I read a lot. I have had periods in my life in which I read hundreds of non-fiction books per year, writing notes about them, trying to apply them, and trying to absorb them. Sometimes I go back through my notes of advice for life, work, and relationships and I inevitably think “damn, that could have helped me just yesterday with X and last week with Y! If only I could keep this in mind…”.
This is a really hard problem. Just like math teachers that regularly play the lottery, we are really bad at both a) remembering useful advice and b) applying it in different domains.
Inspired by Derek Sivers “do directives” I recently started iterating over some advice for myself, compiled from what I learned in many different ways. I read it every morning, and I change it a little bit from time to time, depending on what do I need or what doesn’t serve me anymore. Below is the current incarnation of it, as of November 22nd, 2017.
The content itself might not make sense or be helpful to you as they are to me, but the practice of writing this down and evaluating on a daily basis has been a very powerful tool in keeping myself happy, healthy, and even productive in a very difficult period of my life. Try it yourself!
Advice to myself
- The past doesn’t matter and the future is not here yet. Focus on the present moment.
- Lower your expectations and be grateful for what is.
- You can’t make yourself happy; you can only let yourself be happy.
- Disregard physical posessions. Freedom and health are the most valuable things you can “have”.
- New information, new games, new books, new gadgets… you already have more than enough to be informed and entertained for years.
- Eat meat and vegetables. Drink water. Walk. You don’t need much effort to be healthy.
- Ask yourself: “Have I simplified enough?”
- Ask yourself: “Does this bring me joy?”
- Everything is impermanent. Everyone will die. Nothing matters. Have fun!