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JASKN

Top 10 Life Tips for the Young You

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Just move on when it’s boring or when you’re stuck.

Change what you can, accept what you can’t.

Failures are inherent, but success is very likely over the long haul and makes trying worth it. It’s truly in your power to change things. Try, try again.

Don’t take on debt without an honest plan to pay it back. Avoid. Uncontrolled debt is a life sandbag.

People don't change unless they want to, and even then it's a process requiring diligence.

Love evolves, not necessarily into something worse. The fairytale is only part of the truth.

Dwelling on negatives punishes you first and worst.

Are things really what they seem? You’d better find out.

It’s all about you, really. But, it’s not just you.

Worry is a negative default of an idle mind. Take a walk, it's not that serious, someday you'll be dead.
 

An advice list will change depending on your target person or audience. These are the top tips 33-year-old me thinks would have most helped 18-year-old me (and up to 33, I guess). Youthful naivety prevents full understanding, and with blissful ignorance, so I tried to phrase it in a way that might have gotten my younger self thinking and thinking back again after some experience, or in a way to which I would have been receptive, especially since I was prone to rationalism. I suppose this list would work without the influence of Rand, but I found Rand right around that age... so, she's baked in by now.

I wonder how a list like this might be different 10 years from now, as it won't be geared toward a flailing know-nothing who hasn't established mental habits of systematized truth gathering. Some other tips weren't as important to my younger self without first learning something about the other tips on the list, and they arose naturally afterward based on life experience. Life doesn't seem like a catch-up game anymore.

What are your 10?

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I have my own list, but -- for now -- I'd like to explore these a bit. Could you expand on this one, maybe with an example?

2 hours ago, JASKN said:

Are things really what they seem? You’d better find out.

Also, this one...

2 hours ago, JASKN said:

It’s all about you, really. But, it’s not just you.

 

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On 12/6/2017 at 3:21 AM, JASKN said:

Are things really what they seem? You’d better find out.

In my teens, I put on a know-it-all front, but in fact I didn't verify much of anything at all for myself. This carried on until I found this forum, with its many exemplar users who didn't take any answer without some solid reasoning behind it, and a painful process of de-rationalization began after my sad mental habits just couldn't stand up any longer. The habits were deep, though, and for a while it seemed like I didn't really know anything about anything, because I realized I had really verified almost nothing.

I'd thought it was good general advice, not just for younger me, but maybe I wasn't so typical and this is very obvious to most people from the beginning.

On 12/6/2017 at 3:21 AM, JASKN said:

It’s all about you, really. But, it’s not just you.

Growing up, I did not focus primarily on my own desires, instead focusing first (or only) on what I "should" do. Then, for a long time I treated people poorly, generally. Maybe the first was due to religion and the second was a personal backlash, but I'm not a psychologist. The way I summed up this advice applies more in my 20s, since I wouldn't have heard or understood any version of it when the issues were at their worst. I see versions of these two problems in a lot of people now - confusion about why life isn't working out, when surface investigation reveals motives that don't start from within; confusion as to why things aren't working out, and then big surprise they have no consideration at all about the other person's perspective or objectives.

 

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The high school me was a confused Christian, so other than telling myself to read Ayn Rand, my advice would be:

1. Take life seriously.

2. Pay attention to your thoughts.

3. Question what you're doing.

4. Study everything.

5. Talk to everyone.

6. Listen to people.

7. Write something every day.

8. Learn to dance.

9. Learn to draw.

10. Don't smoke weed.

That pretty much covers it. I kept it simple and direct so my stupid young brain wouldn't misinterpret anything.

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Thanks for explaining.

2 hours ago, JASKN said:

...   I put on a know-it-all front, ...

Something that's extremely common and universal is praising kids for some attribute while also implying that it is what they are, and not something they achieved. People will praise a say "you're so intelligent" and imply this is something in-born and praise-worthy. But, if it is really in-born, then it isn't praise-worthy. Many kids thus conclude that showing they do not know something is an admission of a weakness. This carries through to other aspects, not just "intelligence". Even something physical like being "pretty" is often not just about features one is born with, but about what one does with it.

Praising in-born traits implies the relative devaluation of subsequent action/processes to change. Yet, that change and those processes are the really praise-worthy things.

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One theme in the advice I'd give to a younger me is the idea of "acceptance vs. ambition". The theme is eloquently summed up in the "Serenity Prayer". 

Quote

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

While this makes total sense, it is that last line that's the problem: sometimes it can be really hard to tell the difference. Apart from some personal examples, I've heard countless examples from others of situations where there seemed to be no good answers, or where plans seemed to have been wrecked for good, where the only way out seemed to be: graceful acceptance. Yet, sometimes the "impossible effort" works at last. 

Innovators challenge accepted assumptions. Even when it seems obvious to him that the earth is flat, or that he cannot outrun his prey, or that humans cannot fly, he's not quite convinced. He might be the buffoon, jumping off a castle wall, to his death; or, he could push the idea until he finds another way to achieve his underlying goal. 

This is the theme I see in the following points you listed:

On 12/6/2017 at 3:21 AM, JASKN said:

Just move on when it’s boring or when you’re stuck.

Change what you can, accept what you can’t.

Failures are inherent, but success is very likely over the long haul and makes trying worth it. It’s truly in your power to change things. Try, try again.

I agree completely. There was a point in my life where I had not learned the value of acceptance, and of moving on. Learning that was a big deal. Yet, I'm always wary of this, because I have no rule about where to draw the line between "don't give up" and "give up and move on". I suppose one could try to formalize some factors that should go into the decision, but I think the most important thing is the awareness of this conundrum.

I would advise the younger me to be aware of this alternative, and to not give up,  to try again, and again, because one can do anything if one really tries; and, also to remember that repeating the same thing usually enacts the same outcome; and, that at some point he should cut his losses, learn the lessons, and move on.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Just saw a summary of Jordan Petersen's 12 rules for life: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/jan/21/jordan-peterson-self-help-author-12-steps-interview (some just for fun, but the first 10 are good advice)

Rule 1 Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule 2 Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule 3 Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule 4 Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule 5 Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule 6 Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world

Rule 7 Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule 8 Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie

Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule 10 Be precise in your speech

Rule 11 Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule 12 Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

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The premise of the thread could be faulty. Is wisdom implicitly beyond its audience, only to be recognized with later life experience? I had an old computer in high school with a DOS touch typing program that would let you practice on tried and true sayings. At 14 years, I recognized them as ancient wisdom, because they sounded dated and odd to me, and because I figured they wouldn't have been included without reason. I remember 3 (I tried and failed finding this program online to get the other sayings): 

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. 

For years I thought that they must be mostly nonsense, or half-truths since proven wrong, (ironically) like Bible Parables. Then over time, one by one they became real.

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1 hour ago, JASKN said:

The premise of the thread could be faulty. Is wisdom implicitly beyond its audience, only to be recognized with later life experience?

Partly true, but "forewarned is forearmed", :) 

Having an intellectual, but slightly floating appreciation, can help recognize when a relevant situation comes up. And, then, one has a canned solution.

Think driver education: you're told certain things about checking mirrors, or an over-shoulder look, or some such thing. But, you only get an appreciation while driving. Still, it's good to have a little theory instead of trying to figure out solutions as if you're the first one encountering the need for them.

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On 1/21/2018 at 11:56 PM, softwareNerd said:

Just saw a summary of Jordan Petersen's 12 rules for life: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/jan/21/jordan-peterson-self-help-author-12-steps-interview (some just for fun, but the first 10 are good advice)

Many of Petersen's rules are things an Objectivist could get behind, at least for the most part. Indeed, much of his advice has been said by various other self-help authors. 

A few days ago, a centrist-Democrat friend (Hillary voter, who originally thought Obama was a bit too much to the left, but later thought he'd mostly stayed centrist), was praising Petersen. I knew this was someone who had not learnt of Petersen via his politics. Even though Petersen came to Youtube popularity on the back of his fight for free-speech in Canada, and even though he has been championed by "the right" and by "libertarian left rebels", politics is not his strength. He's best when he has his psychologist's hat on. 

I think there's a lesson here for future Objectivist intellectuals. To break through to a wide audience, one has to speak to how people can lead better, more fulfilled, lives as individuals. Put free-markets on the back burner, not as an unmentionable or anything like that. Rather,  stress what is really important and is much more easily possible to all individuals: to lead happier lives in this world in which they find themselves. Since the context of such advice is typically western societies, or even countries like India (and dare I say, China), where individual success and happiness is accessible to most... this is a more productive place to focus. 

Anyway, if anyone is interested, here is Petersen, introducing his book.
 

 

 

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