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What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Simplicity

What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Simplicity

Mastering the Art of Simplicity

    My oldest daughter just turned 13 this week, which means my life, as I have known it, has now changed forever. She is no longer Daddy’s little girl and I am completely outmatched.

    The tide started to change at about age 11 1/2. I didn’t notice at first. I think a father’s brain (when focused on his daughter ) is always slow to adapt. Up until this point I had been her Superman and I felt it. I am not ashamed to admit that it is a feeling I will miss for the rest of my life.

    The changes were slow at first, built up speed, and now I just can’t keep up. We no longer speak the same language. She is much more concerned with her friends, and truth be told, she does not care to spend much time with me. I selfishly long for the days when she was 5 or 6 years old.

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    I do not blame her for any of these feelings. She is becoming a wonderful young lady, with a stutter step here and there, but doing the best she can.

    I am the one who cannot keep up – Do I get any points for at least knowing that?

    I want my daughter to grow and experience life, to have an opinion and stand up for her beliefs. I just don’t want that to have anything to do with me. At the same time, I want her to be 5 forever. It feels like a classic tale that I am an unwitting participant in and have absolutely no control over.

    Now, I realize that this is a common tale and that the role of Dad is now being played by me but has been shared by all fathers who have come before me. To those who made it out alive, I salute you.

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    Learning the Power of Simplicity

    This is not an article on the dynamics of fathers and daughters. This is about learning to be simple. My daughter just taught me that this week.

    Just a few days ago, her boyfriend broke up with her. Now, let’s set aside the fact that her even having a boyfriend is taking years off my life. My job here was to be compassionate. To let her know she should still come to me and we can get through anything together. I have no idea if any of this message gets through, but I try.

    She was upset, she cried. Then she taught me a huge lesson on thinking simply. She held my hand, looked into my eyes and said: “Dad, I just want someone who will hold my hand and listen to TwentyOne Pilots with me”

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      I have not stopped thinking about what she said since. For the last year I have been thinking of my daughter as a complicated puzzle, one for which I had no instructions. The truth is that she is not nearly as complicated as I thought, At least in this one area, she is thinking simply.
      We often speak about motivation but I am starting to wonder if we overcomplicate it. Could we not be more simple?

      What is important to you? Take that image and hit it with a tiny mental hammer. Not hard enough to break it, but perhaps hard enough to knock the dust and dirt off. Let’s focus on the core and not the surroundings.

      I want you to have a grand goal. I want you to believe that you can achieve anything. But why don’t we get to the core of your dream? What is it that you really want? What is your simple truth?
      When I write, I often write about myself. I do this because I know the subject so well and because I hope I can convince you of this: all the crazy emotions, weird thoughts, and irrational fears that you may have, we all have them.

      Is there a handbook on how to get through life? Sure, hundreds. There are religions, societal beliefs, manifestos, and the like. If these help you then I am all in favor. One thing most have in common is to slow down. Become more simple in your thoughts.
      We often get in the way of our own happiness by over-complicating the situation. Both the teachings of the west and the east share this idea:

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        and :

          So this is where we are. I as a crazy, heartsick father, lost in the woods of my daughter’s life, will learn from her. I will slow down and get simple. I am not meant to understand her right now, so I will let that go and love her just the same. I will be slow to speak and slow to anger, because the opposite does no one any good. This is what my teenage daughter taught me about simplicity.

          She just wants some one to hold hands with. I just want to know my daughter. What is the simple truth of what you want?

          Cheers,

          GK

          Featured photo credit: Alexis Brown via uplash.com

          More by this author

          Glenn Killey

          Author, Motivational Speaker, Mindset Coach

          What Is Your Defining Mental Picture? What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Simplicity What An 86 Year Old Man Can Teach Us About Procrastination The Randomness of Life: 3 Steps to Take Back Control The Law of Reversed Effort

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          Last Updated on December 2, 2019

          10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

          10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

          Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

          In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

          These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

          1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

          Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

          But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

          Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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          2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

          You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

          The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

          3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

          If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

          Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

          If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

          4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

          Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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          To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

          In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

          5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

          We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

          If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

          Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

          “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

          6. Give for the Joy of Giving

          When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

          One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

          So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

          7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

          Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

          Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

          8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

          When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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          So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

          9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

          Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

          It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

          It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

          10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

          There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

          But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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          Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

          More About Living a Fulfilling Life

          Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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