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Like a good Pook, I checked my mailbox and found a letter filled with ambitions and dreams. At the end of the letter was this:
Yet there’s still something that worries me and this is the reason why I’m writing you. Time is the only parameter I can’t control in my life. I always fear to waste my time or to take the wrong direction in my life.
I want to be successful not only with women but also in everything I put some efforts on. But it always seems that I’m running late in my master plan and that it would take me two lives to achieve my goals.
So my question is:
“What would you advise me to do to avoid wasting time in my quest for self-improvement? And how to be sure I am taking the right path when I start something?”
I don’t want to have regrets when I get older! I hope you’ll answer my question.
This is the Ultimate Question. Time is the true wealth of life. Young men don’t realize that time is their greatest asset. Your young life is like a fertile soil. Choose carefully what you plant in your mind and in your life. If you start learning business early then you can plant a money tree which, after much watering and de-weeding, will grow into a powerful oak where you can rest under its sweet shade. If you plant the classics and the ‘good works’ in your mind, these will grow into sweet and sustaining fruit trees where you can go through the world clad in the armor of a strong soul (behind every mover and shaker in the world, their young adulthood always includes the ‘planting’ of these classics in some form or another). The idea is to plant good seeds of talent and perform good habits. Your habits are your destiny. Change your habits and so change your destiny.
But how do you determine what is ‘wasting time’ or not? I still struggle with this question. My advice is to observe and talk to older men (not ask them directly, but pay attention to what they regret and think about). So, with all honesty, I don’t have a solid answer.
And this brings me to my Pookish Commandments. I have been trying to come up with very simple, very clear things to ‘think’ or ‘act’ which would radically improve your life standard. The Third Pookish Commandment is about financial freedom (this, alone, so changes one’s life). But ones like the second commandment of fighting negativity ensures you don’t become a passive being on message boards moaning about “The End of the World” and all. It is the First Commandment which is still the most powerful and filtering: “Be who you are!”
Let me tell you a story. I had a very good Constitutional Law professor when I was in University. Based on my current geography and his time frame of being in southern Texas, he knows all the big shots in U.S. politics today. He knew and could talk to Condoleezza Rice who was a professor of political science at Stanford (she is, of course, now the Secretary of State of the U.S.). He had brown bag lunches with Ken Starr for the longest time (who lived in his neighborhood). Ken Starr, if you don’t recall, was the Independent Prosecutor during the Monica Lewinsky scandal of President Clinton’s term. He has met W. Bush before he ran for governor.
As a member of the Supreme Court Society, he has certain access to the members of the court. He has talked much with Sandra Day O’Conner for example. Since, right now, most of the big cheeses in U.S. politics have come from my area in Texas, knowing people who knew these guys shouldn’t be surprising. What is fun were the personal stories he shared. I know exactly what Ken Starr eats for lunch, what Sandra Day O’ Connor jokes about (usually diapers), Rice’s personality and body language when she talks, and on and on and on (the most fascinating stuff is about W. Bush).
Anyway, one day he began talking about an old friend of his. The two of them were identical in their youth. However, he took a different path. While my professor chose the route of academia and the ‘noble’ path of ‘higher education’ and all that, his friend chose greed, dreams, and all the ‘sins’ that Matriarchy holds. Academics do not get paid much (but their jobs are very secure).
While he teaches students and does ‘academic papers,’ his friend created a business empire and retired at the age of 42 as a multi-millionaire in a mansion on a beach in Florida. Here is a collection of what he said:
“You know how they say to live life and not care what other people think about you?” As he talked about that, he never openly said he lived his life to other people’s thoughts but I got the distinct impression that he did. He openly advised everyone, “Do not feel bad about desiring to ‘make money’ in life. If you make much money, you can retire and do other things.” His friend, for example, could now play the philosopher if he desired (or anything else).
The point of this story was to show a very successful and distinguished middle age man, who has connections to some of the most powerful people in the world, wrecked with regret. I didn’t understand all that was being said but I put it into a mental folder for later use. His story is part of the reason why the First Pookish Commandment was so important: Be Who You Are. Or you could say, Do What You Love.
I have recently buried a childhood friend, and have seen an older one go completely blind with others pass away…to pass through Nature into Eternity. It is not that life is short; it is that it can easily be wasted. It is no seeds of talent being planted and no crops appearing.
The best filter for not wasting life is to BE WHO YOU ARE. Follow your soul, follow your dreams, and stop giving others power to determine the fate of your life.