1. Keep questioning.
Some people value faith over critical thinking. You should never underestimate critical thinking — faith and knowledge may come and go, while the ability to question things is a more fail-proof machine that stays with and within us. Seek advice from friends and parents but let the ultimate decision be yours. Not all that are older are wise and vice versa. Never follow leaders or books blindly—doubt is sane and questioning is vital for living a good life.
2. Be open to new things.
(But do a decent bit of questioning first.)
3. Don’t gossip excessively.
You can’t help not doing it at all. But what Joe thinks of Jane often tells us more about Joe. Having said that, don’t let Joe’s opinion ruin your future relationship with Jane by adopting Joe’s bias.
4. Never lose the will to live.
Who knows what might happen? Life is confusing partly because we can never be aware of consequences. When things happen, we never know if they really are for the better or worse and we will never be able to discover. This is why anxiety, however inherent in us, is overrated.
5. Don’t judge yourself or others or categorize in excess.
People who say they don’t judge at all are lying— there is a small amount of judging none of us can help. However, we should learn to catch our judgmental thoughts and question their validity — this way we will stay open to new encounters and learning new things.
Everything is more difficult to classify than we think at first glance. All things are connected and classifying something abstracts it, disrupting this connection. Everything is constantly changing and as we classify, we freeze things and people into concepts. This is why often judging will not get you far. We never get a maximum, ultimate idea of an object or a person. Our perception of reality is surprisingly faulty, but it saves our brains a lot of work. The more you learn, the more you realize that you don’t know that much. The more you learn, the harder it gets to describe things around you. And bearing in mind that we all constantly change, how can you judge someone after knowing him for 5 minutes?
6. Always be doing something.
We often live in the future. We plan excessively, we long for things, we daydream about what is to come. Still, at the same time we procrastinate. Procrastination is overrated and does not bring us happiness but an illusion of it. A busy today is a happy tomorrow.
There will always be excuses for not accomplishing things. There won’t always be opportunities. Big and bold aspirations are perfectly fine to have, as long as you act coherently and do your best to achieve them. People will try and strangle your ego out of envy or due to some other reason. Don’t submit.
7. Never lose the will to learn.
8. Seek balance.
Consistency is important, but ultimately, humans are not consistent beings. The most important thing is harmony. This is one of the reasons why your personal philosophy, your credo, shouldn’t clash with the modern world but be in a peaceful connection with it.
Balance in life is crucial. We should try to be happy with what we have, but our happiness should not stop us from aspiring to things and taking up new challenges.
9. Be clear
Aspire to being clear to others and to yourself. Good communication is utterly important. Most of the world’s problems are due to poor communication. We often give untrue explanations and excuses because the real ones seem to be silly and/or embarrassing. We find it hard to admit to being silly and embarrassing at times, and it contributes to the general confusion in this world. You think people will understand you anyway, but they won’t. Express yourself clearly.
10. Accept change around and within yourself.
With this mindset, you will appreciate good things more and bad things will hurt less.
11. Be aware.
Be aware of your feelings. It will explain a lot of your actions; it will help you. Drowning your feelings in substances will not ultimately solve the problem, rather, it will only make the problem worse. Get in touch with yourself. Question things not only around you but also within you. Be aware of what is going on around you. Observe — this helps questioning and understanding, even though we only understand to a certain extent.
12. Be a true version of yourself
Stop pretending to be something you aren’t — people who love you do so not because you do it but despite it. Stay authentic.
13. Don’t listen too much to what people say.
People will say things because they want you to fail, because if you do, you won’t get to be better than they are. And if you do fail, they will still have their excuses for sucking at life. As Morrissey put it into words, “we hate it when our friends become successful.”
14. Don’t be afraid.
Fears surround us. It is crucial to distinguish fears that protect us (like being afraid of snakes limits the possibility of us engaging in contact with one) from the ones that impede us from achieving goals — the fear of failure, the fear of being judged by others, the fear of change.
15. Keep trying.
You will get there. Tried for too long and still no progress? Try something else. Keep trying until you find something you’re good at. And, yeah—don’t be afraid and don’t listen to what the others say.
16. Stop and smell the roses.
I love Carl Sagan’s quote: “we are singing stardust”. It’s important to realize the beauty of nature, the beauty of science. It is important to realize the beauty around us. Next time you are having a walk, stop and try to contemplate things that are around you. Take your earphones off, look around, listen. Everything is beautiful.