I call this style of writing DJ fiction, because it’s just like a DJ spinning records. A lot of different eras of my life have been mashed together to create this hybrid form of reality that is a mixture of truth and fiction. This story shows how to build your mind and master your life.
My father called me into the garage early on a Saturday morning. It was a cold Minnesota day, and I hated when he forced me to do this. I zipped up my jacket and walked outside.
“Are you ready?” He asked, staring intensely at me with his camouflage hat and work gloves on. The family van was already backed in, and the hood was up.
“I’d rather be inside sleeping,” I said sarcastically back to him.
“Well get used to moments like this,” he said. “This is what life is like when you’re an adult. You have to do the things you don’t want to do if you’re going to be successful.“
I hated when my father would talk this way.
Everything became a weird, twisted, metaphor about life when I worked with him. It was like he couldn’t control his imagination, and he’d drag innocent people into the alternate-reality worlds of his mind. The simplest of issues, became complex, when you tried to work with him.
Everything had to mean something. He could never just explain his thoughts like a normal human being in simple A-to-Z linear sentences. His conversations were like talking through a bowl of alphabet soup that only he seemed to understand.
What made our relationship even more difficult was that our personalities were like water and electricity, and the combination never mixed well. He liked movies, and I liked music. He liked working on cars, and I enjoyed playing guitar and dreaming about being a rock musician in my bedroom. We could never agree on anything, which is why there was no shortage of conflict between us as we lived in the same house.
My father pointed at the family van. “The oil has to be changed in the van,” he said. “In case I die tomorrow, which is always a possibility, I want to know that you know how to take care of everything.”
My father had a weird obsession with death that I never understood. He always talked about his life like it was going to end tomorrow. I don’t know why he thought that way, and it bugged me. Even though we didn’t get along very well, I didn’t like thinking about him dying. Death bothered me, even if it didn’t seem to bother him.
I grabbed the oil jugs, funnels, and other tools we would need, and carried them to the front of the van. As I approached my father, he pointed at the engine.
“I want to talk to you about deeper issues than the oil change today.” He said. “I want to show you something I’ve never shown you before.”
Oh great, I thought. An hour long project is going to become a three hour odyssey of me chasing him through the deeper meanings in the madhouse maze of his mind.
I was sixteen years old, and spending time working with him on the family car is not what I wanted to do early on a Saturday morning. But I knew if I complained, he’d tell me to get a job and buy my own freedom like every other adult in the world had to do.
My father pointed at the motor again. “What type of engine is that?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “It’s a V6.”
My father stared at the engine deeper than I’d ever seen a human look at a piece of metal. It was like I could see his ideas run in his mind like they were a pack of horses sprinting freely across the brain cell prairies of his brain.
“You’re right.” He said in a short poignant sentence. “But I want to know more than that. What is a motor? What does it do? Why do we value it so much?”
I winced at hearing my father talk like this. It was too cold to stand outside, and discuss the philosophical meanings of engines. I looked at the motor and did my best to answer him to speed this process up.
“It turns gasoline into power, I guess. That power can take us anywhere we want to go in life. Without car engines, we’d be stuck in one place for the majority of our lives. ”
My father grinned. “I see you’ve learned a lot about engines working with me. But today isn’t about engines. It’s about life. The more engines you have in your life, the more power you will have to create your life the way you want it.”
I avoided eye contact with my father. He had reached the point where he was about to stop making sense. I grabbed the tools and oil cans. I started to work on the car so I could get this over with and go back inside.
My father did something he’d never done before: He grabbed my shoulder and shook me. I’d never been afraid of him before, but I didn’t know what to think as he held me tightly.
“Look at me,” he said. “Once I am dead you never have to listen to me again, but today’s lesson is one of the most important things I am ever going to tell you. Your mind is exactly like that engine, and if you can learn to operate and build your mind correctly, you can use your mind to power yourself to any dream you have in life.”
My father let me go. He stared so deeply in my eyes I could almost see his soul through the black center of his pupils. “The only unfulfilled dream I have in my life is to see you reach your dreams. That’s why it’s essential that you learn this stuff today.”
It shook me to hear my father speak so directly. It was also the first time I could remember hearing how deeply he cared about me in his voice.
“What are you saying?” I asked him.
He drank from his coffee cup.
“I’m trying to say that I see you starting to grow into being your own man. You’re going to go out on your own soon, and find your own first job and paycheck without me. Hundreds of life and financial decisions are about to come rushing at you, and I want you to know how to make the right decisions when they come. Very few people in life actually make it to their dreams. Most get sucked into the black hole of the mistakes they make, and I don’t want you to be one of them. I want you to be able to find your dream life like I have.”
I was dazed as my father spoke to me. It was the first time I was actually understood him, rather than thinking he was bat-crap crazy all the time.
My father pointed at the engine. “I’m happy that you recognize that that is a V6 engine. But do you realize you have to build an engine just like that inside of your mind? Your mind is 100 times as powerful as that engine.”
“Just like that car engine can take you anywhere we want to go in the world, your mind is the engine that can take you to any dream you want in life. That’s really what I want to teach you today. I want to teach you how to build the engine you will need in your mind to find your dream life and unique style of wealth.”
I looked at my father strangely. He hadn’t made sense to me since I became a teenager. But for whatever reason, I understood every word today.
“Go ahead and keep working while I talk. You know enough about cars to work on them on your own now.” He said.
I rolled up my sleeves and unscrewed the oil plug, and I drained the oil into a pan underneath the engine.
“First, to master life, you need to engineer your mind like you’re building a custom engine.”
“Just like a car engine, if you let your mind go and stop doing maintenance on it, your mind will fall apart just like that engine will. But if you take care of it, it can create more than enough power to take you to any dream that you have.”
I climbed under the van and watched the oil drain. I was amazed because I felt the dynamic of our father/ son relationship changing as he spoke to me.
“How many cylinders does that engine have inside it?” He asked me.
“Six.” I responded.
“That’s right.” He said, and I watched him put the next combination of words together like a puzzle in his mind. “Just like that engine, there are six cylinders in a great mind too. Really smart people find their self-worth in the quality of the engineering job they do on their mind, and not in the numbers on their paycheck. Your mind is always your most valuable possession because it’s the only one you will ever own.”
It was spooky listening to him talk because I’d never understood this side of him before.
BUILD YOUR MIND: CYLINDER #1
“The first cylinder in a great mind is the realization that TIME is your most valuable commodity. No matter how much money you may make in life, TIME is the one thing that you will never be able to buy more of.”
“Discipline yourself to never, ever, ever, waste time, or take time for granted. “ He said. “Never under-appreciate the value of time in your life. Study business building, and passive income, and compound interest, so that you can learn how to make time work for you, so you can have more money and time. Master time, and you will be 1/6th of the way of engineering a brilliant mind.”
I watched the old oil drain out of the engine into the drip pan.
BUILD YOUR MIND: CYLINDER #2
“The second cylinder you need to build in your mind is the ability to make great decisions. Every decision you will make matters. Every one of your decisions will create your future and the reality you live in. Understand that your smallest decisions are just as important as the big ones, because the smallest ones become big ones over time. Don’t ever just go with the flow, because the flow can take your life right down the toilet sometimes.”
“Master the numbers in your life. Master your feelings. Put them together, and master your decisions so that you’re always leading yourself to experience a better day tomorrow.”
I let the oil drain out. I put the plug back into the van.
My father anxiously paced in the garage, thinking deeply about all the life lessons that were swarming through his mind.
BUILD YOUR MIND: CYLINDER #3
“The third cylinder you need to build is a passion for freedom. Think independently, and search for the solutions that are right for you. Desire the freedom to be yourself, more than the temptation to accept a big paycheck to become someone you’re not.”
“You will find the life that is right for you, only when you are free to be your true self.”
I stood next to my father and looked at the engine. It was the first time I think we ever understood each other.
My father waved his hands anxiously, “Keep working. It’s cold out and I don’t want to be out here all day.”
I opened an oil jug, and I poured it into a funnel that drained into the engine.
BUILD YOUR MIND: CYLINDER #4
“The fourth cylinder is called, Edge. Edge is what is created when your creativity and courage mix together. Your edge is what will give you the confidence to go out and conquer your path, rather than blindly accepting a path that isn’t right for you. Never give up your edge. If you sacrifice your edge, your body will live on, but your heart and mind will die an early death.”
My father followed me as I put the tools away and started to clean up.
BUILD YOUR MIND: CYLINDER #5 and #6
“Love and Purpose are the final two cylinders that you need to build in your mind. Love and purpose will drive you toward the life you actually want to live, rather than to a life you hate to live. Periodically ask yourself, are you using your life to create more love and purpose? Because that’s ultimately what a great life is about.”
“Serve the world and those in need, and the world will serve your need for love and purpose in return. ”
My father finished talking. I put the tools away, and we looked at each other.
“That is how you engineer an incredibly powerful mind that can take you anywhere you want to go in life. There will be no stopping you.”
My father lowered the hood on the car. He looked at me one final time before we walked inside. “I’m not dead yet, but one day I will be. Build the engine of your mind right, and you will be just fine reaching your dreams without me.”
A special thank you goes out to some, Rock Star Finance Forum friends who’s thoughts and comments helped inspire this story:
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