This is quite a personal blog post on some life lessons from my father. I wanted to share this post with you as I hope it contains some valuable insights for you to take away.
However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had not been back to Birmingham to see friends or family in almost two years!
But, thanks to the UK’s COVID situation improving, I recently took a trip back to my hometown to visit loved ones.
The weekend that I visited Birmingham was also a poignant one for my family, as it would have been my Dad’s 93rd birthday.
Little did I know that during my trip, Dad would give me his own birthday present — some top life lessons via a handwritten note and a book published in 1958!
Who Was George Tubb?
My Father, George William Tubb, was born in 1928.
To put that into context, the first ever Mickey Mouse cartoon “Steamboat Willie” was created just two months after Dad was born!
He and my mom, Helen, had me later in life, when Dad was 48 years old.
Three years later, my younger brother Paul was born.
Growing up, Dad was what I’d consider an old school Gentleman.
My Dad made conversation with anybody, anywhere (which I hated as a child, but have now come to appreciate as a desirable skill), was very polite, was the type of chap to hold doors open for ladies, and enjoyed reminiscing about the movies of his youth – The Golden Age of Cinema.
Dad passed away on November 17th 2010, aged 82, and his funeral was the main catalyst for me selling my IT business and becoming an author and speaker.
You see, at Dad’s funeral, I learned a great deal about legacy and the positive impact you can make on other’s lives.
My Dad wasn’t a “successful” man by any typical measurement of success.
Dad had humble ambitions, worked in a factory most of his life and wasn’t rich or famous.
However, at Dad’s funeral, I was struck by the large number of people who attended the service and then approached me to tell me stories of how Dad had helped them out — through friendship, emotional or sometimes even financial support.
Some of these people hadn’t seen Dad in over twenty years, but came to his funeral as they wanted to show their respect to him.
They also wanted to share with me and my brother the impact he’d made on their lives.
For me, Dad’s funeral was an amazing lesson in legacy and how the actions we take every day can help others in ways we may not even understand at the time.
A Surprising Birthday Gift from My Father
Since my mid-twenties, I’ve had a thirst for knowledge and for the past few years have regularly read 30+ books each year.
Many of the books I read are what would be described as being from the “Self Development”, or “Self Help” genre.
Growing up, I saw that my Dad had a fondness for reading books, but never really paid attention to the books he collected in his library.
That changed when I visited Birmingham recently and stayed with my Mom in my childhood home.
Mom had left Dad’s library of books in his old room, and so I decided to take a closer look at them.
To my surprise, despite the age of the books, there were a large number of books on self improvement.
One such book caught my eye — The Formula For Success by Dr. Gustav Grossman, published in 1957.
The book describes itself as “A revolutionary method which can be applied individually and enables the reader to recognise his abilities and utilise them for personal success.”
A Handwritten Note from My Dad
Intrigued, I picked the book up to read it and when I opened it, a handwritten note from my Dad fell out of the book!
As you can see, Dad’s notes included thoughts on:-
- The lack of target is the chief reason for the lack of success
- You must find your purpose yourself
- If you recollect your early childhood, you will find there in miniature that which your heart still desires today
- He who has no purpose would be well advised to acquire one
- By imitating the bodily expressions of various moods, I can act myself into those moods
- Everybody lets himself be influenced to his advantage.
I will freely admit that I was shocked to find this note from Dad, as I’d never once considered that he and I had shared an interest in the same area of self development.
When I showed the note to my Mom, she told me that Dad was always reading such books to learn how to improve himself.
I must admit, I become very emotional realising that, some eleven years after his passing, my Dad and I shared a passion that I never knew about when he was alive.
Since then, I’ve sat down to read “The Formula for Success” book and to absorb some lessons from my father.
The Formula For Success
The book “The Formula For Success” was written in 1957 by Dr. Gustav Grossmann.
I’ve since researched Dr. Grossmann, and found that he was a German psychologist and writer.
Dr Grossmann created a pschotechnology methodology for rationalisation called “The Grossmann Method”
During the first world war, Dr Grossmann sustained severe war injuries.
As a result of his injuries, Dr Grossmann was prompted to develop a system for “self-realisation” and performance improvement.
Despite Dr Grossmann’s passing in 1978, interest in his “Grossmann Method” continues to this day, with a website, Facebook page and community of fans.
The copy of “The Formula for Success” that Dad acquired had been translated from the original German into English language.
Being written in 1957, some of the language that Grossmann uses in his book may seem dated by modern standards, but many of the lessons within the book are, in my opinion, evergreen.
As a result, I thought I might share three of the key lessons from my father that Dad highlighted in his notes about the book.
Lessons from My Father – Your Early Childhood Influence on Present Day Desires
When I read my Dad’s handwritten note on “If you recollect your early childhood, you will find there in miniature that which your heart still desires today“, I was immediately struck by the sentiment for me, personally.
This is a lesson from my father that I could not have realised until later in my life.
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, Mom and Dad saw my interest in computers.
As a result, they bought me a second-hand Atari 600XL computer (you can read more in my article on Remembering My First Computer).
My parents, and schoolteachers, encouraged my interest in computers.
As a result, in my thirties, I built and sold a Birmingham-based IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) business.
To this day, I’m fascinated with technology and the application of computing in our everyday lives.
I sometimes wonder where I’d be, if Mom and Dad hadn’t encouraged my love of computers when I was younger.
My Childhood Passions As Present Day Hobbies
As I’ve become older, another passion I’ve maintained is a love of retro computing.
I’ve collected the Atari’s, Commodore’s, Spectrum and BBC Micro’s that I knew as a child. I now enjoy them as a hobby as an adult.
Geeky? Absolutely! But I think there is a lesson from my father here within my Dad’s note on Grossmann’s philosophy.
Can you think of any childhood interests that you might revisit?
Perhaps there is some way you could re-engage with them to increase your present happiness?
For instance, we recently had a makeover of the back garden at our home in Killingworth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
As a child, I was always interest in wildlife and, specifically, the wee beasties that lived in ponds.
So, I asked the garden designers if they’d incorporate a wild pond into our new back garden.
Since it has been finished, our new pond has already attracted a newt, frogs, toads and other wildlife. I’ve enjoyed many hours sitting in the garden relaxing in an arbour by the pond.
Therefore, my question to you would be this. What passions did you have in early childhood that you may have forgotten about?
Do you think you could you re-ignite those passions again now?
Lessons from My Father – Imitate Moods To Act Yourself Into Them
I was very intrigued to read Dad’s note on “By imitating the bodily expressions of various moods, I can act myself into those moods“.
This lesson from my father struck a chord with me.
I have been quite open about my own mental health challenges. I’ve experienced episodes of clinical depression which have impacted those around me.
Therefore, I have become passionate about raising awareness of mental health for business owners.
As a result, I’ve created a page with Mental Health Resources for MSP Business Owners and written a book called The IT Business Owner’s Survival Guide that helps IT business owner’s manage their stress levels.
What struck me about Dad’s note is something that I’ve been learning recently. I’ve heard, from various sources, about changing your state of being.
In short, if you’re in a poor mood, then ask yourself. What are the actions you could you take to shake your body and mind into a better place?
Music To Shift Your State
For example, music is a powerful impactor on our moods, and thanks to my friend Grace Marshall and her article What’s on Your Pick Me Up Playlist?, I’ve now got a list of music that I can play to help improve my mood.
“Alexa, play my ‘pick me up playlist'” is a frictionless way for me to shift my perspective.
While Amazon Echo wasn’t around when my Dad was alive, I think this is a lesson from my father that is applicable in any age!
Trampoline Your Way To Happiness!
I’ve also purchased a Mini Trampoline for our back garden.
Trust me when I say that it’s *really* difficult to be in a bad mood after a short-time bouncing up and down on a trampoline! 🙂
While my neighbours probably think I’m yampy (A Birmingham term for a “foolish person”) it never fails to shake my body and mind up!
As a result, I’ve bought mini trampolines for friends. Once my friends have overcome looking like an idiot, they have enjoyed bouncing their way to happiness.
Therefore, the next time you’re feeling low, angry, sad or hopeless, ask yourself. What could you do to imitate moods as a way to act yourself into them?
Lessons from My Father – You Must Find Your Purpose
When Dad’s note fell out of the book, the very first thing that struck me was his note on “You Must Find Your Purpose Yourself“.
I feel like this was an important life lesson from my father.
So many of us do things because we think we should.
As a result, many of us spend time doing things that don’t make us happy, or, indeed, fulfil us.
For instance, I mentioned earlier that Dad’s passing was the catalyst for me selling my IT business. I then became an author and speaker.
My purpose in life for the past few years has been to help IT business owners. I want to help them to avoid the mistakes that I made.
Reminding Yourself of Your Purpose
As I’ve become busier and more in-demand, there are times that I’ve become disillusioned. I have sometimes felt as though I couldn’t meet all my obligations.
This is where reminding myself of the impact of my purpose has been effective.
Some of you may know that I’m a great believer in journalling (you can hear me talk more about this on my Podcast interview with Chris Ducker “How to Journal for Business Growth“.)
Each day I write down (at least!) three awesome things that have happened that day.
Often, those three things I write down will include positive feedback. They will include kind words that have been shared with me by people who have read my books. Or perhaps people have seen me speak, or otherwise been impacted by my work.
Using The Jar of Awesome
To build upon this, a few years ago, my good friend Polly Brennan encouraged me to create a Jar of Awesome.
Now, every time I get some amazing feedback, I write it on a paper note. I then pop that note into the jar.
As a result, anytime I need reminding of my purpose, I read some notes from my Jar of Awesome!
Interestingly, Dr Grossmann refers to a similar concept in his book, The Formula For Success.
Grossmann refers to this concept as a “Lucky Diary“, where people record happy experiences in a diary on a daily basis.
The goal is to achieve a positive point of view and strengthen positive feelings. In doing so, you remind yourself of your purpose in life.
It seems that, despite being written in 1957, many of the ideas from Dr. Grossmann’s book are still very relevant today!
Conclusion – Lesson from my father
Finding my Dad’s handwritten note in the 1957 book by Dr. Gustav Grossmann’s “The Formula for Success” was a surprise for me on many levels.
Firstly, it revealed a side of my Dad’s nature and interests that I wasn’t aware of.
It seems both my Dad and I shared a lifelong passion for improving ourselves.
Secondly, many of the lessons my father took from this 1950’s book are still very relevant today.
- You must have a purpose in life (and remind yourself often of what it is)
- It is possible to (in some cases, literally!) shake yourself out of low moods. By doing so, you can shift your mind and body in into a better place
- Remembering childhood passions, and revisiting them, can help bring greater happiness in the present day
Thank you for allowing me to share this personal topic with you. I hope you’ve found my insights (or should I say, top life lessons from my father!) useful.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch.