This is just an unordered list of behaviors I admire in people, and warnings about those I don’t. I see some of these things as being the biggest contributors to world difficulties.
1. Stop defining yourself – distinction comes from life well lived not who you hope you are or who you say you are. You are not any of the chance happenstances of your birth. It is fine to desire association but you aren’t it because you wear the hat or badge.
2. Pride is ugly, even the Bible got that right. Jodorowsky says: transform pride into dignity. Carlin laughs at our desire to be proud of things we have nothing to do with. May as well be proud of having a genetic predisposition to colon cancer.
3. Do not believe. Do not trust in faith. Have no use for hearsay or nonsense. Understand soul as your conscience and your conscious being. Satisfy it with experiences and widen your experiences as much as possible. An intelligent human is one who respects science because science is a process of observation, experimentation, and repeatability. Do not accept anecdote as evidence. Be polite but firm about this.
4. Learn to play an instrument, pick one, or some if you like, but practice it, learn it, allow it to satisfy you. Music has been scientifically tied to health. And learning new skills has been shown to stave off dementia.
5. Forget about talent lean on and respect and build SKILLS along with a healthy endurance, some might call it grit.
6. Argue only when you are dealing with people who matter to you. The only point in argument is to build a better relationship with your opponent. If you don’t want that, there is absolutely no point. Arguing otherwise is akin to egotism.
7. When trying to understand or decide a complex issue look first for precedent. How was the case decided previously. This guide can often have myriad interesting consequences recorded by history.
8. Never assume expertise in anything – ever. Unless you can honestly say you have it you’re a pretender, a poser, and more harm than good.
9. Only children imagine there is perfect honesty. Such a thing cannot and will not ever exist in human beings. We are not capable of it, nor do we want it. We want harmless and special lies that stroke our egos. Don’t long for too much of this. Don’t fish for compliments.
10. There is no single way, there are many paths, just as in the Tao. Keep yourself open to improvements in what you do.
Always be a student of your interests.
11. Read voraciously and widely it is the best way to learn and the finest way to practice using your brain. Also learning is amazingly satisfying as entertainment. If you usually read fiction, try some non-fiction. If you usually read non-fiction it’s time to shake it up with a novel.
12. Take many and long walks, not only is it great exercise it frees the mind to dream and create. Sometimes you even find treasures.
13. No single person can be nor should be all things to any other person. No person owns another person. No person can box and limit another person, many try, and many suffer the consequences.
14. Never brag, and name-drop gently and only about those who will remember you.
15. Enjoy your loneliness. Cultivate periods of boredom. Let yourself explore your thoughts. Introspection is an important skill.
16. Fix broken things Don’t just automatically replace them. There is a kind of satisfying subversive culture in repair.
17. Don’t imagine you can solve problems for others. You can only offer your opinions or options. You have not walked in that person’s shoes. On the other hand, if you know of a job for an out of work friend, mention it!
18. When you make a mistake, admit it, enjoy it. You are learning. Those who don’t make mistakes don’t make anything. Anyone who tells you they never make mistakes is either a liar or very lazy.
19. Sociopaths will try to milk pity from you. Don’t be a sociopath. Do not think only of yourself. Sociopaths are children who were never forced to socialize or grow up.
20. When you offend seek out the offense and treat it as misunderstanding. If the offense is unwarranted don’t think of it again.
21. Pay your bills as best you can. When you cannot, say you intend to and make arrangements. It’s easy to make excuses and pretend services were not rendered properly. Remember that expenses and problems are two different things. Problems are things that can’t be fixed with money.
22. Pay for your arts and entertainments. Support your favorite parts of culture.
23. Take up a martial art. I highly recommend Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. But virtually any that allow you to get sweaty with sparring will do.
24. Compliment your lover. Do not have sex with people you don’t respect. If you don’t think you’ll want to see them again, don’t touch them.
25. When your relationship ceases to provide you pleasure, end it. Shake your partner’s hand, and thank them for the special time you spent together. Understand that it may take a little while for your partner to adjust to the new conditions and be responsible about being a friend and helping them get over it. If you cannot be friends you shouldn’t have been together to begin with. If the case is you should not have been together be very kind and apologetic and be responsible for your fuck up. Do not make an enemy do not create hate. This does not mean show up for the birthday party, but you should send a card.
26. When you have ceased to enjoy something don’t continue holding on to it. Let it go. Make a gift of it or sell it, but don’t let it just collect dust on your shelf. Someone out there can appreciate it.
27. Keep trying things. If it doesn’t work the first time, that’s OK you can try again later.
Unfamiliarity is actually one of people’s biggest fears. Overcoming fear of the unfamiliar is a huge step in being an adult.
28. You are not required to have children. But if you do have children they are yours. You will fully devote to them and their needs and make them your priority. Your family and friends will likely help you, but do not expect a village to care for your offspring-it is your job.
29. The roll of the dice and the risk of gaming bets (from cards to billiard balls) have inspired both prayer and statistics. Attempting to predict the chaos of the universe supplies both reasonable and irrational mental gymnastics from lucky underwear to advanced physics. Your choice is important.