Dear Son: Seek the Truth

Dear son,

Two guys were once childhood friends. They were roughly the same age. They grew up in the rich suburb of a world-renown city and did not have any need unfulfilled. They bonded over their love of sports. They invited each other to their birthday parties and slept over each other’s house numerous times. They were the best of friends.

Then they got older and their paths diverged. They spent less time together and by the time they reached high school, they did not talk to each other. One pursued the path of knowledge. The other embarked on the path of music.

Fast forward 15 years. They are both in their 30’s. One makes over half a million a year and the other relies on his parents for support.

How can two people with similar beginnings end in vastly different places?

You may say that the first guy works hard while second guy was lazy.

In most cases, you would be correct. A lazy person will never overcome obstacles. And without work, there will be no glory. Laziness is the #1 reason a person gets nowhere in life.

But what if I told you that the second guy works just as hard. They both spend 12 hours a day on their craft.

The first guy spends 12 hours a day becoming the best at curing the sick. He has a more patients than he can handle.

The second guy spends 12 hours a day composing and playing music. He practices in the garage and once in a while performs for college kids in public.

Yet, the world throws money at the former and withholds from the latter.

Don’t be surprised, son. While laziness guarantees failure, hard work does not guarantee success. For the few that works hard, there will still be a substantial portion who will not achieve their dreams.

Why won’t hard work guarantee success? Because most spend their energy on worthless pursuits. They run as hard as they can, but in the wrong direction.

You probably heard the story of John Henry. If not, here is a quick summary:

In the mid-1800’s, there was a strong man — John Henry — who was the best at drilling through rocks. In a day, he could tunnel through 12 feet while the normal worker can only do 6 feet. He was unbeatable.

One day, a salesman came and said that his steam-powered drill could out-drill any man. John Henry, protecting his title as the best driller in the US, challenged the machine to contest. The rules were simple: drill the most within 35 minutes.

John held a hammer in each in each hand and cleaved. The machine whirled into life and chiseled at the rocks. The audience stared in awe. No matter how much sweat poured down John’s face, he kept hammering away.

At the end of 35 minutes, John carved two 7-foot holes — for a total of 14 feet. The steam-powered drill drilled only one 9-foot hole.

John won. He held up his hammers in triumph, then dropped dead. He died of exhaustion.

Here was a man who worked so hard, he worked himself to death. For what? 5 minutes of glory? And after his passing, the steam-powered drill kept on drilling and drilling and drilling.

Over the long run, the machine won.

This popular folklore does more harm than good. Many view John Henry as a legendary, hard-working, great man. But hard work by itself does not cut it. You must first find something worth doing. And winning a meaningless contest only to lose your life is not something worth doing.

All roads may lead to Rome, but not all roads lead to success. Thus, before starting the grind, you must first figure out what is worth doing. In other words, find the truth. However, you may have a tough time finding it.

Truth is not celebrated in the current society — a place which elevates feeling good over reality. Elevating one road above all others means most travelers are walking down the wrong path. And people don’t like to be told that they’re wrong. It is unpopular and even dangerous to seek the truth and even more to speak it.

“You can’t say that because it is misogynistic.”

“You can’t say that because it is racist.”

“You can’t say that because it is offensive to someone somewhere.”

The censorship comes in the form of political correctness.

If truth causes feelings of inadequacy or inferiority, it cannot be spoken. Therefore, absolute truth has been replaced with moral relativism, where feelings define what is “true.” They say, “There is no right or wrong. I have my version of truth and you have your version of truth.”

When feelings surpass truth in importance, you cannot correct or rebuke. You cannot speak freely, but speak in a way as to not offend. You must tolerate foolishness. Gibberish is given the same credence as wisdom.

A society that accepts all things as truth offers no direction and no pain, which results in chaos. You see it around you. Weak males and domineering females. Elevation of hedonistic pleasures and degradation of honest work. Virtue replaced by vice.

When everything is permissible and claims itself to be true, even falsehood masquerades as truth. Young boys who were led astray do not know how to become men.

Beware! There is a danger to ignoring or being ignorant of truth. Everyone will have to face it one day. And those who have not prepared will endure the consequences.

Some will experience the consequences in this life, such as little Johnny upon the eventual passing of his over-protective parents.

Some will experience them in the next, such as the person who keeps on denying the existence of God, only to find out He exists.

Truth will not care if you were not aware. You will deal with the consequences if you have not prepared.

In the sea of falsehood masquerading as truth, truth is hard to find. There are also people who want to keep you from it, to profit at your ignorance. But if you keep on looking, you will find it. For instance, my letters will show you whatever little truth I know to help you become a son I can be proud of and a man others would respect.

Above all else, seek what is real. Seek the truth. Lest the consequences seek you.

Sincerely,

Dad

P.S. If you’re 30 years old or older and a struggling musician, don’t expect me to support you.

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