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have given away most of their wealth for the greater causes of humanity. Look up to them as your idols. Real idols are not in Hollywood; they live in your neighborhood. They drive average car and wear average dress.

9 Have gratitude.

Gratitude = Great + Attitude. Yes, having sense of humbleness for having life and an opportunity to make difference is the founding pillar of successful youth. We live in one of the richest nations on earth yet our schools are failing miserably. There are multitude of reasons for that, but lack of gratitude is surely one of the principal reasons why our kids are not achieving success. After the invention of telephone, it took 71 years for 50% of our households to own a telephone; after the invention of car, it took 50 years for 50% of our households to own a car. Yet, today, we get exasperated if we lose Internet access for an hour.

10 Kick some goals.

Never live life without knowing where you are headed. You’ve never driven a car without knowing your destination. So, is the journey of life. Think who you want to be and set written goals to achieve your dream. Work every day to get closer to your goal. Do you remember those old maps in the glove box? Have a map of your life and be vigilant. You may have to change the course depending on the circumstances. Learn not to dwell too much on the failures of the past in the rear view mirror of your life; learn to look forward to meet another day of excitement and boundless opportunities that await.


Youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Life’s lumber-room. But youth is the Lord of Life. Youth has a kingdom waiting for it. Every one is born a king, and most people die in exile.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet and dramatist.

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Comments (16)

I agree. I will focus on point 10. What benefit will someone get from dwelling on past failures? I think it takes a special person to use failure to his or her advantage instead of throwing a pity party

Well said Shawn. It never helps to keep looking backwards, and pass by great opportunities that await in the front.

Terrific article! Loved your point regarding failure, “but”, and not blaming your environment. Thanks for including me!

Buck, I really enjoyed reading your article. It is so inspiring!

OK, i will focus to learn on the college

Wow! I wish every child (and adult for that matter) could read this post and take it to heart.

“It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you save…”

“…young people ought to be responsible for their own needs.”

“You should not blame anyone for your mistakes…”

Point #7 is awesome too. Love it.

Thank you Jason!

My daughter is only 6 months old, but hopefully I can teach her these by the time she gets to college! Great stuff. :)

Nick, thanks. I strongly believe in teaching values at early age. I’m sure that she will learn a great deal from a father like yourself.

I especially liked Learn to Earn. our society doesn’t seem set up that way anymore and it ‘s too bad! When I save up for things, I appreciate them so much more and value them!

TB, We value anything that requires effort and hard work. When we hand out money to our kids, we are fostering sense of instant gratification.

Great piece! Not only are these great life lessons for our daughters, but they are also great reminders that all of us could use! Well done.

MMD, that is so true. I try to live by these principles so that I can set a good example for my daughters.

An extremely exciting go through, I may possibly not concur completely, but you do make some quite legitimate factors.

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