When I think of people that have had a profound effect on the way I live my life, one person in particular comes to mind: my Grandad. My Grandad--'the Captain', as my family affectionately calls him--graduated third in his class from West Catholic High School and enrolled in the NROTC program at Villanova as means of tuition payment. He served in the navy as a gunnery officer during the Korean War, raised a family of six children, and still today, as a stubborn and independent 88 year old, does his own taxes manually.
When I was a child, truth be told, I was a bit scared of my Grandad. He has always been very strict (especially with his only son, my Dad) and absolutely refuses to smile for pictures, telling us "We weren't allowed to smile in the navy." To a little kid, that sort of personality was hard to understand. As I have grown older, I have come to realize that my Grandad embodies many of the character traits that I strive to attain. Here is a condensed list of some of the most valuable advice he has given me:
1. Hard work pays off.
There are no shortcuts on the path to success; if you really want to achieve something, it’s up to you to put in the time and effort. The greatest payoff comes from the hardest won battles.
2. Do what you love and success will follow.
If you are truly passionate about something, you can find a way to make a career out of it. There is absolutely no point in pursuing something in order to make money if it makes you miserable.
3. Stick to your principles.
In a world as superficial and complicated as our own, it is easy to get caught up in the hazy gray areas of moral justification. Don't let this happen! It takes work, but moral principles are worth hanging on to; you'll have more respect for yourself because of it.
4.You are smarter than you think you are.
Don't ever let anyone make you think otherwise.
5. Speak up.
Your opinions matter. Just be sure you can articulate them and back them up with facts. Trust me, don’t even try to debate with this man unless you come prepared.
6. Read. Every. Day.
Even if it's just the newspaper--work those brain muscles! Knowledge is power, my friends.
7. Be independent.
Self-reliance is an underrated skill--from basic life skills to trusting your own abilities, learn how to fend for yourself and you'll be truly thankful you did.
8.Take care of yourself.
This seems obvious, but you're gonna be stuck in the skin you're in forever. Eat right, exercise, and learn to love yourself.
9. Say what you mean, mean what you say.
Life would be a whole lot simpler if people were more honest. Don't be a people pleaser--you don't have to change your opinions or beliefs to make someone else like you better.
10. And above all: Family is everything.
Make time for your family. Whether this your flesh and blood, your closest friends, or both, don't let these relationships suffer. Winning a stupid argument or disagreement is not worth losing the most important people in your life. Forgive and forget, offer your support, and most importantly, love them.
Take it from the Captain himself.