My Father Taught Me The Three Fundamentals of Success

Maybe he wasn't a saint, but my dad taught me the three fundamentals of success, and for that I am very thankful.

My Father Taught Me The Three Fundamentals of Success

I was reminded of my father today. He passed away a long time ago. One of the most interesting effects of time is its ability to heal wounds and amplify strengths. If I let time mesmerize me, my father was a saint. When the clock stops its hypnotic ticking, I realize that he was far less holy, but he really was an amazing teacher.

Abstract Thinking

My Father taught me, it cost the same to think big as it does to think small - He was right! But the really successful people I have met can actually do both at the same time. It is this rare ability that is abstract thinking. It is the ability to understand why something works and at the same time what to do with that knowledge. The ability to connect short term tasks to long term goals is a difficult line to maintain. The two cannot be done without abstract thinking as there is typically no frame of reference or blueprint for the task. By understanding the relationship between the present and the future, the abstract thinker can execute a plan to deliver theory to reality, in understanding or action. This is the ultimate purpose or end result of abstract thinking.

Work Ethic

My father taught me that no one can take away your hard work. It is what it is. It is your work ethic. This I did not understand until I was older. My father was the guy who, when I got a 92 on an exam asked me what happened to the other 8 points. In my Freshman year of school while my father was paying my bills, the reward for the hard work did not seem worth the sacrifice. In the second semester of my Freshman year he simply gave me 30 days notice regarding my GPA and cut me off for six months. I was left with no choice but to get a 4.0 each semester otherwise my rent would not be subsidized. By the time I got to the real world workforce, I simply realized the same thing: You can be taught to work hard, and those around you cannot help but notice when you do. They cannot claim it, because it is unquestionably yours. Working hard does not always come from abstract thought but it often takes an abstract thinker to do the hard work.


My father taught me to question, to listen and to learn. What I did not understand he taught me. When I didn't listen, he raised his voice. When he was unsure if I had learned something he would test me. During adult conversations, other children were told to leave the room, go play somewhere else and stop causing a ruckus. I was told sit still, absorb what was being said, because later there would be a test. The test he was referring to was life itself. At times life seemed like a chore until I realized that intellect was accretive. Intellect was acquired. The more you acquired the easier it became. I questioned, I listened and I learned that it takes abstract thinking and hard work to evolve the intellect. These three things are the essence of success. My father taught me that.

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Frank White

New Yorker in his forties. His counsel is sought by many, offered to few. Traveled the world in search of answers, but found more questions.

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