It was my dad who has taught me the most important life lesson, and it is that lesson that has made me the man I am today. You have to understand that my dad is a man of a few words so, when he speaks, his words are always meaningful and well thought out. He shared this wonderful piece of wisdom when I was about 13 years old, and at first, I completely missed the lesson. It was only at age 19, that I fully understood what he meant when he said those words that would have such a significant impact on me.
That particular summer morning, he had set out to replace the brakes on the family car, as my dad always maintained his own vehicles. I volunteered to assist him in this task and he accepted. We headed off to the garage, armed with the shop manual, the correct tools and a 1970’s era bumper jack (these were made up of three main components; the base, the notched vertical bar and a lever you would use to lift the car with each stroke). I installed the jack under the bumper to safely lift the car, like I had seen him do many times before. However, this time, my dad said the words that would shape my life to come: ” Son, life is like that car jack; you have to go up a notch every day.”
What did he mean? At that time, I had no idea of the significance of his statement, and I did not understand just how profound and accurate the comment he shared was.
Six years later, when I left College and my life was in turmoil, I was pondering my options for the future and revisiting some moments in my past. That particular day was easy to remember and stood out, because my mother became acutely ill and was taken to the hospital before we could finish the brake job.
What did he mean by “You have to go up a notch every day”? After much reflection on the statement, I realized, he had meant self improvement. Elevating one’s self. With this realization, I decided that from that point on I would not rest until I had learned something new every day. Therefore, every night I ask myself this question: “ Robert, have you learned anything new today?” If yes, then I sleep well. If not, I stay up and read a few chapters in a book or search the web and actively seek new knowledge.
You might wonder how applying this habit can greatly improve your life? Here are some of the key benefits of “going up a notch every day”:
- You keep your brain healthy
- You increase your knowledge base
- You find better solutions to problems, faster
- You add more value to the lives of others around you
- You live a fuller life
- Your skill set will increase
- You become a better person
So, take the challenge, learn something every day and reap the rewards.