1: Know/create yourself.
You can’t not be you, but if you choose not to understand yourself, identify areas you want to grow in and follow through with a plan to constantly reinvent/upgrade yourself then you’re just going to go with the flow your whole life on autopilot. You’re going to get stuck in an unfulfilling job. You’re going to fall in love with the first person who touches your genitals. You’re going to have children to try to fill the void in your life, and you’re going to be a terrible parent because your own life lacks purpose. You’re going to look back on life in old age and wonder what the point of it all was. But if you’d known who you were and actively set personalized goals then you would have lived with purpose.
2: Be curious and pay attention.
All of the answers to all of your problems are out there in the universe. Problems aside, there are more wonders in this cosmic playground than you could possibly experience or understand, but in order to solve any problem or get the most out of your play time you need to look at the world around you and study it.
Every time you see something new you should wonder why it is the way it is. Finding out why will empower you. Not knowing will cripple you. Not finding things out is like choosing not to have any superpowers. So find out as much as you can about as much as you can, and never lose your passion for learning, because the moment you stop learning is the moment you start regressing back to a thirsty, hungry, horny monkey on autopilot.
3: Never trust authority.
There will always be someone with authority over you. At any given point in your life you’ll be subject to multiple authority structures simultaneously: your parents, teachers, bosses, police, politicians. They can all give a good reason why they should have authority over your free will, and most of them will have a fancy looking piece of paper that says they’re more alpha than you.
While these authority figures may deserve a pat on the back or two for something they did, all men were created equal. Everyone will always be equally valuable, and no matter how much knowledge, experience or age someone has, they still don’t know the meaning of life. Ultimately we’re all just bullshitting our way through life and mimicking random cultural norms we take for granted. And no matter how much anyone knows, our knowledge is dwarfed by what we don’t know.
Since we’re all equal and we’re all idiots that means you would be a fool to have faith in anything anyone says. I’m not saying not to listen to people. Listen to everyone. Learn from everyone. Just doubt everything. And when someone tells you that you have to obey them, recognize that they’re bullying you into submission. That’s all that’s happening there.
Your life is your responsibility. Your authority leaders aren’t going to live it for you. They’re not going to do your work or suffer the consequences of your mistakes. Your life is in your hands. I’m not saying you should disobey everyone. I’m just saying, authority isn’t ordained by God. It’s invented by men. The only authority anyone has over you is the authority you give them. Don’t give it away carelessly.
4: Get a skill and a certification.
The world is a cut-throat place these days, and since the poor are the most defenseless they get their throats cut more than anybody. You can’t live a good life on minimum wage, because you can’t afford the basic necessities of life. If you can’t afford the basic necessities of life then you certainly can’t afford to take years off of work to go to school much less pay the extortionate fees every adult education institution charges. But if you don’t have a skill and a piece of paper that says you graduated from somewhere then it will be almost impossible for you to get a job that pays a living wage. Thus poverty becomes inescapable real quick, and the older you get the harder it is to get out of. Seriously, life is hell without a skill and a certificate. Get a forklift license if nothing else. Just get something, because if you don’t then you’ll most likely end up a beaten down wage slave for the rest of your degrading, exhausted existence.
5: The world doesn’t owe you anything, and life isn’t fair.
You can scream at the heavens until your lungs blow out and pray on your knees until they bleed, but it won’t change anything. Throughout your life you’ll suffer repeated injustices. You’ll get the short end of the stick time and time again. That’s going to happen. Crying about it isn’t going to change anything. The only way to change anything is to do something. The sooner you accept that the world doesn’t owe you anything and life isn’t fair the sooner you can dry your face and start getting your hands dirty doing something about the problem.
6: Don’t be a consumer whore.
Just because you can afford to be stupid doesn’t mean you should. Paying too much for things you don’t need is ignorant. It’s immature. The cost/benefit analysis doesn’t add up. You earn money by spending time working. Money comes from time. Time is fleeting an irreplaceable. The time in your life is the most valuable thing in the universe. Trading it for a $150 shirt that cost $8 to make is giving your life away for nothing, and it makes you a chump. It also means you’re going to have a lot less money in old age, and less money means less security. Less security means more anxiety. More anxiety means more problems. If every consumer whore had done something useful with their money such as donating it to a free online school that covers every topic in academia then the world would be one giant leap closer to Utopia. But as it stands we’ve chosen sports cars, name brand shirts and blood diamonds over Utopia.
7: Have high intellectual standards.
The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your mind. Life sucks for stupid people, and life is limitless for smart people. Being smart isn’t just about memorizing all the key words in every university text book. Books just tell you about what’s going on around you. Once you understand what’s going on around you the next step is to engage with the world, study it and try to navigate and operate it. Since you’re going to die someday relatively soon you don’t have any time to lose. If you can choose what kind of environment and stimulation you expose yourself to, you should choose to expose yourself to intelligent, edifying things. Celebrating stupidity by acting brainless and watching brainless television and listening to brainless music and talking about brainless things is a waste of time. You’re letting the mysteries of the universe slip through your fingers. To make matters worse, the more you do it the more you reinforce your own brainless behavior and since all your brainless friends don’t study the world around them and they just mimic whatever the people around them are doing they’re going to see your brainlessness and assume that being brainless is what were all supposed to be doing. Then, as a group you’re going to be an intellectual drag on society. You’ll become the brainless consumer whore sheeple who politicians and marketers can manipulate into squandering society’s potential for the benefit of a few sociopaths.
8: People are important.
You’re an animate, sentient, bipedal, autonomous cosmic super computer. You’re stranded in an elegantly designed universe for a relatively short time, and even if you could find a logical explanation for the absurd, existential question of life you probably couldn’t empirically prove your answer. That sucks and is made worse by the fact that we’re stranded in a cold, harsh universe that isn’t fair and doesn’t owe us anything. Life is hard, but there’s one warm light in the darkness. That light is the other people in the world you’re surrounded by. Each one of us is an existential question, and we have a universe in our minds. We’re the only thing in the universe we can connect with. We make life worth living. We’re the most important thing in the universe. There’s nothing more important we can do than take care of each other. Hurting, killing, exploiting, bullying, manipulating and abandoning each other is the worst thing we can do.
9: Today is what it’s all been leading up to.
About 14.7 billion years ago an infinitely dense point of energy expanded inexplicably creating time and space as we know it in the process. Since then the atoms in your body have been flying through space. After traveling through gas clouds, stars and oceans they’ve finally come to rest in your body. The atoms inside you have been a cloud, a meteor, a fish, a plant, a cough. The matter in your body has been amazing places and done amazing things. It’s been an incredible journey, and it has all been leading up to one final step. The last step is the step you choose. At the very least it warrants raising your hands to the sky and shouting, “I’m here!”
The time to celebrate life is now, not after you graduate, get promoted or retire. Life isn’t around the corner. It’s here. Now. Today.
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