“Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.”
Here is some advice. I don’t know better than you, and I did not achieve the art of following my own advice.
Also, I have opinions about some things I know through reason, yet I did not have the visceral experience of these things (like my own children, for instance). However, that should not make you nervous, but instead you could try to take it as a perspective opportunity, a way to peek into a different lens.
Life is like music: for every song there is only one score.
For virtuosity with any given score, you must play those exact notes and do your best to not play others by mistake.
Virtuosity is what success is: you are playing life exactly as the score says.
First, all people start early. Just like virtuous musicians.
All these millionaires and billionaires start in their 20s, as well as others who don’t make it. All these globe trotters start early, as well as others who don’t make it. People raising five children start early, they don’t make five children in their 40s, as well as others who don’t make any. And do not start to point out the exceptions here. Early start is the rule.
Second, the difference between the virtuous at life and the ones who suck at life is that most people abandon plans, stray from paths, switch directions, or simply stop. Consistence in life is not about staying stuck in bad conditions, it is about knowing what score you’re playing and not fucking it up.
Do you want to be rich? There is one score to play and the notes include grit, wit, persistence, failure, ass kissing, immoral actions, pride, self loathing, fear, uncertainty. You can’t pick and choose what notes you want to play, because inevitably you’ll sing a different music.
Do you want to be good at something? There is one score to play and the notes include boredom, nitpicking, stagnation, tedious repetitive tasks, ten thousand hours of no progress, failure. There is no way to sing performance without them.
Do you want to have freedom? There is one score to play and the notes include poverty, fear, uncertainty, searching for talent and realising there is none, observing the absurdity of life, observing the absurdity of yourself, existential crisis, self loathing, self love, feelings of grandeur, humility, mistakes, repeated mistakes, loosing people, loosing love, loosing money, loosing faith. Freedom is a wonderful song.
Can I compose my own music? Yes, of course, go ahead. Just don’t expect to churn out a masterpiece without the magic potion made of luck, divine grace and serendipity.
Be good at what you do. This is the best money advice you’ll ever get.
It is not enough to have skills. Be top notch. The better you are, the more money you’ll have. It doesn’t matter if you like it. It doesn’t matter if it is interesting or not. If you have access to better trades go for it, but if you are socially and economically stuck in lame trades don’t despair: improve!
Know your shit. Be up to date. Practice. Be good.
Never stop learning. I did for parts of my life. I remember how a friend and business partner shouted in awe: “There is a shitload of money, here just learn how to work with this”. But boredom got the best of me. It cost me time. And time is the only thing you cannot buy back. If there is something you can learn to become better, don’t think twice.
Great skilled people will only make more money even when robots will invade the workforce completely. Who manually made watches was in a dire position a while ago, today they are the select few producing ultra expensive products.
It doesn’t matter if you wash dishes for a living. Wash them really good and really fast.
The better you become at work the more it becomes creation instead of work. That is the secret. All art evolved from greatly skilled work. Still does.
Pay attention and suddenly life is better.
All parents are tired. Everyone is overworked. We’re all sick.
All parents are tired because they don’t pay attention to their children.
Everyone is overworked because they don’t pay attention to their work.
We’re all sick because we don’t pay attention to our bodies.
If you pay attention you will improve your condition. It’s a built in function of your humanity. That’s why we’re still around despite being born as weak naked pink blobs.
If we pay attention we begin to improve our condition. Pay attention to everything, everyday, every time.
Your child will tell you what to do to not be tired. You’ll enjoy your child then. Your job will tell you what to do to finish the work. You’ll benefit from your work then. Your body will tell you what is wrong. You’ll feel good about yourself then.
But where to get all the attention from?
Train your will.
Attention is the aptitude of the will. Just as resistance is the aptitude of action. It’s different aptitude, but an aptitude nonetheless. That is also why some people are talented: natural attention wranglers, amazing multi-taskers, true Lean In folk, the “have it alls”, and so on.
We the rest train our will. Normal, average, people need passion, love, drive, interest, hope, desire, belief, curiosity or lust to power up their will. And it’s fine! Whatever.
Feed on what your will needs so that you can pay attention to buy your life back from time.
Make all bathrooms unisex, and stop fetishising the dick.
Sex segregated bathrooms is a relic of religious guarding of sexuality, a practice that continues to convert intimacy into shame.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Look at a dick.
What is wrong with people who don’t see how random sexual restrictions are? For example, you can’t show dick but you can show pussy on TV before 10 PM. This regulatory randomness is mind numbing.
Also, you do not have intimacy in a bathroom because there is nothing to feel ashamed about. You can have a private space in a bathroom, because what people do in bathrooms is unflattering, and we do not want to waste our short life reconstructing social status after every burrito we eat. But a private space is completely different from intimacy.
People who seek intimacy in public bathrooms have intimacy issues. Intimacy is different from sex. You may seek consensual sex in a public bathroom because it is one kind of many human sexual fetishes. But, at the same time, no one is sane and expecting sexual behavior just because they’re in a bathroom at the same time.
Anything not consensual is a problem which segregation does not solve.
Be like Elsa: let it go.
You are neither a sponge, nor a box, you are a flowing state.
Look at people founding things and how they introduce themselves. 25 years at Linked In, 40 years at Google, a century of advising at Andreessen Horowitz. What does this mean?
You’d think these people are filled with answers. But they are not. They are people who have had one thing: consistence. Some also persevered. From consistence and perseverance comes great intuition.
Intuition is the correct guess. Top notch players have higher odds of making correct guesses because they are trained well by their assimilated experience.
Everything that happens to you changes who you are. After each experience your state is different. You don’t offer value by articulating things people can find in compendiums. You don’t become a linchpin because you’ve absorbed indicators and methodologies.
You are priced based on the quality of your experience distilled into intuition. You sell intellectual booze.
Stop fact checking the bible, it is stupid.
These people who feel so smart that they start proving the great flood was impossible make me nervous. Why? Because they’re supposed to be smart.
Fact checking the bible is one of the worst possible ideas, starting from discussing the logic of divine existence, and ending with counting years since creation, as if that’s what counting years means in the bible.
The bible, the vedas, the talmud are not reliable history to prove, nor are they cookbooks for civilisation, like other idiots think. They are politics manuals.
Except for some revelation, which is personal.
Stop preaching what you do as a source of truth, or people will secretly hate you.
OMG. That guy is great. OMG. This girl had it worst. OMG. They made it against all odds. I got it. I got it. BUT I cannot imitate no one, and no life, made up of some random list of friends and foes, give anyone any moral superiority.
I’m ashamed to say: the fact that an, in any way, handicapped person is better than I am at whatever, fills me with awe for that person, but at the same time lowers incrementally my self-esteem. I am not ashamed to say it and I believe this is how it works for everyone.
That is why I think personal example is problematic and why archetypal stories have mythical heroes in them, not real historical figures.
Get married and have children, because you are free to divorce.
Jesus fucking Christ. Stop it with the stupid advice of “don’t marry, live your life”.
People don’t want to marry by default, no impulse to not do it is required. But not getting married or being a childfree progressive, or a childless conservative, is no key to happiness.
If you’re a woman, chances are you’ll be fine after birth. The younger you are the greater the chances. Careers do not stop with children. Neither do they fail to start. It’s just that you need either a supporting husband or be alone and happy. Don’t stick to fathers who are tired of your breastfeeding. Don’t let go of your dreams just because there is a newborn around. At the same time, remind yourself, from time to time, that there are things which are better done at a young age. Like drugs, serial drunken lost nights and children.
If you’re a man, stop being a large kid and own up to your balls. Help the mother of your child, or let her be. Don’t be Elon Musk who thinks he should be more with his kids after “they start forming their consciousness,” aka after the shit and pee is over. Be wiping shit or thankful she does it all the time.
Stop this stupid idea of marriage as a trap, no one is out to get you. Unless you marry a psychopath, you can end it.
Think for yourself and you’ll see, there is nothing wrong with marriage or with having a family. It is an experience well worth it. Just don’t make a tragedy out of it, when, and if, it ends.
Divorce is not a bad event. Unless you married an asshole. Both sexes can be a real pain the ass when you must split random matter between appartments.
The real advice seems to be: be careful who you marry. That’s it.
And try to have children young. Diversity does not solve low natality. Low natality sends entire cultures into the drain of history. Just like colonialism. We’re too far to count on technology yet. Ask from your society child support. Be politically active.
BTW polyamory is very complicated. Polyamory is hard. Because emotions are wrong, because passion hurts, because biology doesn’t care, because polyamory is natural and monoamory isn’t, but humans love to try impossible things.
The solution to the fact that marriage is a totally unnatural and hard life experience, is not to refrain from it. This is one thing, among others, that conservatives have gotten right. Even if you’re polygamous, marriage is a good idea, even if fictive because of law constraints. The making of families, gay families, straight families, poly families, S&M families whatever floats your boat, is a wise move, it creates social foundation and social foundation is what holds the thing we call world standing.
The solution to the fact that marriage is a totally unnatural and hard life experience is to embrace the potential failure of it.
“Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary”.
The opposite of freedom is boredom
Freedom is the most important thing for an aware and intelligent creature. For an aware and intelligent creature freedom is more important than being alive.
Freedom is a sentiment. Freedom is not a state.
Because freedom is not a state, you cannot “bring freedom” anywhere, it is either felt or it isn’t at all. Because it is a sentiment, it’s close to impossible to have a general recipe for freedom and one can be free in a cell, while another is not free in a paradisiac landscape.
The opposite of freedom is not captivity, which is a state, nor oppression, which is an action.
The opposite of freedom is boredom, another sentiment.
Boredom is the sentiment signalling your lack of freedom.
People get bored wildly different. Some people get bored in five minutes, some people get bored once a year, some people get bored at forty, for about three months.
We’re optimising for routine, because we consider freedom to be a state. And states need stability. Yet we’re wrong, dead wrong.
Sentiments need change to be experienced, which is why routine results in lack of freedom.
The world stands on huge routines, it is mostly a place of repetition, endurance as virtue. If you can do the same thing over and over again for as long as possible the rewards sometimes crawl beyond expectations.
But this is wrong, because it is boring, wich means we’re trapped.
Love is sold cheap so you buy into slavery
I have some beef with this easy love thing.
Why are there all these kinds of “loves” available to buy? They’re all on display and you must choose and consume each one of them, and, worse, opine on each.
First, love is cheapened by consumerism.
Don’t you just love beards? Don’t you just love black bezel glasses? Don’t you just love roses? Don’t you just love ice cream? Don’t you just love my Instagram?
Second, love is cheapened by sexual fidelity.
Sexual fidelity is completely its own thing. Sexual fidelity is not a given. People forget to celebrate the fidelity of their significant other as if love is a chastity belt. It isn’t. Fidelity is an effort that ought to be appreciated.
Third, love is cheapened by the institution of marriage.
The evolution of heterosexual relationships towards asexuality is defining the reason gay marriage is morally fine.
Fourth, love is cheapened by exaggeration.
For a long time, I used to think that being content is synonym with giving up. But in time I realized that contentment is the launchpad of happiness.
Can you launch a rocket from a forest? No. You need a plain field to fire up the boosters and not destroy everything around in a wildfire. That’s contentment: the plain field.
But contentment also has the power to ignite love. And that’s why people find it so hard, so late, so many bruises later, because everyone is stumbling and rushing to “find” love in the forest of life events, when in fact there is nothing to be found.
Nothing. Love is ignition. Which brings me to fifth.
Fifth: love is cheapened by complication.
Compound basic attractions evolve into love. Just like you.
You are, after all, the result of compounding small interractions. From protein to love story, what an architecture!
All in all a basic advice for life seems legit: just go along and don’t ever, ever, loose yourself. That’s about it.
Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.
Thank you Mary Schmich of 1997.