1. If you work hard enough, success is a guarantee. Most people are rarely “successful” in the way they first set out to be. Rather than work toward an end-goal, work toward liking the process of getting there. Whether success is a product of chance or fate, all you can control is how much work you put in (not exactly what comes out).
2. Wanting something badly enough qualifies you to have it. Nobody ever got anything from just wanting it badly enough. You have to want it badly enough to sacrifice, and to work hard, become qualified, keep your head up through tons of rejection and doubt, and then rinse/repeat for as long as it takes.
3. You’ll be the exception to everything, so you don’t have to wear sunscreen or save money, or worry about your retirement plan or treat people respectfully, because your circumstances are just different than everyone else’s.
4. You’re a celebrity in your own mind – everyone is watching you, and judging your choices. The “spotlight complex” is undoubtedly linked to social media, but regardless, nobody is thinking about you the way you are thinking about you, nor nearly as much. Nobody cares if you wear an unflattering shirt out to the pharmacy. Nobody really cares what you do with your life, so stop making choices as though they do.
5. If you’re doing something right, results will be instantaneous. If you’re doing something right, the results will take a very long time to build up and produce an outcome you’re happy with.
6. “Busyness” is a good thing. Being busy is what happens when people are ill-equipped to manage their stress. People who actually have a lot to do just focus on getting it done, simply because they don’t have another choice.
7. There’s a “right time” to create. Or get married, or have a child, or start pursuing the life you feel called to. If you’re looking for an excuse as to why it’s not the right time, you’ll always find one.
8. Adulthood is “hard.” There are lots of things that are challenging and heartbreaking and trying in a life, but learning how to perform basic functions is not one of them.
9. Your purpose is something existentially profound. Your purpose is just to be here, and to do whatever job you find yourself doing. You don’t have to be consciously changing the world to fulfill it.
10. Everybody can have a job they love if they work hard enough. Everybody can find a way to enjoy their job – regardless of the inevitable challenges that come with any job – but nobody is entitled to do work that happens to fit precisely within their realm of interest and comfort.
11. You’re not responsible for that which you do unintentionally. Accidentally hurting someone’s feelings doesn’t really hurt them; time you don’t realize wasting isn’t wasted; money spent on “necessities” isn’t money spent. Essentially, if you aren’t conscious of the repercussions of something, they don’t count.
12. Your life partner is responsible for making you feel one very specific way. And you use that singular feeling to determine whether or not your relationship is “good,” or worthwhile.
13. To accept something, you must be happy about it, or at least okay with it. You can accept your circumstances (acknowledge they are real) while still disliking them strongly. You don’t have to like everything, but if you want to preserve your sanity, you have to accept whatever comes into your life before you can change it.
14. People are ruminating on the embarrassing stuff you did five years ago. They’re busy ruminating on their own stuff, the same way you are. (Are you thinking about things other people did over the years to any significant degree? It’s unlikely.)
15. You must be “right” to be a valid, intelligent human being. Really the most intelligent people are more open to being wrong than anyone (that’s how they learn) but regardless, you do not need to be consistently right or exceedingly smart or stunningly beautiful or anything else to be worthwhile, and lovable.
16. You are your struggles. You say “I am an anxious person,” rather than “I sometimes feel anxiety.” You identify with your problems, which is likely a huge reason why you can’t overcome them.
17. You can only be as happy as your circumstances allow. You will only be as happy as you choose to focus on what’s positive, reconcile and problem-solve what’s negative, build the relationships that matter, validate yourself, and develop your mindset. You cannot choose a feeling, but you can always choose what you think about. Rejecting the idea that you can do so is to submit and doom yourself to a life in which you are never truly happy at all.