Create

Dear Max,

Take a hammer, nails, and a piece of wood. Build something. 

Take a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Write something.

Take a brush and watercolors. Paint something.

Sit at a piano and pick a song. Play something.

Create as much as you can. It’s self fulfilling. It’s confidence building. It’s freeing. 

Love,

Dad

Your Idea v. Theirs

Dear Max,

Your idea of cool, of fun, of happiness is different than theirs.

Your idea of a bad day is different than theirs.

Your idea of luxury, of decadence, of class is different than theirs.

Your idea of love is different than theirs.

Embrace the difference and take the time to understand it. Change isn’t necessary but the ignorance of not knowing or taking the time to understand the difference is.

Love,

Dad

Just do it

Dear Max,

If you want to do something, just do it. 

When you feel like something is right, it generally is. You can spend days, months, years, a lifetime analyzing the rights things to do. But, where does that get you? All you’ve done at that point is wasted time. And, time is the most precious thing we have in life – something you never want to take for granted.

Run based on instincts, and keep moving forward. 

Love,

Dad

Something terrifying

Dear Max,

I wanted to share this thought with you from an incredible entrepreneur and author:

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss

If everything was easy, everyone would be successful. Have one conversation or do one thing daily that terrifies you a bit. You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities open around you and how much knowledge you’ll gain.

Love,

Dad

Hard work pays off

Dear Max,

Late this past summer as I was in the elevator going up in the new World Trade Center in New York I received a text message saying that the offer on our dream house was accepted. At that moment I felt on top of the world – literally.

For the rest of my life I will never forget the place or time or feeling. 

It’s accomplishment. It’s doing enough of the right things in succession to move life and family forward.

It’s dedication. Being dedicated to making the tough decisions and being honest with yourself to continue progress in every facet of your being.

It’s respect. Respecting yourself, your family, your jobs, your money, your friends, your foes and strangers. Respect is a strong phenomenon.

Your mom, you and I are a great team and our hard work is certainly paying off. 

Love,

Dad

Learning people’s stories

Dear Max,

A few months back I had lunch in the flatiron district with the original road manager for the band KISS in the 1970s and early 1980s. His name is Ken Sander and he worked with a lot of top acts like original punk rockers The Stranglers, Blondie, Patti LaBelle and was friends with the likes of Iggy Pop. 

  

I would have never learned this if I didn’t take the time to get to know him, his story. Otherwise he would have just been another interview on a media tour in New York City.

How many people per day do we connect with or ask to do things who we don’t know much about? 

Always take the time to learn about the person. Behind every email, phone, text or social profile is a living and breathing human being. Never lose touch of that.

Love,

Dad

First steps

Dear Max,

I was teasing you with a beach ball while you were standing next to mommy. The next thing I know you took your first 4 steps to me, by yourself on your own two feet. Ma and I sat there in awe of you. We cheered and clapped while you laughed, visibly proud of yourself.

You wanted to get to that beach ball so bad that you would do anything, even take your first few steps. That little bit of determination you showed today is so valuable as you grow older. You can do anything you want to, as long as you want it bad enough.

4 steps. 3 smiling faces. 2 proud parents. 1 amazing little boy.

Love,

Daddy

Cloudy days

Dear Max,

Don’t cloud your mind with anything that gets in the way of happiness, fun and clear thought. You can have just as much fun without alcohol and drugs, and you won’t forget what you did either.

I’ve always been able too. It makes me part of who I am. When I started playing my sax in bars, one of the seasoned bar musicians gave me some advice. He said that a lot of people would want to buy me drinks and when I’m on break I should leave a shot glass overturned in front of me. Then to tell them they bought that one. I got a lot of free food and comes that way, having my own fun.

Life is too beautiful to forget the good times.

Love,

Daddy

Real strength

Dear Max,

Real strength isn’t made of muscle. It’s not made of money or power either. It’s not bullheaded or prideful.

Real strength comes from within you. It’s made from the simplest fibers of your being. It all begins with the mind, as Grandmaster Ormanian used to say. 

Find your real strength. Feed your mind. Be powerful by thought, not by force.

Love,

Daddy

On patriotism

Dear Max,

America is the greatest country in the world. We have the ability to go as far as our dreams can wander in America. 

Respect the flag, respect your veterans and respect your freedom. Because there’s no place better.

Love,

Dad