Life Advice From Famous Dads

life advice from famous dads
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“My dad said, “Don’t take life too seriously,” and more than anything, he always told me to pursue my dreams.” —Conrad Anker

INTERVIEWS: Life Advice from Famous Men

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“I idolized my father, but for whatever reason, it was hard for us to talk. He was the chief of police in Riviera Beach, Florida, and I never knew him out of uniform. I was young when he left to fight in World War II. Years later, when I visited Germany, he gave me the name of a woman to look up. She was beautiful, and after I spent the afternoon with her, it was obvious that they had had more than just a friendship. It was very difficult for me to face that. He’d been right in the thick of it, when you don’t know if you’re going to see tomorrow, and he did what I would do: He lived every day like it was his last. I think he wanted me to find out that nobody’s perfect.” —Burt Reynolds

“When I was 17, the Dodgers tried to sign me to a $5,000 contract to play shortstop. My dad said, “You aren’t going to get a degree and make something of yourself that way”—it was a turning point in my life. I went to Florida State, got a B.S., an M.S., and an honorary doctorate in the humanities.” —Lee Corso

“You look at your children and it’s like you’re peering into a big magic mirror, and it speaks to you: “What you see before you is a reflection of your best and worst qualities. Deal with it.” Best thing that ever happened to me.” —Don Henley

FATHERS: For Advice and Stories About Dad, Check Out the Men's Journal Fatherhood Hub

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“My father hated a liar. He died when I was nine, but if I learned anything from him, I learned that.” —Merle Haggard

“My grandfather always said, “Never work against Mother Nature.” It wasn’t specific to animals, but I definitely adopted his philosophy.” —Cesar Millan

“My father and mother emphasized two things: Every person is responsible for his or her own actions, and, to the best of your ability, leave the world better than you found it.” —Bill Nye

“My father used to say, “You know, Marty, the key to life is to do the decent thing.” I’d like to be remembered as someone who tried to do the decent thing.” —Martin Short

“My dad told me, “Believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter that you’re from a small town in Michigan. Whatever it is you’re going after, go get it. You’re as good as they are.” And when you’re sitting in waiting rooms, with Yale and Juilliard and the Royal Academy of Arts, and when they ask, “Where did you go?” And you say, “Central Michigan,” and the whole room is silent, and they all look away… my dad was saying, ‘Go get it.’ And I did.” —Jeff Daniels

“The life is so youth-oriented, it keeps me young. And that obviously relates to how I approach parenting—doing things that are more fun with my kids; not just being the role-model guy all the time. You definitely have to set some boundaries, but I also want to participate with my kids and to have fun.” —Tony Hawk

“Well, you’re not going to like this, and it sounds awful and terrible, but my grandfather was rough as a cob. The advice he gave me all the time was—’If you’re going to hit a cocksucker, kill ‘em.’ It means stop beating your mouth around, quit talking about what you’re going to do or what you’re not going to do, don’t go in there, you know, half-assing it. Just go in there and do it.” —John Mellencamp

“When I was around 10, my father said, “Son, if you don’t have respect, you have nothing.” I didn’t understand that then, but I understand it now, at 55. Every few years, and each time with more conviction, my father would remind me of this.” —Sugar Ray Leonard

“From me dad, who said, ‘To be properly contented, son, a man needs three things: a job, a sport, and a hobby.’ So in my case, my job is singer, my sport is football, my hobby is model railroading.” —Rod Stewart

“As a teenager, I’d get frustrated by people who I thought were not smart, and my father told me, “Son, don’t ever get frustrated by stupid people. Being mad at stupidity is like being mad at grass—it’s everywhere.” —James Carville

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