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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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