There is a scene in the Iron Man movie franchise.
Been dead for almost 20 years; still taking me to school.
I love that line.
Dads are like that. They teach us things.
To be fair, life is like that. It teaches us something new every single day — if we are willing to learn. But dads have a special place. Why? Because, for most of us, they are our first heroes. Before Superman, Batman and Wolverine, I looked up to my dad.
So what did my Dad teach me?
#1. Always be willing to learn something new
10 years back, I used to jokingly tell my friends — I wouldn’t be surprised if some day my dad tells me he is the Director of the CIA. Why? Because he knew something about everything. Was he born this way? Of course not. But he made it his mission to learn some of the things about any of the trade crafts he came across.
I remember calling my dad to tell him my symptoms along with the medicines the doctor had prescribed, and anything he said No to — I would simply discard it. It has been 15 years and that habit hasn’t let me down. Even once. Is he a doctor? No; he’s a civil engineer. So, Why? Because he made it his mission to learn something that fascinated him. How did he do that without training in the medical sciences? I have no idea! The only thing I can tell you — my sister, who is a doctor, calls him up to ask what medicines she should take. That’s how powerful the thirst for knowledge is.
#2. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. But never start with what your affordability is.
I have seen the underbelly of the unorganised world of retail. I have seen the world where there is a brand, but the name doesn’t matter.
This was 20–22 years ago, maybe. But there was a practice my father would always follow which I found peculiar. When we would be in a shop looking for something, the shopkeeper always wanted to know the price range we were most comfortable in, and my dad would always say No. He would want to see everything the guy had to offer and look at things that ACTUALLY DID make him feel good about them. Then, and only then, would he inquire about the price. And that was the point when he would decide whether he could (or wanted to) buy it or not.
He would never start looking for options that were ‘best suited for his budget’. In his opinion, that restricts you from looking at things you would be happy with.
#3. If people agree with you, great. If not, that’s fine!
Like most of us, my dad has some biases. Some hardwired thought processes. He may be right, or (as it most of the times happens) he may be wrong in my opinion. But, we can always have a healthy conversation around it. He is quick in calling out our differences and in pointing out that we have two different thought processes altogether, but he would never say my thought process is wrong. He would give his arguments, but he would respect mine as well.
This — in my opinion — is the strongest gift he imparted me. To be open to differing views. To know that my way isn’t the best way necessarily.
There are people all around us who teach us something every single day of our lives — if we keep ourselves open to learning from those interactions and experiences.
I have learnt about marketing from the security guards at Myntra’s office. I have learnt about sales from the cigarette shop vendor who would sell me 1 more cigarette than I had asked for — back in 2011. Everyone I have interacted with has taught me something or the other. Were they qualified enough? Who cares. Should I have been keeping an active eye out to find a life lesson there? That’s the whole point. That’s what my dad taught me.
What my dad taught me → I MUST!!!