1. Love Yourself. There’s no liar bigger than your own mirror, your own scale, your own bank account. The numbers do not lie; where the mistrust comes is between the number and your eyes, your retina, your brain. Your lost illusion that these things can give you happiness, self-worth, and the love life you deserve should die off in a cape of sustained arrogance. Recognize your own accomplishments. Treat yourself like you want others to treat you.
2. Fund Yourself. Take help when necessary, but realize what is necessary. Get off your family’s cell phone plan. Buy your own drinks. Tithe to the Church of Savings. Don’t simply prepare for the worst; act like it has already happened. Demand more from your work and relish in a job which demands more of you. Plan long. Keep leftovers. Pack a lunch.
3. Prepare Yourself. Pick up jumper cables, a credit report, extra batteries, distilled water, antifreeze, the number of a free clinic, a money clip in your glove compartment, a list of jobs to apply for, renter’s insurance, good friends, canned soup, a Costco membership, toilet paper in bulk, condoms, a coupon book, board games, candles, a lengthy novel, directions to the nearest ER, and an extra pair of underwear.
4. Treat Yourself. Know what you want and fight for it. What you want is not to stare at your Newsfeed and think of quips to your ex’s latest hobby. What you want is not watching House of Cards until Kevin Spacey is strangling you in your dreams (unless that’s your thing). What you want is outside. What you want requires earning the respect of others, perhaps even people you do not respect. What you want is currently being guarded by a million rude bosses and lazy co-workers and douchebag friends who just want to smoke weed and watch Charles Ramsey be auto-tuned. Go get it and love it. Only be disappointed if it came easy.
5. Work Yourself. Ignore the sweat on your brow, the wrinkle in your brain, the synapses of annoyances being fired off like artillery shells. Work is good. Work leads to fun. Work smothers the feeling you should be doing something else instead of nothing because you are doing something. Do it because you need to. Do it because you can’t stand owing anyone money. Do it because the relief of standing on your own foundation is second only to resting afterwards.
6. Teach Yourself. You will forget reading this. You will forget the next thread on Reddit or the latest news article telling you someone did something in Syria and it’s bad. Take notes. The mere action of translating the world through your own eyes forces them a tad deeper into your mind. Keep a journal when watching the news, when visiting museums, when talking to the mechanic. Knowledge does not seep into you; it is water and you are oil. Do not emulsify yourself from the world.
7. Better Yourself. Go running. Floss. Drink more water. Take vitamins. Buy food that does not come in a box. Do push-ups. Wake up at an AM hour. Do not sleep away your weekends. Stop Googling that spot on your arm. Read books. Learn an instrument. Think of others. Stop blaming other people. Stop blaming yourself. Turn your strengths against your weaknesses. Turn your hatred of every missed word or tarnished day into the next day. Do not merely need to do better; actually do better.