Two Lessons I Learned from My Father

Father and son

I am a very different person as compared to my father. We have completely different maps on how the world works and how a beautiful life fits into this picture. However, I have learned two lessons from him which over time have gradually come to define me as a person. In fact, most of what I have achieved today can be traced back to learning those two lessons early in life. The purpose of writing them here is the hope that you will also benefit from them both due to their simplicity and usefulness.

  1. On getting tired:

    Ever since I was a child, I have never seen him tired. Even if had returned home from work at 11pm at night or from a 6 hours drive from another city, it was hard to see any signs of fatigue on his face or body language. In fact, if someone at home cared enough to ask him to relax after being so tired, his response was always the same: “What is tiredness?” It was not a kind of affirmation or an attempt to exhibit some greatness but a genuine statement about this state of mind. He believed that a person becomes what he thinks of. If you think that you are not tired or you are a person who doesn’t get tired, you slowly achieve this state.

    I know that there are physical limitations of every human body and the laws of physics do not simply obey my mental state. Nevertheless, I am absolutely sure that the actual physical limit of a human body is reached a long time after the mind has given up which basically means that a mind puts the hand up quite sooner than it actually should. With such a huge gap between the mental and physical limits, it is straightforward to conclude that our physical limits can be stretched beyond imagination to reach distant goals. Just ask any marathon runner. I have lost count of how many times I have applied this rule to keep going at working hard for hours at end. Remember: what your mind is telling you might not be true, particularly more so when it senses fatigue.

  2. On acceptance:

    Almost everyone today knows the great lesson that happiness is a choice and it can never be attained if left on external factors getting aligned to our wishes. Very few people actually practise it. My father was quite strict about rules but I have almost never heard of any complaint from him in regards to his personal matters. He was not one of those cheerful persons who always look happy but he certainly had a smaller list of demands from the universe than anyone else I know. This acceptance of things we cannot change has more or less kept me clear of a complaint mindset in my life.

I feel grateful to him for these two gifts and probably was outright lucky to get them without going through any harsh experiences first, as is usually the case.

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