Here are two lists. These lists I’m calling “Things to Know” and “Things to Do”. These are things I’ve discovered in my life so far. I find them helpful, even comforting. I hope you do too.

Things to know

  1. Expect your skills and education to be irrelevant in 10 years. Everything is changing, constantly. Keeping changing with it. Don’t be afraid.
  2. Hippies were wrong.
  3. You and your competition can both be successful. “They” do not have to fail in order for you to succeed. Jealousy will not help.
  4. The movie doesn’t have to be exactly like the book.
  5. You cannot execute every idea you have. Choose wisely. Stay focused. Say no.
  6. Working makes you happy. Work is important.
  7. Someone out there has the same idea you have. Ideas are useless unless you execute them.
  8. People will say: Stay positive, think positive, dance like no one is watching, et cetera. They are trying to think positive, which is noble, but their advice is terrible. Don’t listen to them. Your instinct is better than you think.
  9. There will always be people looking forward to their version of a wonderful future that clearly will never come.
  10. You were a kid once. It was fun, but you don’t need to relive it. You’re an adult now. You don’t need to act like a kid again to enjoy life.
  11. Having fun is overrated.
  12. Being happy is overrated.
  13. Conservatives are wrong about some things. Liberals are wrong about some things.
  14. Cars are stupid.
  15. Communism doesn’t work.
  16. Conservatism doesn’t work.
  17. People who wish a return to the good old days are fools.
  18. The kids are better than all right. The kids are great.
  19. There is only one decent way to drink coffee: black. It is not important to know what mocha means.
  20. Money makes you happy, in that you are less stressed if you know you can afford to pay your bills. The things you buy with money do not make you happy. Trying to get more money will not make you happy.
  21. You know three people you can show unfinished work to. Ask their opinions. (Don’t crowdsource).

Things to do

  1. Do not try to like poetry. Find one poet to like, that will do.
  2. Memorize a poem.
  3. Love your family. Kiss your wife. Never kiss anyone else.1
  4. Own books. Use bookmarks. Never fold the pages.
  5. Do not show everything you do to the internet.
  6. Don’t be cool. Being cool is being conservative and will get you nowhere.
  7. Criticize privately. Praise publicly.
  8. Work.
  9. Take your work seriously, but never yourself.
  10. Care about what others think of you.
  11. Be curious.
  12. Read one long article per month about something you know nothing about.
  13. Don’t drink.
  14. Don’t argue on the internet.
  15. Work with people you respect.
  16. Seek out people who are smarter than you and talk to them as much as possible.
  17. Do not take pictures of your cat.
  18. Don’t complain about Mondays.
  19. Refer to women as “women”, never “girls”. (Don’t be a douche.)
  20. Do not try to be creative. Try to be good.2
  21. Understand your opponent. Find out your underlying differences. Start with what motivates them. You could be wrong.
  22. Never say “when I was your age” to a kid.
  23. People who say they don’t give a damn are not worth talking to. Give a damn.
  1. Stolen from Johnny Cash

  2. Reworked from a Paul Rand Quote