23 Lessons in 23 Years

March 26, 2011

  1. Always ask the girl out. Always. In the best case, you may end up marrying her. In the worst case (if she says no), you’ll end up with just as many girlfriends as you had before you asked her out.
  2. If pride is what’s on the line when making a decision to take a risk, go for it. Pride isn’t worth much and is easily replenished; certain opportunities may come only once…
  3. …But if it’s your dignity on the line, tread carefully. Pride and dignity are not the same thing, and the latter is far more important.
  4. It’s hard to gain trust. It’s even harder to gain it back.
  5. Being kind is far more important than being clever, but that doesn’t mean that the two are mutually exclusive.
  6. True freedom is difficult to grapple with. It means you’re accountable to no one else but yourself at the end of the day. You have no maps, and thus no one and nothing to blame if things don’t turn out the way you had hoped. It is both a blessing and a curse.
  7. “Being” anything doesn’t mean that people believe you are that anything, or even that you believe you are. It means doing what being that anything entails. If you want to be excellent, be excellent. If you want to be kind, be kind. “Being” is a state, one that is determined by what one is currently doing.
  8. There is something admirable about being optimistic, because in doing so, one acknowledges that any situation can be made better. But optimism can only be realized first through realism. There is nothing admirable about being naive, as it is intellectually and emotionally lazy.
  9. Don’t pity other people. Empower them instead.
  10. It doesn’t do any good to reciprocate anger, or any other destructive emotions, because it ultimately makes it more difficult to find a solution to the problem that caused the negative emotion in the first place.
  11. A kind, heartfelt, handwritten letter is better than 99% of gifts you could give a person.
  12. Relatedly, write thank you cards. In the age of email, no one does anymore, which means they’re even more special now than they were in the past.
  13. It’s okay to go to movies by yourself. Unless they’re date movies. Then you’re just lame.
  14. The past and the future do not exist at this moment, so it doesn’t help to worry about them too much. That being said, learn from moments before and plan for moments ahead so that you can have a better present.
  15. How good or bad a situation is can be significantly affected by one’s attitude. Choose wisely.
  16. Exercise consistently. No, seriously. It’ll do wonders for your health, your self-esteem, and the other aspects of your life.
  17. In general, do what you love. Or at least find a way to support yourself so you can do what you love.
  18. Always be aware of what makes you happy and feel fulfilled. Scrap whatever you’re doing in life that doesn’t align with these things—you’d wasting time and energy chasing the wrong things otherwise.
  19. It can always be okay. It’s just up to you to decide that it is and will be.
  20. Seek out beautiful things: art, emotions, experiences, people. And don’t let anyone tell you that what you think is beautiful, isn’t.
  21. Dress well. Live better.
  22. Dance. Always dance. Even if you’re not good at it. It’s worth it, trust me.
  23. Most importantly — Remember: “No man is a failure who has friends.”
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