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88 Important Truths I’ve Learned About Life

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Everyone gets drilled with certain lessons in life. Sometimes it takes repeated demonstrations of a given law of life to really get it into your skull, and other times one powerful experience drives the point home once forever. Here are 88 things I’ve discovered about life, the world, and its inhabitants by this point in my short time on earth.

1. You can’t change other people, and it’s rude to try.

2. It is a hundred times more difficult to burn calories than to refrain from consuming them in the first place.

3. If you’re talking to someone you don’t know well, you may be talking to someone who knows way more about whatever you’re talking about than you do.

4. The cheapest and most expensive models are usually both bad deals.

5. Everyone likes somebody who gets to the point quickly.

6. Bad moods will come and go your whole life, and trying to force them away makes them run deeper and last longer.

7. Children are remarkably honest creatures until we teach them not to be.

8. If everyone in the TV show you’re watching is good-looking, it’s not worth watching.

9. Yelling always makes things worse.

10. Whenever you’re worried about what others will think of you, you’re really just worried about what you’ll think of you.

11. Every problem you have is your responsibility, regardless of who caused it.

12. You never have to deal with more than one moment at a time.

13. If you never doubt your beliefs, then you’re wrong a lot.

14. Managing one’s wants is the most powerful skill a person can learn.

15. Nobody has it all figured out.

16. Cynicism is far too easy to be useful.

17. Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours.

18. Whenever you hate something, it hates you back: people, situations and inanimate objects alike.

19. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s works alone can teach you everything you need to know about living with grace and happiness.

20. People embellish everything, as a rule.

21. Anger reveals weakness of character, violence even moreso.

22. Humans cannot destroy the planet, but we can destroy its capacity to keep us alive.  And we are.

23. When people are uncomfortable with the present moment, they fidget with their hands or their minds.  Watch and see.

24. Those who complain the most, accomplish the least.

25. Putting something off makes it instantly harder and scarier.

26. Credit card debt devours souls.

27. Nobody knows more than a minuscule fraction of what’s going on in the world. It’s just way too big for any one person to know it well.

28. Most of what we see is only what we think about what we see.

29. A person who is unafraid to present a candid version of herself to the world is as rare as diamonds.

30. The most common addiction in the world is the draw of comfort. It wrecks dreams and breaks people.

31. If what you’re doing feels perfectly safe, there is probably a better course of action.

32. The greatest innovation in the history of humankind is language.

33. Blame is the favorite pastime of those who dislike responsibility.

34. Everyone you meet is better than you at something.

35. Proof is nothing but a collection of opinions that match your own.

36. Knowledge is belief, nothing more.

37. Indulging your desires is not self-love.

38. What makes human beings different from animals is that animals can be themselves with ease.

39. Self-examination is the only path out of misery.

40. Whoever you are, you will die. To know and understand that means you are alive.

41. Revenge is for the petty and irresponsible.

42. Getting truly organized can vastly improve anyone’s life.

43. Almost every cliché contains a truth so profound that people have been compelled to repeat it until it makes you roll your eyes. But the wisdom is still in there.

44. People cause suffering when they are suffering themselves. Alleviating their suffering will help them not hurt others.

45. High quality is worth any quantity, in possessions, friends and experiences.

46. The world would be a better place if everyone read National Geographic.

47. If you aren’t happy single, you won’t be happy in a relationship.

48. Even if it costs no money, nothing is free if it takes time.

49. Emotions exist to make us strongly biased towards or against something. This hinders as often as it helps.

50. Addiction is a much greater problem in society than it’s made out to be. It’s present in every person in various forms, but usually we call it something else.

51. “Gut feeling” is not just a euphemism. Tension in the abdomen speaks volumes about how you truly feel about something, beyond all arguments and rationales.

52. Posture and dress change profoundly how you feel about yourself and how others feel about you, like it or not.

53. Everyone thinks they’re an above average driver.

54. The urge to punish others has much more to do with venting frustration than correcting behavior.

55. By default, people think far too much.

56. If anything is worth splurging on, it’s a high-quality mattress. You’ll spend a third of your life using it.

57. There is nothing worse than having no friends.

58. To write a person off as worthless is an act of great violence.

59. Try as we might to be otherwise, we are all hypocrites.

60. Justice is a human invention which is in reality rarely achievable, but many will not hesitate to destroy lives demanding it.

61. Kids will usually understand exactly what you mean if you keep it to one or two short sentences.

62. Stuff that’s on sale usually has an annoying downside.

63. Casual swearing makes people sound dumb.

64. Words are immensely powerful. One cruel remark can wound someone for life.

65. It’s easy to make someone’s day just by being uncommonly pleasant to them.

66. Most of what children learn from their parents isn’t taught on purpose.

67. The secret ingredient is usually butter, in obscene amounts.

68. It is worth re-trying foods that you didn’t like at first.

69. Problems, when they arise, are rarely as painful as the experience of fearing them.

70. Nothing — ever — happens exactly like you pictured it.

71. North Americans are generally terrible at accepting compliments and offers of help.

72. There are not enough women in positions of power. The world has suffered from this deficit for a long time.

73. When you break promises to yourself, you feel terrible. When you make a habit of it, you begin to hate yourself.

74. A good nine out of ten bad things I’ve worried about never happened. A good nine out of ten bad things that did happen never occurred to me to worry about.

75. You can’t hide a bad mood from people who know you well, but you can always be polite.

76. Sometimes you have to remove certain people from your life, even if they’re family.

77. Anyone can be calmed in an instant by looking at the ocean or the stars.

78. There is no point finishing a book you aren’t enjoying. Life is too short for that. Swallow your pride and put it down for good, unfinished.

79. There is no correlation between the price of a brand of batteries and how long they last.

80. Breaking new ground only takes a small amount more effort than you’re used to giving.

81. Life is a solo trip, but you’ll have lots of visitors. Some of them are long-term, most aren’t.

82. One of the best things you can do for your kids is take them on road trips. I’m not a parent, but I was a kid once.

83. The fewer possessions you have, the more they do for you.

84. Einstein was wiser than he was intelligent, and he was a genius.

85. When you’re sick of your own life, that’s a good time to pick up a book.

86. Wishing things were different is a great way to torture yourself.

87. The ability to be happy is nothing other than the ability to come to terms with how things change.

88. Killing time is an atrocity. It’s priceless, and it never grows back.


Photo by Philgarlic

Cassi Cain August 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Dear David Cain,
I want to let you know that i have set this list as my homepage for the past year. I would like to inform you that it has helped me through some very difficult hellish times in the past year for myself. So i want to thank you for helping me through so many obstacles. I read this list to settle with myself and make sense of the situation Im in. Much appreciated.

David August 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

It makes me happy to hear that. Thanks for saying so Cassi.

Hey maybe you’re my long lost relative… :)

Katie Benedetto August 31, 2011 at 11:03 pm

This blog is insanely awesome. I’m really excited to find you. Hi David! :)

Jess September 7, 2011 at 7:58 am

I’ve just discovered your blog and cannot stop reading all those posts. So inspiring. It seems you happen to always find the right word that will speak to me.
Thank you!

xixihaha567 September 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

Not a bad guide, Although it could have been longer

Nitya September 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I would like to leave my observation/insight on the human condition, if you are still bothering to accept feedback.

People generally cast themselves as the hero in their particular story, no matter what the context. As a consequence, I always view personal accounts with a certain degree of scepticism. I allow for the twisting of perspectives that enhance the individual relaying events. Perhaps it is an essential mechanism for survival of the ego?

David September 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Can’t disagree with that

gaurav September 15, 2011 at 1:38 am

its just wow..
truly a truth about about life..
some things i also share about life and mentioned here


Kate October 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm

You helped me change my life. I’ve always been happy, or thought I was. It wasn’t until I really looked inside myself that I realized I can always be happier. Be a better friend. Be a better person. So thank you.

Briana October 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Hey David,
I found you through Stumbleupon a while back and visit this list on a regular basis. I come back to these whenever I’m feeling confused or unhappy in my life. It’s nice to know I am reading truths someone else has also learned. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
– Briana

Abdul Rauf October 19, 2011 at 4:37 am

An owesome collection, a real blend of experience

Andy November 9, 2011 at 2:27 am

Great post you’ve made here. The only thing I could say is in our life we continue to discover new things and we will dynamically learn from every situations encountered.

Be true to oneself and you’ll have a thousand ways to have a wonderful life.

Melanie Campagne November 12, 2011 at 7:59 am

wow, I never comment on any articles that I read and I read a lot of them! This has been one of the best I’ve ever read. I’m going to print it off and make it a poster in my home where anyone who comes in can get a piece of this wise list of truth. Thank you.

Rodrigo Barros November 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

I’ve been following Raptitude for a while and this is by far the most useful single page of knowledge I can recollect coming across. I am going through a rough patch at the moment – that is, compared to what my life had previously been, I know lots of people have it much worse – and reading this reminds me that life’s too short to waste it being bitter.

Thanks for posting it, David, and for all the work in here.

Peter November 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I think the world can be a better place if everyone read and attempted to follow your 88 rules…. Well except #72, I disagree :)

Gita Madhu November 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I rarely enjoy long lists-there are all too many of them. But I have not only managed to read through yours and enjoyed it. You are gifted with the ability to process what have now become platitudes to most and to breathe fresh life into them by presenting them in your own words. It seems clear to me that you are a joyously serious student of life. Thank you very much for this entry!

David November 23, 2011 at 9:42 pm

You flatter me Gita! Thank you for the kind words. Hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

Ryan November 30, 2011 at 2:41 am

Hey David, I’m really enjoying these list’s. They’re all very insightful!

Thoguh after reading this quote:
“Cynicism is far too easy to be useful.”

I got caught up in a contradiction I noticed upon considering the truth in this. Doubt is a highlight of cyncism, which is also the epi-center of your statement. You doubt cynicism’s usefulness, but then benefit in your gained knowledge from formulating this idea. (That is if you consider this aphorism to be beneficial, I know I did! as far as it challanged my perspective.) If my expression got a little mangled, basically I was just attempting to address that I found you used cynicism to your benefit, but then discredited it’s abilitly to bring fourth any use!
I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I’m just curious!

Dawn December 10, 2011 at 9:24 am

yes, great list!

BlueZone December 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm


LAF December 28, 2011 at 9:26 am

I am a place in my life where Im questioning everything….just to see whats real and whats the product of strong opinion…..I stumbled across your blog and Im in love with it….maybe because I don’t feel so alone… tearing apart some hard foundations and apply simple truths to a simple, yet complicated life. Thank you. Keep writing and I will keep reading.

Michael February 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm

This list really does ring the bells of the truth. Thanks for making my day even better.

Helena February 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

This was so insightful. It made me think. And it was entertaining. I’m really glad I clicked through a link on facebook :)

john March 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm

57. There is nothing worse than having no friends

i have to disagree… you could have bad friends

Michael May 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm

then they’re not really your friends, are they…

Indica March 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm

You left off the one about people that talk in bumper stickers.

Lin March 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Even as a 14 year old boy I thoroughly enjoyed this article. You really touch on the Important things in life that ignorant people seem to openly neglect. Thank you for giving me some added wisdom to help me live my life a little better, in the way that I and only I see it

Escape the Rat Race March 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Great list and I’m totally with you on #26! I have always avoided credit cards when ever possible!

Sean Isaacs May 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hi David, what a great list. So many simple yet profound statements. Too many good ones to list. I am sure this took alot of time to work through and choose the right words. Great job and thank you! Some of my own thoughts. I am tempted to write an article on each one. But they are yours! Thanks for giving so much value. I will re-post. I also took a moment to scan a few more of your articles and it looks like I am a new fan. I agree with an earlier comment that said you should write an article on each one. Just a thought!

Robert Rogers June 7, 2012 at 9:59 am

The key is the keep learning. That is the key to life. That is what makes things the most enjoyable. And that is what helps us to progress and improve. Thanks for sharing your lessons!

Avinash June 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

Thanks for this.

MLR July 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Painful truisms that should be shared for personal revelations & guidance to a better path for personal growth, thank you

Diana July 16, 2012 at 12:48 am

I love this post, is so interesting and so important, I dont know so much english because my first language is Spanish but this list is so good and I am with you in the #70- Nothing-ever-happens exactly like you pictured it. You are really great. Thank you.

tom campbell July 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I love so much of what you have to say. I’ve devoured a lot of your blog in the last couple days. thank you! I fear I’m in danger of disregarding your #1 point from above however in asking in regard to your point #22 if you’ve ever explored a critique of civilization. In other of your posts, you seem to take as a premise that civilization is a boon to humanity in allowing humans to have their basic needs met with minimal effort. but what if this supposed boon is what is leading to us making the world uninhabitable for ourselves? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Thank you again for your effort and inspiration in publishing this blog!

tom campbell July 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm

woops, I just realized that one of your most recent posts (the one that brought me to your blog) acknowledges that your older posts held different views about life before civilization than you do now. still I’m curious if this new understanding you’ve come to about pre-historic humans effects what you think of the value of civilization.

V'Spirit Cruises July 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

Hi David, this is truly a great list. Thanks for sharing.

DeWayne Williams August 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thank you for this list of Wisdom!

isre August 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

you are so awesome man!

neeraj sharma August 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm

thankyou david…..i read your thought and i am satisfied with these reason of lie to make good life..i was worried about about my life and i was in very tension in my life but now i feel better after read it…thanks again david…………

Sam September 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm

I like this post! Also 40 belief shaking remarks… (for the most part).

Reading the comments (and responses), I identify with the unpleasant irate people. I only speak when provoked to irateness: in general, when words like religion are used, I distance myself and stay quiet (so I don’t get irate).

The problem: taking issue with things: for example when one uses different definitions for some word, requiring that all previously validated logical statements involving that word become invalidated: it’s difficult to have discussions involving such words when the two parties understand them to be different things, and midway through the discussion when it turns out they’re not the same things (and it appears, at least, that the other party is conflating different definitions of the same word, perhaps). That is the time when the entire conversation has to be revisited by the person who recognizes that there is a difference in definition being used. (Perhaps the person, seeing how much reparsing and thought there is to do to reevaluate statements in an abnormal definitional context, chooses not to revisit the conversation…)

So the cynical proselytizing remarks you received about truth, knowledge, proof, and beliefs are such things; and the comments are expressing that the commenter believes their usage of these words is very different from your usage of these words. And perhaps they are, and if so then perhaps these are fundamental worldviews being encapsulated in these words, or perhaps they are miscommunications.

For example, respectively, truth, knowledge, proof, and belief make me think: “relative”, “collection of statements in contexts and their context”, “logical (eg, mathematical) derivations from (hopefully) trivial axioms”, and “validation of axioms, statements, or knowledge by an epistemology, or truth”.

Many times I have written irate comments too. But it takes quite a lot to express these things!

johnny September 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

i found a similar post on http:realxboxrewards.com..It was funny when i first read it and after that i showed the site to a couple of friends and instamagically amazed them

edora September 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

great collections..its really inspired me

Infonomics September 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Enjoyed your list. I would add one to it: everyone is selling something, including ideas. Cheers.

vijay Gururani November 5, 2012 at 3:03 am

Dear David,
These all above 88 learning are life path of human being .

“”Truth is all about light of knowledge which goes to direct human being to GOD””


from INDIA

berhane November 13, 2012 at 10:29 am

Further Credible. thanks.

Ian McDermott November 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

Erm, No. 72…almost every woman who ran a country started and/or finished a war. Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir put up a nuke in an IDF Skyhawk, just in case Egypt won. If you do a little research you’ll find that women are just a belligerent as men when in positions of power. Helen Ciller of Turkey, she stomped on the Kurds…and so on.

@ommunist December 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm

On #88, could you please clarify what you understand under ‘time’. I personally think there is no such a thing. People often mix ‘time’ with distance.

matt December 11, 2012 at 7:03 am

‘It’s a cliché because it’s true’ is a cliché because it’s true.

Leilani Grace February 2, 2013 at 3:28 am

Through the first 50, after reading and trying to relate them to my life, i kept thinking about my father. I need to see him, and say sorry.

Denise Trevino March 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

I strongly disagreed on 57 really their is no need to have friends unless it is previously. I mean really number 9 doesn’t make yelling a bad thing. But it was choice to put that on your Important Life Truths maybe just maybe your right.

nexusscars March 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Hello David,

I personally like #36. Knowledge is belief, nothing more.
I guess we remember those things and mostly wish to recall those things that we believe in.

Dharani dhara sha March 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Hi ,
Its great , what you gather for all to realize about what truths is.

Last two days i was imotionally tortured from my Manager (office). i always says his mistake, Thinking as, i am doing heardly mistake which can cause thinks like that.
Your truths # 39,69,76,87,85 turm me around normal and think about after ……………..

Thanks once again

Avneet Sharma April 16, 2013 at 6:19 am

It’s great ,some of the things you have experience about life can also be seen in my Holy Book ‘Bhadvadgita’ also :D

Daniel April 19, 2013 at 1:24 am

English isn’t my native language, so I’d appreciate if someone can extend the point 31. If what you’re doing feels perfectly safe, there is probably a better course of action.
I’m really intrigued on what it wants to say. I mean, when I think about what it is saying I perfectly understand it, but why would there be a better course of action? That is not clear to me.

anonymous May 3, 2013 at 11:58 pm
elisha May 4, 2013 at 4:54 am

your articles are a gift from God !!
i am ur fan!!
excellent writing and i agree to all those truths.

i loved number 76- some people are better left alone, especially when they bring you negativity. !!

keep up the good work David. You are great!! :D

Ali May 7, 2013 at 7:59 am

Awesome post , no. 4 “The cheapest and most expensive models are usually both bad deals” is so true…

MANJEET AHLAWAT June 19, 2013 at 12:24 am

Very great act …… you have done.

So many things about the human nature and introspection…….

One more truth I would like to add is ..
we are in heavenly world if can feel it, and make & maintain it …….
whatever is bad is created by human our self……

Please keep it up….
Nice collection …… I love this ……..

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debi October 23, 2013 at 11:32 am

LOVE this list! I am a teacher, and every Wednesday I have “Wednesday’s Wonderful Words of Wisdom” with my 7th grade students to give them things to think about other than science and math. I read several off of your list (some aren’t really applicable to 13 year old kids) and they loved them as well! Thanks so much for sharing!

T. November 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Disagree with for example: nobody has it all figured. Simply because you haven’t encounter that person or disbelieve doesn’t mean that is true.

Jaime November 17, 2013 at 9:41 am

I am 53 and loved the whole list, because, at this point, I´ve already gone throught each of item out, and I have to say, the first of the list is properly ranked. People change when truly decide by their own. When one got the point, in fact, never goes beyond the advices purposes.

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Michael Bradham December 11, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Looks like a lot to meditate on. Heres to 20 Days Meditation Honoring New Year: http://llavealhighway.com/20-days-meditation-for-new-year/

Lizzette Wheeling December 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Hello, I would like to subscribe for this weblog to get latest updates, so where can i do it please help out.

wamble December 14, 2013 at 6:45 am

{how do you spell the sound of silence folks}

sky December 17, 2013 at 6:58 am

Hahaha. Brilliant. Worth a read :)

sholaar December 20, 2013 at 1:47 am

I really find this list very interesting can’t pick a favorite actually but #1 seems τ̅☺ be something I always believ and so glad som1 else share that view. As for the calories and butter part? Am from Nigeria, don’t think ppl in this part of d world cares about that….at least not me. Hahahaa

sholaar December 20, 2013 at 1:56 am

And ooh there should be a “share” button or am I missing it?

Edwin January 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

Like number 48. Really, nothing is free.

skip hire Tottenham February 14, 2014 at 9:59 pm

It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
I ave read this poat and if I could I wish to suggest youu somme intgeresting things or tips.
Perhaps you could writye next articles referring
to this article. I want to read even more things about it!

Kyle B April 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I really liked #73. Being true to yourself is one of the most important aspects to a person’s life. I learned a long time ago that if I don’t believe in myself, no one else will. Nothing good will ever come from from lying to yourself about who you are.

Party in Tampa April 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm

As noted in #63…casual swearing makes people sound dumb, I hate when people at work swear to try and fit in. It takes more guts to act civilized!

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mike davis June 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Now is the time: The time has finally come to see what has been hidden from us. It is time to put the pieces of the puzzle together so that people can see the truth and the life clearly and completely for the first time. The evolution of technology, such as the Internet and other forms of mass communication, has progressed enough to reach just about all of mankind.- from The Present, a free book at http://www.truthcontest.com
What do you think about this? Agree or disagree?

Anurag Gupta June 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

Gem of words…
I have repeated the torture no 86 on myselves till I could not take it on more. Then started the cycle again after a few days…Hoping I can stop it now…

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