4 years, 6 months, 27 days. Nothing worth having comes easy.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Heed the words of the wise.  In life, you either work hard and try your best to achieve your dreams, or suffer the pangs of regret later in life for having never tried.

Look around you.  How many do you see falling into the latter camp?  Look at your cousins, aunts, and uncles on your mom’s side?  They are roofers, fast food workers, warehouse laborers, sanitation department workers, etc.  Those are honest jobs and there is nothing wrong with those types of jobs in and of themselves.  But, the question is what else could they have made of themselves?

Life isn’t that difficult, really.  The rules are fairly simple:

  1. Do your best.
  2. Be true to yourself.
  3. Treat others as they want to be treated.

You will find that many people in life are “minimally exceptional” not because of their abilities (or lack thereof), but because of their lack of efforts.  They’d rather complain and blame others than strive to improve their lots in life.  The good ones who do will rise to the top while the rest will gravitate towards their rightful places in life.  The good ones will leave healthier legacies for their children while the minimally exceptional will leave their children the minimally exceptional.  I introduced you to Mr. Ted, one of the best in our field.  Who has your mom and her siblings introduced you to?

Where will you be in 10 years, boys?  I know what your abilities are, but will you put in the effort to get yourselves there?  I pray you will.  That is how I taught you to be.  Don’t be like your mom, who would rather veg out in front of the TV instead of taking you to the park, the library, the beach, or other places where you can exercise your bodies and your minds.  Strive to be the best you.

All my love, always,

Dad

4 years, 6 months, and 20 days. Avoid fake stuff (including processed foods and false friends).

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Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.

Probiotics are naturally found in your body. You can also find them in some foods and supplements.

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics#

 

[I]t is the microbial content that has got health types excited – because bacteria are big news these days. More specifically, the 39tn microbes, weighing about as much as your brain, that live happily in your gut, the makeup of which, some evidence suggests, may have a significant effect on everything from your long-term weight to your current mood.

Unfortunately, the typical modern western menu does little to nourish this “huge alien ecosystem”, as Dr Michael Moseley puts it, under siege as it is from antibiotics and a deluge of cleaning products designed to sterilise every part of our existence. However much we may like junk food and chemical additives, our gut bacteria does not – and our increasingly narrow diet has led to a similar lack of diversity in our gut. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and the author of The Diet Myth, explains that if we “wipe out our gut microbes, then our immune system goes into autodrive and starts attacking us with autoimmune diseases and allergies”.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/26/does-kimchi-and-other-fermented-foods-give-you-more-fizz

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Remember the meals we used to have as a family?  I loved that you guys helped out in the kitchen — even when young — and made meal time a family affair.  That is what life is all about … time spent with loved ones, even tie spent doing the most mundane of activities.

These are the stuff good memories are made of.  No one remembers with fondness the hours in front of the TV eating microwaved food.  But, that was not your childhood with me.  We cooked together, ate together, and shared many good laughs.  I miss that. I miss it everyday.

Your mother was a lazy cook and was more prone to instant noodles than real meals made of fresh vegetables and proteins.  (For most of my marriage to your mother, either I or your grandmother cooked our meals — yes, I cooked more family meals than your mother despite my long work hours as a lawyer and consultant.)  Thus, because I’m no longer there, I want you to take charge of your eating habits and eat healthy.

Eat natural cheese, miso, pickled olives, yogurt, kimchi, and other food items that are rich in probiotics.  Avoid chips, instant noodles, canned food, frozen food, and other processed food items.  Too often, instant food are full of preservatives and chemicals — added to make the food last longer in the freezer, in the can, in the plastic bag, etc.  Eat fruits, vegetables, and other natural food.

Remember our many trips to the farmers’ markets?  Do that.  Drag your mom along if necessary.  Go outside.

Spend time outdoors.  I know your mom used to plant you guys in front of the TV and bought hand-held video games to babysit you.  But, now that you’re older, take charge of your lives.  Go outside.  Go with each other and watch out for one another.  Remember how we used to spend time at the neighborhood park almost every day with our friends and neighbors?  Do that.  It’s not only good for your health, but is also the stuff good memories are made of.

Finally, remember, all things will come to pass.  Even the successful and the great have no assurances that their futures will hold the same.  Let F. Lee Bailey’s story serve as a reminder of that. http://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/a10284185/f-lee-bailey-oj-lawyer-interview/.  Let the fates of the former president of South Korea, Mrs. Park, the former prime minister of Pakistan, Mr. Sharif — both forced from high office for corruption — serve to remind you that money and power are not the end all.  See, e.g., http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/17/asia/south-korea-park-indictment/index.html; https://www.ksl.com/?nid=235&sid=45193281&title=disqualified-by-court-pakistans-prime-minister-steps-down.

Wealth, power, fame, etc., are for naught if you are not true to who you are.  Be true to yourselves.  Be you, but be the best you. Avoid false friends, and those who don’t tell you the truth, but only tell you what they think you want to hear.  Beware of such “friends” for they are anything but that.

Until we reunite, I send you all of my love, always

Dad

 

 

 

 

4 years, 5 months, and 11 days. Keep your eyes on the prize. Stay focused on your path to success.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I sit here and wonder where you are, what you are doing, whether you are having a good or bad day.  It’s hard.  I wish it weren’t so.  But, in life, we play the cards we are dealt.  Control is only an illusion.  As the saying goes, “Man plans.  God laughs.”

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Plan anyway.  Plan for your future.  Work hard to achieve it.  Success is 95 percent sweat.  You must work hard to prepare yourself and be ready whenever opportunities for success present themselves.

Focus on schooling and on getting into the best colleges you can.  Better colleges create better first opportunities for you.  In other words, you can still be successful if you do not attend a top-ranked college, but your road to success would be made more difficult.  Others are more likely to invest in your future if the likes of Harvard, Stanford, Duke, etc., have already vetted you and found you desirable.  Success breeds success, my sons.

Look at your cousins.  Which ones have a brighter future?  Those who studied hard and have achieved a good college education, or those without?  Your cousins on your mother’s side are roofers, paintbrush makers, fast food workers, etc., while your cousins on my side are engineers, designers, executives, etc.  Success rarely comes by accident.

Aim for success.  Keep your eyes on that prize, and work towards it.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

4 years, 2 months, and 29 days. Beware of small minded people: they will drag you down.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

People are constrained by their prisms of their realities.  In other words, they are limited by who they are.

They see the world as a reflection of themselves.  Thieves think everyone else is a thief and out to steal from them.  Cowards think everyone else will run in the face of danger, just like they do.  Fools think everyone else is a sucker.

Beware the little people — the small-minded, the petty.  They rarely lift their sights above the smallness of their stations, and, by fixating on the small and petty, they will drag you down to their level.  They are so fearful of losing what little they have, that they end up channeling all of their energies on fighting to protect and maintain those limitations instead of improving their lot.  But, worse, they resist acceptance of their limitations and bully or berate those they perceive as less fortunate or less powerful than they in order to prove they are better than their station allows.  They are the epitome of the adage “kiss up and shit down.”

It is for this reason that I urge you to take the time to find and befriend those who inspire you to be better.  Look for those who train their eyes beyond the horizons, those who see possibilities instead of limitations, those who are prone to act instead of whine, those who accept ambiguity and change as natural parts of life.

These also happen to be traits of entrepreneurs, see, e.g., https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/11/05/how-do-entrepreneurs-think/#3e52f7473905; https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/285625; and, https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/6-things-successful-entrepreneurs-always-believe.html.

That’s why I want you to think

1. Anything is possible.

If you believe you’ll never be capable of creating a multi-million-dollar enterprise, you’re never going to take the effort to create one. If you think your business can’t compete with the major players, you’ll lose enthusiasm and eventually fold under the pressure.

Believing that some things are flat-out impossible becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; instead, successful business owners have a mindset that anything is possible with the investment of enough knowledge, effort and determination. Having the confidence to move forward is half the battle, and as long as that action doesn’t turn into foolhardy arrogance (more on that later), it will empower you to work harder and set higher goals.

2. Hard work pays off — even if it takes years to see it.

Successful business owners also believe that, fundamentally, hard work pays off. They aren’t afraid to invest hours, weeks, months or even years of hard work into their businesses, because they have faith that the outcome will be valuable.

The key difference here with successful entrepreneurs is that they’re able to envision and embrace long-term payoffs. This ability is known as delayed gratification, which theoretical physicist Michio Kaku once referred to as the “hallmark of human intelligence.”

Related: The Incredible Power of Believing in Yourself

3. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Even experts make mistakes — all the time. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll suffer in a number of different ways: You’ll set goals that are unreasonably high, you’ll feel defeated and discouraged when you don’t reach them or make mistakes and you won’t be willing to move forward despite a flaw or two.

If you wait until everything is perfect before you launch a product or move forward with a decision, you’ll never cross that threshold, which is why it’s important to start only with a minimum viable product and make gradual improvements from there. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them and don’t let them stop you from taking the next step forward.

4. You can’t do everything alone.

Even if you’ve managed to build something amazing for yourself, through your efforts alone, it’s still because of the people in your life who have taught you and supported you that you got as far as you did. Even in matters like building a social following from scratch, you’re relying on outsiders to help support your own initiative, and in that respect, you’re always going to be relying on other people.

The trick is to do as much as you can by yourself, then surround yourself by the most talented, capable, respectable people you can find to help you take care of the rest.

5. Risks are necessary.

It’s true that not all risks are equal, and not all risks are worth taking, but if you separate people into risk-takers and non-risk-takers, eventually, statistically, it will be people from the risk-taking pool who end up being the furthest ahead. Successful entrepreneurs may not have a mindset that urges them to take every risk they find, but they aren’t afraid to take calculated risks, and that gives them more potential for bigger, more successful initiatives.

6. Perspective and experience matter.

Successful entrepreneurs know that they aren’t the smartest, most experienced or most rational people in the world. They recognize that other business owners have more experience, have different perspectives and may have valuable ideas or insights that they themselves haven’t considered.

Successful entrepreneurs demonstrate humility, and aren’t embarrassed to ask for help or too proud to ask for others’ opinions. They’re willing and eager to gather information from many sources before moving forward with anything.

7. There’s always more to learn.

Humility extends to this belief, as well. No matter how long you went to school, how many courses you’ve taken or how many years you’ve spent on the job, there’s always something new to learn about your industry and about the world. Maintaining the desire and initiative to pursue your own education indefinitely keeps you sharp throughout your entrepreneurial journey, and keeps you a step ahead of your competitors.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/285625.

Lift your sights beyond the horizon.  See yourself succeed.  Ignore the cowardly warnings of the nay-sayers, the intrepid, and the small-minded.  Focus on what must be done to make your visions become reality.  Know that every failure brings you one step closer to success, and know that no matter what happens, you are always loved and valued.

Be you.  Be the best you.

All my love, always,

Dad