Ah, to be seventeen again. Seems as if it were only yesterday that I was gagging from the smell of that diaper when I wiped your ass. Pretty soon, you will be doing the same for me. You’re so independent and don’t even need me anymore, do you?

Oh, but you do. Laugh at your stupid, embarrassing (felon) dad all you want, just know that you still got your whole life ahead of you to eff that up nicely if you follow in daddy’s footsteps.

By the way, I hated being seventeen. Hated it. All those self-discoveries to be made about life was awkward and annoying. I’d so wished that someone came along and made a cheat sheet for me to avoid all the pitfalls this world has to offer us.

Mind you I was a smart kid, it’s just my brain was overwhelmed with all the decisions to make when you’re a young man starting out in this world. More often than not, I’d end up second guessing myself, which does no favors for your confidence and self-esteem at that stage in life.

You see I didn’t have a cool felon daddy to preach some good old fatherly advice on the monumental screw ups he achieved. On the contrary, I got stuck with a father that was rather law abiding. Oh well, not everybody’s as good at disappointing their parents like I was. Be that as it may, a lot of people you read on the internet say they lived life with no regrets. Good for you then.

Regrets, oh yeah, I got ’em. What can I say – I should’ve made the call. I should’ve stayed at home that night. I shouldn’t have stolen that. Yeah, it comes back to haunt you kiddies. At a certain point, you have to let go though.

When I’m a miserable old felon sitting on the porch looking back at my epic failures, it’s important that you learn from those experiences and pass that wisdom on down to the next generation, paying it forward as they say.

Member how you’d hear someone go… Yeah, you don’t wanna grow up to be like him. Look how they turned out. Well…. here I am. With that, I’d like to impart some wisdom on the young impressionable minds in what to do (and not) when navigating the murky waters of this world.


1) Family first… Everything else secondary.

After some time reflecting, you start to realize what really matters in this lifetime. You stop giving such high importance to silly things that will fade away and not be there at the very end. The people you surround yourself with should not be one of those things though.

Blood is thicker than water. And while I won’t poo poo the value of friendships, there’s a bond that can’t be ignored within your own blood line. There’s a sense of culture and pride that’s lost these days with family and the younger generation. They don’t know their lineage. Where they came from. What their family has endured to get here.

These are the people that will be there for you (at least should be) when the dust settles. They’ll be there to bail you out. They’ll be there shedding tears in front of a judge. They’ll also be there getting in a drunken verbal altercation during family gatherings (Happy Thanksgiving). They are there for you. And you are to be for them.

2) Learn from something, then do not repeat.

I repeat, Do Not Repeat.

Like the cat that learns the hot stove is hot, you’re to never jump on it again, otherwise you’re in for some pain. That and you own a stupid cat.

I was at my lowest when I started on my house arrest sentence. I worked a shitty minimum wage job going nowhere. I was having vicious fights and arguing with my wife all the time. I had no money, bad credit, was overweight, out of shape, and miserable (what a catch). And I was a dad.

I was bitter at life. I wished it would all get better. I kept thinking how did I get to this point. I knew how and was disgusted with myself and hated the feeling I lived with at the time. I vowed that I would never feel that way again, nor put my family in that terrible position moving forward. I worked on improving myself because I never wanted to experience that type of pain ever again. And I never did again.

3) Understand the art of communicating well.

My wife says I have the gift of gab. She also says I’m a big liar. That’s funny, because I tell her I love her with a straight face. (Not true though…. the part that I’m a big liar).

It is not about knowing “how to talk” or being slick. It is about being able to express your ideas or views and transfer it over to others in a simple enough manner, so they understand. Along with that comes the notion that you can persuade and lead. You then open doors for yourself in this life in how you come across, and effective communication is the way to that.

Bonus Tip: Smile

Now why would I put this simple, some would say stupid, insignificant thing on the list as something that you should learn to help you in your life journey. I’ll tell you why – because it’s the simple things in life that can have big outcomes. That and because you are a convicted felon.

With that, you’re not beyond approach, so get over yourself. Don’t turn people off with scowls cause we’re not in prison. Hopefully you won’t ever experience that. But whether you’re going in for a job interview, or trying to pick up women, you need to look approachable, and to come off as inviting and friendly. Once again, this factors into how you come across, and carries over into things becoming more accessible to you, such as jobs and meeting people.

4) Find something you like (and could possibly love). Get good at it. Then monetize.

So many people throw the word passion around and I hate that, saying they have to absolutely love what they are doing, and they knew it immediately from the get-go. Bull.

Things happen in life. Be flexible and it may grow on you. Maybe it doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong in not having everything mapped out yet. I fell in love with many different industries both before and after I was a convicted felon.

I was a real estate investor who negotiated with the banks. I made great money, but I pooped on that career. Then I wanted to own a health club after working a minimum wage job there. I could’ve made money, but I lost interest. Then I wanted to own a vitamin company. Then a mattress store. And on and on.

Many things grew on me as I looked for ways to afford doing it in the long run because I enjoyed it. The objective was and always has been to make a good living doing what you enjoy. And THAT is where that phrase comes into play that you will never work another day in your life. But for that to happen, you have to have foresight in seeing if it can be profitable, thus allowing you that long term enjoyment.

Bonus Tip: Learn about computers, and more specifically, How to Make Money Online.

You’re at a supreme advantage in this world when understanding technology, then using it to your benefit. It’s something your parents didn’t understand, and were intimidated to learn. Nowadays the internet makes many people money through online businesses. It’s truly a blessing, as it does not discriminate to your background, race, or gender.

Imagine, even someone with a felony has the opportunity to make good money (legally) now through the world wide web.

5) Find a physical outlet.

You can lift weights. You can run. Hell, you can even join a dodge ball league. It does not matter. What matters is that you need to find a way to physically drain and rid the body of the excess energy and stress it builds up every day, so it is not to be carried over. Otherwise, you will have a shorter than expected life, as well as perhaps one riddled with ailments.

My father was a brilliant man. He never exercised a day in his life though. Old school mentality. Years of drinking, smoking, and physical inactivity while overcoming the stressors of life had taken its toll on his body.

He paid for it dearly as he got older and was not in a physical position to take care of himself any longer. You can say I learned from him in that regard the need to find a balance to counter the effects of stress, other than the usual release mechanisms.

So many think exercise is for vanity’s sake. It is not. Although you probably don’t give a crap right now, the benefits of your health will pay huge dividends later in life as you grow older.

6) Limit your vices.

Listen, I am a realist. You’re going to experiment with things. I get it. We all have something we do that’s bad for us. Pick your poison. You just don’t want it to get out of hand and go full on Chris Farley mode with your excessive lifestyle.

Doesn’t necessarily have to even be drug or alcohol related. It could be smoking, girl scout cookies, crack, even a combination (although I don’t know if it was inappropriate putting girl scout cookies and crack in the same sentence).

What matters is that you have impulse control and not allow things that derail your life progress, especially in times of doubt or loss. If you’re going to do drugs, do it in celebration of victory. Control your vices rather than it controls you.

“I don’t do drugs, I never do drugs. Never. So when I do… They’re way more fun!!”

— Louis C.K.

7) Don’t be a cautionary tale.


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Just to piggyback off the previous statement, you’re going to screw up. You will, as I have great faith in you. But we all have though. And when you do, I’m not going to throw a party and congratulate you, but remind you the need to learn from it, and deal with the consequences as a man.

You want good advice, here you go – abstain from having this inherent need to try and prove to the world how much better you are. Or richer you are. It can and always does come back to bite you in the ass, as you’re singled out and made an example of. Don’t be that guy, cause the world don’t like showoffs. The only one you are to impress and prove anything in this world to is yourself.

8) Don’t let anybody tell you you cannot accomplish something. Not even me.

Confidence plays a huge role in the development of your manhood. That’s developed by your ability to overcome adversity no matter how great or small a feat. It can hurt you deeply when those closest to you doubt or tell you otherwise. If met by that response, you chalk them up as a fool. A doubter. A non-believer. I’d like to not be one of them. Either way, make it happen. F*** em all sonny.

9) Apply your addictive natures to constructive endeavors.

It’s taken an insanely (no pun intended) long amount of time in life for me to come to the realization that I’m a little screwed up. Damn, and I’d always thought I was somewhat normal too. What I didn’t understand about myself was why things were so hard for me to be normal. Why would I let my personality get out of hand. Why did I lose control in the first place?

Your addictions can destroy you. And I know I have an addictive personality. I know. I haven’t been one to realize and admit this till I was in my late thirties though. With that, things go dark real fast for this type of person. The flip side is some positive things can come from it if applied in the right manner.

Harness that energy for prosperity and productivity. Study something and not only be good at it. Be great at it. Why couldn’t I just be normal? Because I cannot. Nor do I want to be anymore.

10) Be resourceful. Even without resources.

In my younger days, I’d be fixated on things I was missing. Subsequently, I’d get extremely frustrated with myself, and in turn life in general. Because of that, doubt would set in, and things would never happen for me. I didn’t see it at the time, but I was sabotaging any chance I had at success.

Meanwhile, someone would blow right past me with the ability to do something extraordinary. Was he lucky. Did God favor him for some reason. Or was he maybe just willing to find the solutions when everybody else (I.E. me) was bitching and complaining how unfair life was.

Maybe you don’t have the money. Maybe you don’t have the right connections. Determination and hunger sets many apart from those even blessed with the resources.

11) You’re not immune to problems.

Everyone has them. All different types. Could be financial, health related, family, or legal. Maybe all of the above (my life) – whatever – either way, no one gets out alive. Nor will you ever get away from them. As long as you breathe the air of this earth, the problems that comes with living it will always exist. It’s how you get through them though that will make you the man.

12) Read.

You have the ability to gain a lifetime of someone else’s experiences, learning from their mistakes by reading about their life. Not only that, but you have the ability to travel, whether it be voluntary, or involuntary when you’re not in a position to travel (that means incarcerated kids).

Whatever the case may be, you have an escape through reading. Some people get turned off thinking that what they’re reading is boring and not helpful. Not true. The trick is to take something, anything somewhat useful from what you just read, and apply it to your life in order to get immediate, impactful results. It is known to work.

13) Start building your credit. Then protect it.

I was a middle aged (felon) man working for minimum wage at a mattress store, had terrible credit, and was bitter. In walked a young man looking to buy a bed. Naturally I was skeptical and thought no one would lend him ten cents when I brought up financing.

As I made the credit application, I thought… no way he’ll get approved for anything. Haha, come back after you rob a bank kid. Approved for $10,000. Joke’s on me (again).

Jesus, I’m a jackass. And envious (God, I was envious). I have to hand it to that kid, he had discipline. He ended up buying something very modest, being smart enough to not screw himself down the road with something unnecessary.

It’s so easy to be consumed to want to splurge on a new this or that. But it comes with a hefty price. I didn’t learn this till later when I filed for bankruptcy. When you have good credit, the world opens up its legs for you. You should work on building it up as early as you can, then do everything to maintain it.

Don’t lend your credit out. NOR DO YOU CO-SIGN for someone. Not your girlfriend. Do not, repeat do not co-sign for her. She’ll screw you (over).

Two guys walk into a bank. They both have the same amount of money in their account. They look the same. One gets a calendar and is told we’ll see you soon. The other gets fawned over. They get him coffee. He sits down with the manager. They offer him options. Who do you think has better credit.

So important, especially for a felon, as credit does not discriminate. I guess I made my point with this one, as you see it hit a nerve (good times).

14) Don’t be blinded.

I hate to be an a-hole about love, but she’s not the one. Not yet at least. She’s probably not even special. There, I just saved you years of heartache and thousands of dollars.

Listen up sonny… ass should be something you pursue and enjoy, not your main priority right now. Learn to be a better man for your future wife by seeing what you want and don’t want from a relationship at this moment in time.

Bonus Tip (That’s what she said): Don’t Get Married (She didn’t say that though). This isn’t a relationship advice column, but I’m gonna give you some anyways. Find yourself someone who inspires you to be a better person.

Bonus Bonus Tip: Don’t have kids until you’re more mature. And especially don’t have kids unless you’re with the right person. (See above Don’t Get Married for further clarification.)

Note that I didn’t say have kids till you’re ready. Cause you’re never really ready. You need to be able to function and stand on your own two feet first, before having to provide for someone else’s well being. Mind you, I’m not even talking so much financially, but on a level where you can give him/her the love, understanding, and guidance needed in a crazy world.

Easier said than done when picking the right mate to procreate with, but you should have an idea of the personality and character of the person you decide to leave your sperm in. Call me old fashioned.

15) Value the experience, don’t overvalue the item.

I’m a big idiot, cause I learned this one late. I used to have the attention span of a goldfish, cause I always, I mean always was mesmerized by the shiny objects. My primary focus always being on outwardly images and appearance.

Although this may seem trivial now, but when I was doing obscenely well I never really enjoyed the cars, clothes, and flashy lifestyle. How could I, I was too worried about upkeep.

I should’ve scaled it back a little. I should’ve traveled instead of getting a more expensive car. I shouldn’t have spent so much money on useless garbage. I should’ve saved better, I should’ve. I should’ve. I should’ve done a lot of things different, so I wasn’t losing sleep every night stressed about what I was going to do. I didn’t. I paid for it though. Profusely.

16) No law against ambition, just keep it legal.

I’m not trying to be the pot calling the kettle black, but that multi-million-dollar pill mill business you got going on is some risky business leading you down a dark path. Although your initiative is to be applauded, it’s still far from commendable on what a great entrepreneur you’ve become.

This kind of piggybacks off number #4, but thought I’d clarify; Lots of ideas circulating through those minds. You’re brainstorming on how to come up and make a buck in this world. You’re young, hungry, and want to succeed. Bravo. I get it.

Just remember to keep it legal. It’s detrimental to your freedom, life, and overall sanity to continue on the path of no return. Yes, it may take a little longer to get where you want to get, but ultimately, you’ll be around to enjoy that success.

17) Find yourself a good lawyer, doctor, and priest.

Need I say more. Thought I would end on a humorous, yet very appropriate tip that will carry you far in life (and maybe prevent you from ever incurring a felony conviction). Wishing as always that you should educate yourself on your situation, because nobody will do it for you. Stay well and out of trouble.

The Educated Felon