I didn’t even want her. I loved not having kids.
20 years ago today, all of a sudden, I had this new roommate.
Today is my 20th anniversary as a father. Which also means it’s her 20th birthday. My daughter.
When she first moved in as one of my roommates, she couldn’t even speak English. She would cry all day. She sucked on my wife’s breasts. She broke things. She shat on the floor.
When she was born, it was really inconvenient for me. I had been playing poker in Atlantic City for 72 straight hours without sleep. Then I went to go bowling when I got back for some charity event.
In the middle of that, I got a message from my wife. “I’m in labor”. Shit.
I had to go home. Labor lasted for 36 hours.
And, as the dad, I have to just sit around pretending like I’m helping. I’m doing nothing and everyone treats you like garbage because they all know you are faking doing things.
Then they just hand you this one-foot-tall human and say, “Take it”.
They say, “I hope you know how to strap that thing into the back of a cab.” Backwards.
Why is it backwards? The Jewish illuminati who decide these things never tell you.
Then she cries and cries and cries. It’s only gotten slightly better since then.
But I learned a lot (and maybe she did also. I have no clue). You learn how to love in a different way. I’m not saying it’s good or bad.
Some people don’t have kids and I don’t blame them. But I have kids and it’s changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Loving children is a different kind of love.
And taking a pile of teary mush and trying to turn that into a good human being is a thankless task. But maybe the only important one in life.
I can’t believe she’s 20. I wish I could relive those 20 years and give a tiny bit more into each moment. But I did what I could do and I hope she appreciates it.
She’s my beauty queen. And now she’s 20.
And here’s what I want to tell her:
1) Always go to the place least crowded.
Success is found where nobody else is.
2) Being secretly good to people = Superhero.
Being famous for the sake of being famous = Loser.
3) Good relationships = Good life. Bad relationships = Bad life.
Similar to this: Audience selection is better than audience development.
You don’t want people around you that you always have to teach. Instead, pick the right people to be around you.
4) If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
If you want your life to change, do something different, something unexpected, take a wrong turn off a dirt road.
5) Sleep and rest.
People always say “work hard”. Work a lot. Hustle and grind.
But you’re only going to grow when you rest. Working is when you do things. Resting is when the brain grows and rewires itself.
6) Bad things will happen. Treat them like opportunities.
You are going to have to repeat that every day.
7) Don’t feel sorry for yourself ever. See above.
8) Be creative every day.
Everyone else will stay in their lane. But if you are creative every day you’ll get further and faster than everyone else.
9) Live life as if today MIGHT be your last day.
It might not!
So don’t kill people you hate. But don’t do something today in hopes of a better outcome tomorrow. Make the most of each day.
10) Don’t eat a lot.
I mean, enjoy your food. But always remember, even when you feel hungry, that you aren’t starving.
You live in a country where your stomach is ALWAYS full. If you eat more then you’ll be unhappy.
You are so lucky. Most people don’t read. Those people are losers. If you read one good thing a day then in a few years you’ll know thousands more things than anyone else.
12) Don’t “Can’t”.
Don’t ever say you “can’t” do something. If there’s something you passionately want, there’s always some way to get it or get close to it.
13) Double park with impunity.
If you have to get somewhere, don’t be afraid to double park. At the first chance, though, get someone to move your car. Don’t be a dick.
14) Buy convenience.
If you have to spend your last dollar to have an easier commute always do it. Convenience is worth more than physical items.
15) Don’t read the news.
Every second you read “news” you can be reading or doing something that can improve your life.
People who write news are phonies.
16) Everything worthwhile requires skill.
If you want to achieve something, you need more skill than all of the other people trying to achieve it.
Break apart a skill into 20 micro-skills. Figure out how, each day, you can get better at each micro-skill.
Don’t worry about the outcomes. outcomes happen naturally as you build the skills. Just every day focus on improving each micro-skill a tiny, tiny bit.
This is the roadmap to success in anything you want to do.
17) If someone doesn’t like you, then ignore them.
This seems obvious but it isn’t. Sometimes when someone doesn’t like me, I waste time trying to get them to like me.
This is how you win the loser’s trophy.
18) It doesn’t mean anything to “be yourself”.
But decide every day what you believe in and don’t compromise on those beliefs.
Every time you compromise, you become part of the machine. Much more happiness is found outside of the machine.
19) Don’t believe something just because everyone else believes it.
Those are the worst fakes. Except for psychopaths although I bet they are related.
20) Don’t forget to call me.
Happy 20th birthday, honey. I love you more than I love at least 7 billion other people.
James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon.