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living in the hood

6 harsh truths your parents never told you

Here are 6 harsh truths that your parents should have told you about to prepare you for the world. Embrace these and you’ll free your mind.

Ed Latimore
Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

I just finished reading an excellent book called The Lifestyle Blueprint.

There is a section that really stood out to me that I got the author’s permission to summarize. The section is titled “What Your Parents Should Have Told You” and in it, the author lays out 6 harsh truths that your parents didn’t tell you, likely because they were:

  • Ignorant of them
  • Too nice
  • Too politically correct
  • Simply “protecting” you

That last one is likely the most confusing. 

Most of our parents want to see us do well and have a good life. To them, this often means taking the safest path. To us, this means the opposite.

In theory, we have the same goal. In application, they are diametrically opposed. Failure to realize this has ruined many parent/child relationships.

The other 3 make sense. Or, at the very least, they will make clear sense after you finish reading this newsletter. Without further ado, I present to you The 6 Harsh Truths Your Parents Should Have Told You from The Life Style Blueprint.

The lifestyle blueprint 6 harsh truths
The lifestyle blueprint 6 harsh truths

Harsh Truth #1: Most people are “Jamokes”

“It’s a playful term that describes people that don’t think for themselves and lack self-awareness. Basically, it’s another term for an NPC.

As controversial as it might be to say, this fits most people (around 80-90%). You see, most people serve one purpose: being cogs that help run the machine of society. They don’t break the rules, and don’t think outside the box – and that’s fine. Society does need these people after all (though you almost certainly do not want to be one of them).

It might even be fair to say that we’re all “jamokes” as a default when we’re born. It’s only through experience, grit, action, and self-exploration that we can break out of this “jamoke trap”.

Some figure that out. Most never do.”

Every “risky” thing I’ve done, I’ve had someone tell that it wasn’t a good idea or that it’d never work. This includes boxing, joining the army, writing about my sobriety, building my website, and spending so much time building and growing on social media.

Doing the risky and challenging things then set me up for an enjoyable able fulfilling life now.

The safe path protects you from failure, but it also prevents greatness. You’ll never be on food stamps, but you’ll never fly in first class either. You’ll never be homeless, but you’ll never be truly happy. Because you never take huge risks, you’ll never have great rewards.

The way I Iive now results from going my own way, seeing what other people couldn’t see, and believing in myself more than I believed in being safe in society. The truth of the matter is that this safety is a trade-off anyway.

The good and bad things of life still happen to you. The difference is that when you’re living life on your terms, you’re not only more resilient against the effects of these things, but you’re also better able to recover from any damage that you do suffer. It doesn’t seem like all is lost when you’re already excited to live each day on your chosen path. 

The riskiest thing to do is take no risks at all. Playing it safe keeps you from really ever playing at all.

Check out the rest of my articles on living in the hood

Harsh Truth #2: Looking Stupid is the Barrier to Entry 

“If you want to be great at anything, you’ve got to suck at it first. Nobody looks glamorous at the start of their journey.”

If you aren’t willing to look stupid, you’ll never have a chance to be brilliant.

This is another mentality that holds people back. Most people aren’t really interested in taking risks, even if the upside would be a significant upgrade and the downside is almost non-existent.

That’s because risks take work, and people try to avoid work. Especially work that isn’t necessary. Once they’ve achieved a certain level of comfort, most people do not take risks and go after what they want. I’ve seen this in everyone from guys making $12/hr to $120k/yr. 

Interestingly enough, this stagnation seems to start in the late 20s. By 30, you can see who is going to let middle age win and who will continue to go after what they want. This doesn’t mean that there are no people who have their first success after the age of 30. It means that the chances go down for a person to make sudden life changes after their late 20s. This is mainly due to:

  • Past mistakes are too severe. If you did serious prison time, you’re going to playing the game from behind and it takes so much energy to recover because of how many obstacles you’ll face.
  • Sunk cost fallacy. People have invested such much time and money to a certain education path by the time they’re 30 that they’re convinced they have to make it work even if they don’t enjoy it.
  • Weight of responsibility. The older you get, the more things you’re responsible for. Even if you don’t have kids, you have to cover your living expenses, social life, and “ego investments.”
  • Ego investments. To make real moves and progress after a certain point requires a sharp pivot in life trajectory that often comes with an apparent downgrade and regression in lifestyle. People’s ego and image refuse to do this. 

    Few people want to be a 30 year old college freshman or private in the army. Even fewer are willing to move in with their parents or take on roommates so they can work lower paying job that gives them the flexibility to invest in a dream.

Harsh Truth #3: You Must Remove Time from Your “Income” Equation 

“I remember back in college, when I had hopes and dreams of how much money I’d make one day.

I’d calculate it in my head. If I can make X dollars an hour and work for Y hours per week, I’d be able to make $100,000 a year. This was the dream. Many people do this same thing. It’s an act of limiting the amount of money you can make, by the amount of hours you can realistically work.

But as long as you tie your income to hours worked, it’ll be limited. After all, you can only work so many hours. The way to make it unlimited is to remove time from the equation completely. Once you do this, you can start to see all the potential ways to make more money.” 

While I don’t think everyone needs to be an entrepreneur, I think everyone needs to have a least one time-independent form of income. Everyone makes a big deal about location-independent income, but time-independent income is where real freedom is found

Working 20-30 hrs a week is still the same, no matter where you are. Making money while you do something elseis how you really set yourself up to live life. Working from home is nice, but if you can figure out how to get a job that pays on commission or assignment, then you get a chance to be semi-time-independent. 

Working on commission to get a taste of time-independent income may sound counterintuitive, but it does two things: 

  1. incentivizes you to actually finish work so you can enjoy spending the money.
  2. Let’s you get a feel for actually generating value as opposed to simply trading time. 

Most people are so stuck in the trading time for money paradigm that they can’t even imagine another way of making a living.

If you want to shift your perspective on the world, shift how you survive in it. 


Harsh Truth # 4: Victim Never Wins

“I spent a lot of time feeling bad for myself in middle school and high school, and I was surprised that no one else seemed to care or feel bad for me. I began to realize that all this self-pity wouldn’t get me anywhere. So, I gave it up, and decided to at least try to make myself better.

I was lucky to have that realization. Many people don’t, and spend their lives playing the victim and making excuses. They never realize that the “victimhood” is the very thing that holds them back, and stops them from actually levelling up.

No one is here to save you, and nobody cares that you play the victim – no matter how warranted your excuses may be. They don’t matter, and the longer you cling to them, the more of a failure you’ll be.”

No one cares about your problems. No one but your mother feels bad for you

Some will pity you, but most people are just happy they aren’t in your shoes; and if you’re complaining, they want you to shut up

This is a harsh truth, but most people are too concerned with their own problems to give a damn about yours. Once you internalize that, you can get on with the business of living and trying to make something of yourself. 

Are there people out there who care about your plight and will go to extraordinary measures to help?

Sure, but you likely won’t meet them. Sorry, that’s just the way probability works. Better to plan for no help and get it than count on it and be left in a really bad spot.


Harsh Truth #5: Be Wary Of Advice From Your Parents

“Our parents were raised to believe all these things as fact. While they had the best intentions for us, teaching us these things actually hurt us.

I’d even go so far as to say, if you do everything your parents tell you to do, you’ve set yourself on the wrong path.”

So at the beginning I mentioned that our parents mostly want us to be safe. This is true and it accounts for a lot of bad advice that they give, but I have to dive a little deeper into this.

I’m 36. The world changed so fast for me that when I was 18 I was carrying a case of cds around and by 21, cd players were outdated. Social media wasn’t even a thing in high school and 5 years later, everyone has a Myspace that was about to be usurped by facebook. Smartphones and wireless internet were still mostly ideas of science of fiction when I was in high school.

I mention this to highlight how quickly things change. I’m not even that old. Your parents are likely older than me and they were raised in a very different world and the advice they give you is based on the rules for that world. 

If you follow it, it’ll be like hunting with a bow and arrow (NOT a crossbow): yes, it can work, but it’s going to take a hell of a lot more time, energy, and frustration than had you used a more technologically up to date rifle or even a crossbow.

Harsh Truth # 6: Your Degree Doesn’t Determine Your Success

“Many people hold themselves back because they think their degree (or lack of one) limits them.

It makes sense - for decades, degrees have been thought of as a professional stamp of approval and competency. A marketing firm would hire somebody with a marketing degree. If you didn’t have a degree, you’d be forced to either get a lower wage job, start your own business, or try your hand at sales.

But times are changing, and more and more companies focus on skills and experience over degrees…”

I have my bachelor’s degree in Physics. That’s certainly an interesting degree that makes people stop and take notice, but it’s got almost nothing to do with how I earn my living.

I’m proud that I did it, but the truth is that I’m successful in life so I was able to finish college—not vice-versa.

If you still harbor that idea that college is a guaranteed way to success, I’ll tell you a quick story. Once upon a time, I worked at a Starbucks where almost everyone had a college degree and many had master’s degrees. Contrast that to a short list of companies who are hiring without a college degree:

  • Apple
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Hilton
  • Ernst & Young
  • AirBNB
  • Facebook
  • Oracle

This isn’t me telling you to go or not go to college. Just make sure you’ve researched the decision and know exactly what you’re getting into. I’ll leave you with a quote from Laura Lorenzetti:

“The four-year degree isn’t gone altogether, but we’re starting to see a shift in what these companies are looking for. There’s a growing emphasis on skills over school as they compete for top talent. People still see the four-year degree as a signaling factor, but companies are taking experience as seriously as a four-year college degree.” 

There are your harsh truths. I highly recommend checking out the rest of the book here. 

Check out the rest of my articles on living in the hood

Ed Latimore
About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

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