First off, try to have crappy parents. When your parents are shit, the sky’s the limit. If your mother’s currently serving life in prison for murdering your father because she was a regular hooker and he was a tranny hooker trying to steal her John, and you’ve managed to hold a job as a Chevron attendant for six whole months then you’re a genius! But for the rest of us who only have moderately bad to actually good parents, a higher bar is set.
First off, let me clarify: There are certain things ones parents will always exceed at. My mother, for example, is very good at being a heroin addict. One could say it is her calling. I’m not after her heroin glory. I do, however want to learn from her mistakes. In my experience, that’s just three easy steps away.
The fist step is to figure out where your parents are lacking that coincides with where you want to succeed. All of us, even those of us with wonderful parents can look at them and see what they could do but don’t. My father is a wonderful storyteller, a creative and charming man. As much as he fantasizes about it, he has never been able to make money from his writing. I would like to succeed where he has (thus far) failed.
The second step is to get outside help. If you parent’s don’t know how to do something, and they taught you how to be a person, chances are you don’t know how to do it either. This can mean different things based on what your goals are, but chances are, if no one in your family understands what you’re doing (in therapy, at school, in an internship) but your friends do, you’re on the right track. Be warned, the “my parents don’t understand me but my friends do” defense only works if you’re not a teenager, not a bad person, and not doing bad things.
The third step is to never give up, but to know when to quit. I know, it’s so cryptic, but what did you expect with three easy steps?! Nobody gets it right the first try. Say you’ve always wanted to be musical, unlike your tone-deaf parents who think KISS stands for “Knights in Satan’s Service,” and that it’s a bad thing. After 2 months of guitar lessons, you’re no closer to shredding, your fingers hurt and the downstairs neighbor keeps pounding on the ceiling with a broom. Well, have you considered quitting the guitar in favor of the ukulele? It has less strings, and makes less noise. Also, it’s easy to carry. Not a hipster, and not interested in becoming one? There are literally thousands of other instruments at your disposal, the world is your oyster.
If you want to do better than your parents did, get out of your comfort zone. Try new things, go new places. Experience life. Take all the good things they taught you and add your own gems to the mix. Don’t do it for your kids (you might not have any) or your parents (they might not care.) Do it for yourself as a human. You were made to be awesome, so be awesome!