At the age of 26 I've started to think a lot about my life. Where I come from and how I got to where I am today. It's been a hell of a journey. I never had a father, never really knew him until this year. It was a truly weird and different experience than what I thought it would be. But not in a bad way.
That being said, I didn't lack for a male role model. I had my grandfather, a proud military man. When I was young he taught me a lot of important lessons I still use today. The most important of which is what it means to be a man. He use to tell me, that the only thing in this world you have of value is word. So your word needs to be your bond. If you say you're going to do something than you do it. No exceptions.
The thought being, if you break your word, even on something small and meaningless than why should I trust you to keep your word on something important? I can't. You've given me no reason too. Believe me I know how hard it is to honor your commitments. Sometimes you say you will do something and it turns into something else, and you want out, either it's too tough or not as fun as you thought. It becomes harder and harder to follow through with. Well, life is tough. Whoever said being a man was easy?
We live in weird times. For the first time in history we are encouraged to chase are dreams. Told that the sky is the limit and we can do anything we want. Gone are the days when people told us no, you can't do that! It's both a blessing and a curse. It has made people entitled. Too many people feel they should just be given everything they want without having to work for it, without having to struggle. They believe that only their dreams have value and so it is ok to mess other people over if it gives them a boost on their way to the top. They don't think twice about throwing even their good friends under the bus on their rise to the top because hey, they have an opportunity and they mean to take it. That doesn't make you brave, that doesn't make you heroic, that doesn't make you a man. It makes you a spineless coward.
I'm a big believer that you should chase every opportunity that comes your way and let nothing get in your way. I can't tell you the number of times I called into work for the chance to make it, but doing that to your friends? To the people who are trying to help you make it? That isn't cool. That isn't acceptable. Turning your back on people who trust you just to get a chance to do better for yourself is the sign of somebody who never grew up. Never learned what it means to be a man. What it means to have honor, to have integrity. These people can't ever be trusted because all you are to them is a stepping stone. An object they can use to climb to the top.
I guess the most important thing I've learned in my life is to not agree to something unless you plan to go through with it. Otherwise you have nothing of value to offer people. And no right to expect their respect or cooperation. It's a dog eat dog world out there and there is no reason to side with people who only think about themselves and don't ever put the community first.
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Jonathan Gutheinz vents about everything under the sun.