Friday, April 11, 2014

Advice to Priya

I always wanted to write to you and give you advice about what I have learned.  So here goes.


You will hear it all the time.  "Health is your most important asset."  I have to emphasize to you that this is by far the most important lesson to learn.  I have not done it and I pay the price at age 49.  When I was younger all I did was want to play basketball, all the time.  Being 300 pounds now, I am sure that the only reason I am even alive now is because of how much I used to play basketball when I was younger.

Once you get older you will tend to work more and tend to play less.  This should be done exactly inverse.  Try and pick up a sport, Tennis, Golf, Hiking, Bicycling, the choices are endless, and then try and play as much as you can.  This will be the key to a health life.  As is, you have crappy genes.  Most of the family has diabetes and tend to be on the larger side, so you have to be extra careful.

I did not do this and I do not want you to make the same mistake as I did.  I will emphasize this again, "Health is your most important Asset."  Nothing else even comes close to this.


I grew up in a very middle class lifestyle and I had rather ordinary dreams.  I never thought that I would live much beyond 60 (because of I was massively overweight), so my whole life I lived with that assumption and I lived a luxurious lifestyle. I make a lot of money now, but there is a saying, "It is now how much you make, it is how much you save, THAT is what you make."

This is so true, I have always been a terrible saver.  In fact I would say that I am a bit of a spendthrift.  So I would like for you to live a life without debt.  Buy a house with cash, buy a car with cash.  Your most important mission is to live without any debt.

So remember if you make a $100,000, that is not actually correct.  At the end of the year, how much did you save of that $100,000, that is what you made.


The world has become much commercialized, and the messages they are sending you is that you want this and that.   It may be a Gucci purse or maybe Manolo Blahnik Shoes.  For me at least it was a Rolex and a Mercedes.  I was able to afford it in my 30's and I bought it, but you know what after the first 1 week of excitement, I could care less about it, I gave the Rolex to my dad and I have been through multiple Mercedes, but nothing gave me the pleasure you would think would come from possessing it.    Let me give you some advice, do not waste your money chasing luxury, you will hardly care about it after you worked so hard to get it.  Do not fall into this trap.  It is simply an endless cycle.

Instead of stuff, learn to enjoy experiences instead.  Go hike the Himalayas rather buy buying something, it will give you infinitely more pleasure.

I am not saying not to buy what you need.  Go ahead and buy it, but be reasonable in your wants, that is all.  I was not and I hoping you learn this lesson from me.


We have a lot of assets now, but had I been even a little bit judicious, we would be very rich.  But like I said, that was never a dream of mine.  I wanted to enjoy life and have fun and I felt like I did that.  I did things that people can only dream about.  I lived on a beach for 6 months, in a super luxurious house.  I had parties there almost every night.  I acted in movies.  I traveled all over the world.  Really stuff of dreams.  I had a great life.

Unlike me, you have been born into a rich family.  Your mission in life is to enjoy yourself and find something to do that you enjoy.  Each of us has different talents and your mission is to find yours and develop that.  Since you will be entrusted with significant money, your job is to protect that money for future generations.  I do not want you to use that money as a crutch so that you do nothing, that would the worst thing you could do.  Be a teacher, engineer, doctor, or even an actress, I do not care, but do it with passion and fire and be the best at it that you can be.  That is what would make me proud.

But this does not mean that I will accept mediocrity from you.  If you work hard and still fail at something, I am fine with that.  But laziness is something that will not be accepted.  I was extremely smart and I accepted mediocrity in myself and I will not accept that from you.  I will provide the best help for you, in case you have trouble in anything.  I know this is a double standard, but like I said, I will not allow you to be anything but the best that you can be.


I have lied, stolen, cheated.  I am not saying that I did it all the time, but I have done these things.  These are things that weigh on me to this day.  So here in my advice to you; Never Lie, Never Cheat, Never Steal.  I do not mean for one year, I mean your whole life.  Keep every decision you make with the three mantras; Do not lie, Do not cheat, Do not steal.  There are of course lots more DO NOT's, but you get the idea.  I want you to have values and live your life within those values, no matter how hard that decision would be.

I remember every bad decision that I have ever made and every one of those decisions still haunt me.  I do not want to have burdens like that.  I used to justify what I did by saying that only the rich can afford to be virtuous, but that is not true.  If you choose to do it, you can.

Drugs and Alcohol:

Nowadays Marijuana is legal in a lot of states, so I am unsure what to advice you on this subject.  I have tried Marijuana, Alcohol, Cigarettes, and X.  But I did not enjoy any of them and none of those things gave me as much pleasure as playing a game of pickup basketball.  I have friends that are in positions of trust, Doctors and Big time CEO's that still do drugs and are able to function normally.  I do not do drugs and I do not enjoy alcohol but I am hardly anyone to say what is right or wrong.  I would prefer that you enjoy life in other ways.  Never do hard drugs, they will simply sap your will and drive to accomplish things.

Life is really about moderation.  So drink a few glasses of wine, I do not see any issue in that.  Drink until you pass out, that is wrong.

Family and Friends:

I have friends that are like family to me.  I have family that are almost strangers to me.  I also have family that act like a family should act.  You will hear all the time that, "family is most important thing."  I am ambivalent to this statement.  My friends have helped me when I had nothing and helped me grow to where I am now.  When I was down, all the family did was point and say, do not be like him.  Now that I am successful (In their terms, not mine), they point and say to be like me.

Like I mentioned, you will have significant money under your control and maybe approached by friends and family for help.  Try and help where you can, but one of the hardest things to say is NO, and you will have to learn to say it.  People make bad decisions and you need to let people learn from their bad decisions.  Be there to help when they have truly fallen and cannot get up. Here are some examples of decisions that I have gotten into and what I did.  You will likely come across situation like this and you will have to make your own decisions on if you would like to help or not.

My friend a doctor wanted a loan of $50,000 to fight a lawsuit - I gave it to him, because he had significant assets and simply had a cash crunch since his bank account was frozen.  He did pay this back.

A family member wanted to borrow $10,000 to fund a new business - I gave it to him, because he provided me the invoices and explained the business and it sounded reasonable to me.  I did not get this back.   - I am not very tough when it comes to collection with family, and I knew they were in trouble, so I let it go.  In situations like this, when the money is insignificant, I want to just forget about it.  Do not let money haunt you or feel that they cheated you.  Remember when people are under financial pressure, they will do anything to get money from you.  You will have to learn to say NO.  I should have said NO in this situation, but I wanted to believe their story and was hoping that with the $10,000 they get back on their feet.  I guess it was a case of wanting to believe that it was true.

A friend wanted money to pay his wife's last year of medical college and he said that without that payment the college would give her degree and she could not start a residency that she was accepted for.  I gave him $17,000.  He paid interest for a few months then he disappeared.  I later wrote a story in my blog about him and he called me within a few days and begged me to take it down, since he did not his family reading about it.  He promised to pay me back, saying that he was tight.  He finally did pay back $15,000 but his interest is still pending.  His wife is a doctor making significant money, but he still has not paid it back.  Recently be begged me for $3000 and he said that he would pay it back in 1 month, but it has been 3-4 months and he paid back $1000.  I should have been strong to say NO, but I did not.  I hope you are stronger than me in situations like this.  I gave the money because I put myself in his shoes.  If someone helped me like that I would make it a point to pay this back.  But each of have circumstances and events may overtake us and not allow us to pay back what we owe.

A friend wanted money to start a business.  I gave him $100,000.  He gave me 20% ownership in the business.  I also raised another $70,000 from other friends when the business needed more money.  This friend if one of the hardest working people that I know, but what he is terrible at is communication.   He has never sent out one update on the company.  He has never provided financials to show where the company is at.  When you invest in a business I want to to 2 things.  I want you to invest in a business because you trust the individual.  I DO NOT want you to invest if you do not trust them 100%.  There is nothing more important than the integrity and trust in the person running the business.  I also want you to get in writing that you will be provided every year a complete financial records and if you are not the investment becomes a demand note payable immediately.  I did not do this and I do not want you to have to face a situation like this.

There are lots more, but you get the idea.  Learn to say NO, it will one of the most important lessons that you learn.

Sex and Relationships:

I actually started rather late in life to show interest in girls.  I would much rather have played a game of basketball then go out on a date when I was in High School.  I did start to develop more interest in girl in college, but by that time I was around 300-330 pounds and then it because clear that girls were not interested in me.  I used to play a lot, but I never did lose that much weight.

My first real girlfriend was my ex-wife.  She was fantastic as a girlfriend.  We dated for 5 years and were married for a little over 10 years.  I will not go into her details much here.

So what are my views on, in your case, when you can have a boyfriend?

I am unsure on this and my guess would how mature you are and if it helping or harming you in achieving your goals.  But as a general rule, I feel like you should be at least 16 before you have a relationship.

When can you have sex?

Hummm.  I am so unsure about this.  Sex is nothing more than nature providing you with hormones that make you want have sex for procreation.  But I can tell you one thing, sex was so different when you are GF and BF relationship and when you are married.  So I am not going to say no sex until you are married, but this again comes down to maturity and how you handle this. I do not think I have a rule for this, but I would hope that you wait until you are 18.  I am sure that everyone in the family will disagree with me on this.

Who should you marry?

Most of your cousins consider Indian Boys unattractive.  I would prefer that you marry a nice Telugu Indian boy.  But this is such a personal decision.  You have to live with the consequences of that decision your whole life.  So be wise, but here a few things I suggest that you look for:  He should be fit (not like you dad at all), well educated, have strong values, and would never hit a women.

So I would prefer that you marry a Telugu boy and I will surround you with them, but the choice is yours.

I am sure there is more to write on this subject, and I continue this later.

Family Honor:

You as a women will control the honor of your family.  Your actions alone will define the honor of your family.  The most important thing in your life should be your family, above everything else and by this I mean, your husband and your kids.

This is not to say that if you fail and need our help we will not be there.  I will unequivocally say that we will be here to help you no matter what you do.  You could call us at any time and we will be there for you.  We may not approve of your actions, but we will be there to pick you up and help you, no matter what.


I am not very emotional so you will not see a lot of overtly emotional displays.  As I get older a lot of things bring me to tears, but I can usually control myself, emotionally at least.  I think in the end this has become a handicap in a sense for me.  But I can guarantee you that you are well loved and we will always be there for you.

I will never hit you no matter what you do.  I will explain what is right and wrong and hopefully you will learn.

Here are  questions that were asked by your cousins, so I hope that they might apply to you:

At what age can I have a boyfriend?

Again I am unsure of a specific age, but my guess would be that 16 might be general guideline, but it would really depend on your specific maturity level and after having a boyfriend is it affecting you positively.  If I see that having a boyfriend has affected you negatively then you will lose that privilege.

Shall I work a job?

I do not see anything to gain by working while you are in school.  Your circumstances have made you fortunate so that you do not need to work and I prefer that you put 100% of your energy into your school activities be it educational, athletic or otherwise.   If you have so much free time, I prefer you do volunteer work and help the community somehow.

How should I look, makeup? Weight?

I have been overweight most of my life, so I am acutely aware of the costs to me.  I will push you to be fit and strong since I do not want you to have any health issues.  I know nothing about makeup and I cannot really advise on this.  But makeup does not make you beautiful.  In the end it is your spirit, your values, and your intellect that make you beautiful.

Do what you need to do so that you feel and look beautiful if that is important to you.

As a father will you be my friend or something else?

I am not really much of a father.  I doubt I will be tough on you, but I also doubt that I will be a friend.  My mission in life is to make you into a productive member of society and I will do whatever it takes for you to become this productive member of society. I will try and stay consistent on my decisions so that you know exactly what I want from you.

What can I do to make you proud of me?

All I need from you is to become a productive member of society.   I just do not want for you to be a drug addict or someone that does nothing because you have money.

Even if you fail, I will be proud of you as long as you have tried your best.