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My Father Gave Me The Best Life Advices and I Still Live By It

by Joe Chan. |

“For happiness is in your own hands, and you should do what you want with your life,” He said, as we stood there at the balcony in the night breeze of June, 2017. That is how clear I remember it to be. He continued, “This is your life. Because at the end of the day, we’ll go down too, and then it’s up to you to live your life,” It was funny, though, thinking about it, because I was sharing with him about this “little thing” I had with this one other girl.

But, it has been 2 years since he shared it with me, and I’ve kept it close with me at all times, almost like a tattoo. Like everyone else, I’ve gotten my share fair of life’s ups and downs, stumbles and falls and even life’s unexpected surprises at very inconvenient times. In those times, I was given decisions to choose; to do it or not. And in each thinking moment that I hesitate, I ask, “Does this make me happy?”

"Do what makes you happy."

My dad would tell me this for the most part of me sharing my stories and asking for advices. “Should I join the Student Council? Should I join that gym membership? What am I to do to move on?” I’ll ask, and he’ll follow his advice up with these lines; do what makes you happy. Of course, in that moment, I can’t appreciate the depth and context that the sentence served.

But, as time goes by, I understood what it meant. It is more than a sentence asking me to just be happy, it’s a sentence that taught me to value what I wanted.

Which, while providing me with short-term peace, it also taught me something that’ll serve me in the long run; self-love. He was teaching me self-love in the most practical way, more than all the massages and spas and self-pampering that we are bombarded on a daily basis. There is a fine line in between self-love and self-pamper, and people tend to cross these lines ever so often that they look the same.

"Control the mind, not let it control you."

I get this more often back when I was younger, in my teen years where I would rant about school and tasks, while trying to juggle other extra-curricular activities in between. I’m not saying I’m special because I’m “active”, but instead what I’m trying to say is that how I wish I understood the meaning it carried more than I thought it to carry.

Living in a fast-paced, immediate and instant world, where literally almost everything is just one click away, we’ve become a society that is numbed. We’re in a loop that takes more energy than gives. Why do we feel drained? What about all those with anxiety and over-stressed? “The world in our head is so loud,” one may say, but maybe that’s only because the mind is controlling us more than we are, it.

"Fishing is a game of patience."

I used to go fishing with my dad. Not much at all, only because I simply do not have the patience for it. Not the good kind, at least. But, if there was one thing he told me on almost all of our fishing trips was, “Fishing is a game of patience,” Again, as a kid I didn’t know what that meant besides just sitting under the shade and, watching the fishing rod? I didn’t get it.

I was missing the bigger picture, and maybe with it, most of us are missing the bigger picture. We can only be so good at our craft, but at the end of the day, we cannot factor out the factor of time. We can perfect the what and the how, but who can perfect the when? Simply put, no one can.

"I talk to intelligent people; I talk to me."

I never understood it initially, and I would ask “who?” when he said he talks to people that he looks up to.

As a kid, I remembered wanting to be a businessman ever so bad, so I was thinking of people with big companies, driving big cars, a thick moustache and had cigars, with rings on each finger. Note how I said rings and not ring, I meant that I was thinking of this person to be filthy rich and had an aura with him. And then my dad said, “I talk to me.”

As time goes by, I’m beginning to understand what he meant. At the end of the day, only you understand what you’re going through. Only you get why you are doing it. Only you know what’s the best for you. And, at the end of the day, it’s you that’ll be doing it. And by intelligent, I’m understanding that to be the understanding of one’s self in his or her shoes in that given situation, given that circumstance. Now with that being said, I get that my dad was trying to say, “Seek within you for what you seek, and you shall find, for those that seek will find. For that lies in tomorrow and that lies in yesterday is nothing compared to that lies within,”

I want to end this with this; I hope that you may find these advices as useful – if not more – than I did in this lifetime that is unfolding before me. I do wish that it’ll help you as much as it did me. I hope that it’ll affect your lives for the better as it did for me.

Dad, if you're reading this, this is for you.

Take this time to thank your dad for all that he has provided this Father's Day weekend!

You can also find out more about Joe on his Instagram.

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