Each Bert Show cast member has written their own speech, filled with pearls of wisdom they want to impart.
Yesterday, Jeff talked about his ride through life – and how you should look at yours, and today, Kristin says that “mistakes have made us who we are, and who we will be.”
Now Bert’s up to bat and he wants you to go “against life’s comfort zone” and “be true to yourself, be honorable, be happy and define your own success.”
Class of 2013
I don’t know any of you. I don’t know your hopes. I don’t know your dreams. And, I’m not sure if I DID know you, I would even like half of you. So it really is impossible for me to try to give you any kind of individual guidance as you go forward.
However, I’m a father of two boys. And nothing in my life is more important than making sure my sons go forward, be happy and find success using their own definitions. So the following are random notes I’ve made for the most important little people in my life. And if this is the most important advice I can give to them, then, it most certainly is the most important advice I can give to you.
First, “cool” is way overrated. Cool is a filter that allows inhibitions and prevents you from doing what you REALLY want to do because you feel you’ll be judged. I never got on a dance floor when I was younger for fear I’d be laughed at. I married a woman that loves to dance and I now wonder how many memories I’ve lost by not sharing a dance floor with the woman I love most. Every time you allow cool to win, you cheat yourself of living life to its fullest on your own terms.
Which brings me to this.
Live life to the fullest on your own terms. Pioneer your own way. Trail blaze your unique path. Others’ social rules can’t apply to you because none of us have the same DNA. Go against what’s popular. Be brave enough to be questioned because you went against life’s comfort zone.
Always err on the side of being a gentleman. If you’re not opening doors for women, pulling out their chair before they sit down at a restaurant or offering to pay the check, then I have failed you. Respect women that want to be respected. Choose to be with women that value themselves and demand to be respected by you.
Don’t spit and don’t be one of those guys that raises his leg to fart.
Spend extra money for good seats.
Learn how to build a bonfire.
Surf. No place is more peaceful than sitting on your board outside the break.
Be disciplined, but every now and then do something spontaneous and irresponsible. If you work hard you deserve to reward yourself. I’ve never understood the people that found honor in never taking a vacation. Work is only PART of your life. Work to live. Don’t live to work.
Live at the beach for a while.
Watch the sun set into the ocean.
Watch the sun rise as often as possible when you’re young.
Own a convertible.
An old friend of mind told me that you have to have a keen understanding of the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. No truer words have ever been spoken. Realize how good you have it. I believe that when you don’t appreciate what life has given you, life has a way of giving you perspective. So be careful.
Learn how to use a dinner knife properly, chew with your mouth closed and be comfortable eating in formal settings. I can’t tell you how many men I know grip their utensils like they are baseball bats and frankly, they look like idiots.
Read the classics.
Don’t act like you’re humble. Be humble.
Travel. Then Travel. Then Travel a little more. It teaches you so much. It teaches you how to be independent. It teaches you how to budget. It teaches you that the American Way might be the best way but it certainly isn’t the only way. It teaches you that happiness doesn’t come from money. The happiest family I met was one in Venezuela that had no TV, no air conditioning and had to improvise using a can instead of a soccer ball.
For the love of God, limit your video game playing and computer time. You know what’s better than virtually racing a car…actually racing a car. You know what’s better than simulating flying a plane….actually flying a plane. Get out of that dark room and get dirty.
The word ‘content’ doesn’t mean lazy. It means happy. I spent my whole life striving to be better each day, but it was at the cost of not looking around and finding contentment in the current, successful place I was in.
Have a secure, tight handshake and look the other person right in the eye.
Let people off the elevator before you get on.
Be fiercely independent, but know when to ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help. You cannot go through life without the helping hands of others. And in the same vein, people need your help. Exhaust yourself helping people.
Watch the news with a strict filter. It’s vital to educate yourself about the world’s happenings. But TV sensationalizes the negative. I still believe the bad people are a sliver of the population. For every one murder there are thousands of people volunteering and bettering this planet.
And, finally, this is the most important of all: live your life with honor and integrity. Your own definition of honor and integrity. There are a lot of financially successful people that can’t look at themselves in the mirror. Being financially successful isn’t nearly as important as being internally happy. That’s true success and, at the end of the day, the only definition of success that matters.
Take the advice. Don’t take the advice. Drive fast. Drive slowly. Look both ways. Look one way. Play soccer. Don’t play soccer. Save. Spend. Whatever. Do it your own way. Be true to yourself, be honorable, be happy and define your own success.