Life lessons

The view in front of my house (because now I’m missing home).

Life lessons. Many people might have been tired of hearing or reading things in relation to life lessons. Why? Well, because everyone learns the lessons from their experiences in life, and these might differ from person to person, so sometimes certain life lessons just don’t apply to everyone.

Nevertheless, here are life lessons that I find unique. Most life lessons are too utopian, showering us with beautiful (or even scary) words and images that we can only imagine. These ones, however, are more realistic. Many life lessons want us to see all the beauty of the world, appreciate, try to be happy, etc. but this one is kinda different. It is honest as in telling us that, yeah, life sometimes sucks so suck it up and just deal with it.

Anyway, I found it the first time from a video on Facebook. It just appeared in my timeline/newsfeed; I guess a friend shared it. The life lessons are by Tim Minchin. At first, I didn’t know who he was, really. (Don’t judge me; I am really bad with these things. Even if I ran into Eminem, DJ Khalid, or some famous figures in person, there’s no guarantee I would recognize them. I’m that lousy.) But no worries, finally I found out that Tim Minchin is a comedian, which explains why the way he gave the speech was funny 😀

Anyway, here are the life lessons that you might learn from, too 😊

“One: You don’t have to have a dream. Americans on Talent shows always talk about their dreams. Fine, if you have something you’ve always wanted to do, dreamed of, like in your heart, go for it. After all, it’s something to do with your time, chasing a dream. And if it’s a big enough one, it’ll take you most of your life to achieve, so by the time you get to it and are staring into the abyss of the meaninglessness of your achievement, you’ll be almost dead so it won’t matter. I never really had one of these dreams and so I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you. You never know where you might end up. Just be aware the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery, which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out of the corner of your eye.

Two: Don’t seek happiness. Happiness is like an orgasm. If you think about it too much, it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy and you might find you get some as a side effect. We didn’t evolve to be constantly content. Contented Homo Erectus got eaten before passing on their genes.

Three: Remember, it’s all luck. You are lucky to be here. You’re incalculably lucky to be born. Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate. Empathy is intuitive but is also something you can work on intellectually.”

Four: Exercise. I’m sorry, you pasty, pale, smoking philosophy grads, arching your eyebrows into a Cartesian curve as you watch the human movement mob winding their way through the miniature traffic cones of their existence. You are wrong and they are right. Well, you’re half right. You think, therefore you are but also you jog, therefore you sleep, therefore you’re not overwhelmed by existential angst. You can’t be Kant, and you don’t want to be. Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run, or whatever, that take care of your body. You’re going to need it. Most of you mob are going to live to nearly 100, and even the poorest of you will achieve a level of wealth that most of humans throughout history could not have dreamed of. And this long, luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed.

Five: Be hard on your opinions. A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like assholes, in that everyone has one. There is a great wisdom in this, but I would add that opinions differ significantly from assholes in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined. We must think critically and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the veranda and hit them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privileges. Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies, and then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions, like two tennis players trying to win a match by hitting beautifully executed shots from either end of separate tennis courts.

Six: Be a teacher. Please, please, please be a teacher. Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. You don’t have to do it forever but if you’re in doubt about what to do, be an amazing teacher. Even if you’re not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what youlearn and spray it.

Seven: Define yourself by what you love. I found myself doing this thing a bit recently where if someone asks me what sort of music I like, I say, “Well, I don’t listen to the radio because pop song lyrics annoys me.” Or if someone asks me what food I like, I say, “I think truffle oil is overused and slightly obnoxious.” And I see it all the time online people whose idea of being part of a subculture is to hate Coldplay or football or feminists or the Liberal Party. We have a tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff. As a comedian, I make my living out of it. But try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank you cards and standing ovations. Be pro-stuff not just anti-stuff.

This is also the view in front of my house. I know the pictures have nothing to do with the writing. Haha

Eight: Respect people with less power than you. I have in the past made important decisions about people I work with, agents and producers, big decisions based largely on how they treat the wait staff in the restaurants we’re having the meeting in. I don’t care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful. So, there.

Nine: Finally, don’t rush. You don’t need to already know what you’re gonna do with the rest of your life. Don’t panic. You will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough, and God, it’s tiring. And you will be sometimes be happy and sometimes sad, and then you’ll be old and then you’ll be dead. There’s only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is fill it. Not “fillet”, but fill it. Life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you’re doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running, being enthusiastic, and then there’s love and travel and wine and sex and arts and kids and giving and mountain-climbing. But you know all that stuff already. It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one meaningless life of yours. Good luck…”

So that’s it, fellas. What do you think? Do you think you can benefit from it? Or do you have another of your own? 😊

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