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February 2015

empty hall piano

There’s no way for such an avalanche of unsolicited advice to come off as anything but preachy. But there’s also something appealing about the scattergun approach. Trying on a few dozen ideas in a few minutes will almost always leave you with something you can take to the bank, if you don’t get hung up on what doesn’t resonate.

Here are sixty-seven short pieces of advice I either follow, or probably should. Take from it whatever rings true to you, and don’t take the whole thing too seriously. Have a good week.

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1. Ignore 1-star and 5-star reviews of books, hotels and products. The 3-star reviews will answer all your questions.

 

2. When you’re a host, use that experience to learn how to be a better guest, and vice-versa.

 

3. If you want to be fit, become someone who doesn’t skip or reschedule workouts. Skipping workouts is always the beginning of the end.

 

4. Learn keyboard shortcuts. If you don’t know what CTRL + Z does, your life is definitely harder than it has to be.

 

5. Become a stranger’s secret ally, even for a few minutes. Your perception of strangers in general will change.

 

6. Get over the myth that philosophy is boring — it has a history of changing lives. It’s only as boring as the person talking about it.

 

7. If you’re about to put down a boring a non-fiction book, skim the rest of it before you move on. Read the bits that still appeal to you.

 

8. Ask yourself if you’ve become a relationship freeloader. Initiate the plans about half the time.

 

9. Notice how much you talk in your head, and experiment with listening to your surroundings instead. You can’t do both at the same time.

 

10. Reach out to people you know are shy. It’s hard for them to get involved in social things without somebody making a point of including them.

 

11. Learn the difference between something that makes you feel bad, and something that’s wrong. A thing can feel bad and be right, and it can feel good and be wrong.

 

12. If you need to stop for any reason in a public place, move off to the side first.

 

13. Before you share an interesting “fact” on Facebook, take thirty seconds to Google it first, to see if you’re spreading made-up bullshit.

 

14. Clean things up right away, unless your messes tend to improve with age.

 

15. Consciously plan your life, or others will do it for you.

 

16. Be suspicious when someone uses the words “Justice” and “Deserve” a lot. Be suspicious when you use them yourself.

 

17. Get rid of stuff you don’t use. Unused and unappreciated things make us feel bad.

 

18. Expect people to get offended sometimes when you try to tell them what to do. Even if you think it’s good advice :)

 

19. Once in a while, imagine what it would be like if you really did lose all your data and had only your current backups.

 

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