Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Numbered Life Advice from Some People I Admire

A lot of people I admire have been writing advice in list form recently! Here are some that resonate with me:

John Hodgman:
1. Try to be around people that make you feel genuinely happy

2. Disengage from people who make you feel bad and don’t care about how you feel

3. Do more favors than you ask for

4. Remember it always hurts to ask

5. Let people know when you are genuinely thinking nice things about them and be alert to the more frequent times when you are not thinking about anyone but yourself at all, and remember that we are all like this, and so if someone lets you down, let them off the hook. You are letting plenty of people down all the time in small ways and that’s how it goes being an individual human being.

6. Don’t sit on the same side of a booth in a restaurant even if you are lovers

7. Don’t leave a lot of voicemails

8. Please don’t write lots of long emails

9. Be nice

and that’s all you need to do.
Andrew WK:

To be a real human being, you must try...

1. To care about someone and something more than yourself.

2. To accept help from someone even when you believe you don't need anyone.

3. To cheer people up and bring them simple joy in times when it seems hardest to smile.

4. To bring loving comfort and sincere hugs in the midst of violence, pain, and suffering.

5. To recognize your own shortcomings and failings before lashing out at another's weakness.

6. To have true compassion when someone's in a bad mood, with the understanding that they might be going through a hardship you're not aware of.

7. To constantly remember that life is a fragile and precious miracle which requires all our collective effort to protect.

8. To humbly work to improve our own defects and cut everyone else a little more slack.

9. To remember that being a loving and positive person isn't always easy, but it's always worth it.

10. And lastly, to never give up on the power of humanity and on your own potential to be a caring, loving person.
(something I like is that this was his reaction to a list of "how to be a real man", rejecting all that jazz)

Werner Herzog:

1. Always take the initiative.
2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
17. Don't be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.

Justin McElroy:
-You can be funny and kind or funny and cruel. The second one is easier, but the first one is worth it.

-Dip the french fry in the Frosty. Go on, try it.

-Habit is a powerful force we forget about until it’s turned against us. Be careful which ones you create.

-You will remember the most embarrassing crap you do in your life forever and in perfect clarity. Everyone else will remember the kindest things you do. It all comes out in the wash.

-If you’re doing a remote podcast, it’s worth it to record audio locally and mix it together. Trust me on this one.

-You’re the only one who can let go of your grudges. It’s worth it, I promise. They’re not doing you any good.

-Doing the good, brave, kind things can feel silly if you let your internal critic get in the way. Reminder: No one else can hear that guy.

-I can count on one hand the number of times putting out negativity has brought me back something worthwhile and even when it works it feels terrible.

-Want to be better-liked immediately? Today? Right now? Use people’s names. Ask more questions. Make the person you’re talking to feel important without empty flattery.

-Don’t correct people. Unless their wrongness will lead to them getting hurt or hurting someone else. You’ll have a fleeting sense of superiority and they’ll resent you. Nothing worthwhile comes of it. This used to be so hard, but now I cringe when someone else does it.

-Cooking a Hot Pocket in the oven may seem counterintuitive, but man, it can really elevate it.

-Learning to appreciate things you don’t initially enjoy is the power to fill the world with stuff you like.

-Empathy is the final step of maturity. It can take some work, but you’ll be shocked how much easier the world is to navigate when you remember to use it.

-You’re probably not drinking enough water.

-There’s no narrative to your life, no arc, no reward for achieving all the things you want. That kind of thinking is a recipe for a you-centric world view and is a very lonely road. Focus instead on the role you play in the stories of others. When I was young, there was an old man named Brady at our church who always had gum. No matter what, Brady always had gum that he offered up freely. When he died, it devastated our youth group and I still remember him two decades later. Brady might have only played a bit role in all our life stories, but by playing it with generosity and kindness he achieved a sort of immortality. Putting others first with a cheerful heart isn’t easy, but because of that, even the smallest acts can leave an incalculable impact.

-Don’t read the comments. And when you do, only reply to the nice ones.

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