66 Life Lessons From Friedrich Nietzsche
Life lessons from my buddy Nietzsche:
1. The will to power is the will to live
Don’t cower under suffering. Rather, know that suffering leads to growth in life — and we need to suffer in order to grow stronger.
Everyone strives to become a master of their space, and to constantly extend and grow.
Anything which is a living and not a dying body will have to be an incarnate will to power, it will strive to grow, spread, seize and become predominant. Not from any morality or immorality but because it is living and because life simply is will to power. ‘Exploitation’ belongs to the essence of what lives, as a basic organic function, it is a consequence of the will to power, which is after all the will to life.
Anything that is living will have a will to power — strive to grow, spread, and seize and become predominant. Because to live is a will to power!
So, do you have a will to live? If you have a will to live — you need a will to power. Never stop growing, spreading, and seizing opportunities in life, to become stronger.
2. We are responsible for ourselves
No complaining in life. We need to take full responsibility of our lives:
We are responsible to ourselves for our own existence; we want to be the true helmsman of this existence and refuse to allow our existence to resemble a mindless act of chance.
We exist, because we are responsible for how we live and think. We want to take the steering wheel of life, and don’t just think of our lives as a ‘mindless act of chance.’
3. Never stop climbing
‘In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain.’
In seeking truth; you will never climb in vain — you will either go up higher today, or you will use your strength to get up higher tomorrow.
4. Build your own bridge in life
No one can construct for you the bridge upon you must cross the stream of life; nobody but yourself alone.
Nobody can build your bridge in life to cross the stream of life; you must build your own bridge yourself.
5. Follow your own path in life
There is a path in life that only you can go. where does it lead? don’t ask — just follow your own path.
6. Your genius is inside you
Don’t evade your own genius. Don’t look around yourself. Look inside yourself.
7. No real facts exist
No facts exist; only interpretations.
There is no real ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the world — just how you interpret it.
8. Consume great culture
You are what you eat:
Culture is liberation, removal of all the weeds, rubble and vermin that attack the tender buds of the plant.
Make sure you only consume culture which you love, and feel is giving your inner-seed nutrition and empowerment.
9. Love difference of thought
Admire those who think differently than you:
Hold in higher esteem those who think differently!
10. Never stop seeking the truth
Strive for peace of soul; seek to be a devotee of truth and inquire.
Seek the truth until you die.
11. Revel in your eccentricity
If you are weird or an ‘eccentric’ — revel in it. Appreciate your uniqueness. Don’t try to conform to society. You are a round peg — and you cannot be fit into a square hole.
12. Strive after wisdom
Wisdom: knowing the difference between good and bad, and knowing what it means to be a virtuous human being.
Never stop striving to become the best version of yourself, and seeking wisdom:
I now myself live , in every detail, striving for wisdom — while I formerly merely worshipped and idolized the wise.
Don’t just swallow the wisdom of the past masters of philosophy. Rather, strive to build your own path. Appreciate the masters from the past, but don’t just follow them blindly.
13. Be bold
My problems are new; my psychological horizon is frighteningly comprehensive, my language is bold and clear — there are no books written in German which have ideas and more independent ideas than mine.
Don’t fake humble. Be bold. Do cool shit, and change the world for the better.
14. Don’t become a monster
He who fights the monsters should find out that I don’t become monster.
Sometimes in life you live long enough to become the villain.
Make sure that in your ideals, you don’t become a fascist. Think of all those with overtly idealistic ideas — who ended up killing millions.
Never become a monster in trying to fight the monsters.
15. Would you live your entire life on loop?
Nietzsche had this concept of the ‘eternal return’ — if you lived your life on loop (for eternity) — would you be happy and joyous? Or would it be a living hell for you — would you be dying of boredom?
Practical application: Live everyday and ask yourself, ‘Would I be willing to re-live this day a million times forever?’
Essentially, make everyday a perfect day.
16. Think different
Steve Jobs once said, ‘Think Different.’ It echoes Nietzsche — who said:
“The surest way to corrupt youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” — Nietzsche
Public schools and formal education fucks us up. We learn to be generic — to take tests, and to be generic to the point of castration.
We need to teach our youth to revel and be happy in being different. Or else they can never do anything grand with their lives.
17. The universe isn’t an organism
Nietzsche said the concept of seeing the universe as a organism disgusted him. He said, ‘The earth is essential, universal, and eternal. Don’t antromorphize nature into being an organism — the universe is something greater.’
To ‘Anthromorphize’ something means to give non-human things (like animals, trees, and nature) human emotions.
For example, we know the human emotion of ‘happiness.’ When we see a dog that is smiling — we assume the dog is also ‘happy.’ But the problem is that we don’t know if a dog internalizes the same human feelings we do.
So the lesson is this: be careful ascribing human emotions to non-human things.
18. Criticize yourself
Don’t care what others think of you — but be your harshest self-critic.
For me, I am a bit lazy. I need to double-down on my hustle, and not waste any of my time or life.
19. The purpose of life is creating art
Art is the supreme task and the truly metaphysical activity in this life.
The purpose of life is to create art — and the only thing worth doing. We can create art via music, through drawings, through pictures, through writing and poetry. It is our #1 duty in life — to create more art.
20. Pay attention to artistic stimuli
What stimulates your artistic sense? Colors, textures, music, or images?
Observe closely — and enjoy observation. The greatest skill of a photographer or an artist is to have an observant eye. That means, don’t always look at your smartphone — spend time to look at the ‘real world.’
21. Do you want to keep dreaming on in life?
Life is about pursuing your dreams. If you woke up one day and found out your life were a dream — would you want to live or dream on?
It is a dream! i want to dream on!
22. Dionysian vs Apollonian
Dionysius was the god of debauchery, drunkenness, and madness.
Apollo was the god of reason, order, and rationality.
Nietzsche’s main concept of the Dionysian vs Apollonian was that to be the best version of ourselves — we need to combine and blend both the craziness and the rational side of our minds.
So that might mean get really fucking angry sometimes, but also remain cool and calm other times.
Embrace polar opposites and extremes — rather than a boring ‘middle’ course in life.
So for me, I would rather live a fucking epic ass life (and die in a state of thrill), rather than to live a moderate-boring comfortable life in an office 9–5 cozy $100,000 a year job.
23. Gird yourself
Get ready for the war of life, it will be a fucking hard battle:
‘Gird yourselves for a hard battle; but have faith in the miracles of your god!’
24. Love the strong
Avoid emasculated inquiries.
Figure out how to help yourself to grow stronger in life.
Hate self-weakness, thrive in strength.
25. Disregard metaphors
Forget this primitive world of metaphor — don’t just classify stuff.
Instead of classifying knowledge — interpret information, and create meaning and purpose.
26. Be a PERSON OF ACTION
Don’t just think, contemplate and meditate — you need to be a person of ACTION! Only way you can get stronger in life is to take ACTION.
To make a business, you need to take ACTION and RISK.
To get stronger, you need to take action — you need to get on the floor, sweat, and do pushups.
If you want to be an artist, you must take ACTION and CREATE art!
27. Honor the ancients
To honor the ancients; continue seeking with the same spirit and with the same courage and don’t be weary of the search for the truth.
To have the same spirit and courage that the ancients did — to never give up. To be inspired by their curiosity and inquiry.
In photography, to follow the masters of photography, but seek to create our own unique vision and perspective of the world.
Don’t be a follower. Be an innovator. Think for yourself. Pave your own path in life.
Like Kanye West said, ‘I’d rather be a dick than a swallower.’
29. Follow your intuition in life
Follow your gut in life, rather than ‘logic’ and concepts:
I will now be guided by intuition in life, rather than concepts.
With intuition, it doesn’t have a regular path. Follow your gut always — in art and how you live your life.
Learn more: 40 practical philosophy tips for everyday living.
30. Be an ‘OVERJOYED HERO’
Disregard your concern for the future, and to be ‘prudent’ and ‘regular’ in life. Rather be an ‘overjoyed hero’ — and find beauty in everyday life.
31. Don’t cower from your uniqueness
You are unique. Don’t be afraid to express your uniqueness. Don’t fear negative stigma from others:
In his heart every man knows that being unique; he will be in the world once and that no imaginable chance will a second time gather together into a unity so strangely variegated an assortment as he is; he knows it but he hides it like a bad conscience — Why? From fear of his neighbor, who demands conventionality and cloaks himself with it.
Don’t fear what your neighbor will think of you. Just do you.
32. Don’t fear the opinion of your neighbors
Don’t feel constrained by this modern concept of ‘modesty.’
Don’t fall victim to indolence and inertia. Don’t follow social conventions — don’t act like a member of the herd. For inspiration, watch FIGHT CLUB.
But what is it that constrains the individual to fear his neighbor, to think and act like a member of the herd, and to have no joy in himself?
Don’t fear the opinion of others. Don’t think like the herd. Rather, follow your own joy in life.
33. Men are lazy
Men are lazier than they are timid; and fear inconveniences which unconditional honesty and nakedness would burden them.
Alcohol, drugs, and entertainment make us passive. It makes us timid, and numbs the pain of the world outside.
For me, I abstain (most of the time) from drugs and alcohol — because it dumbs down my creative output.
What de-powers you in life, and what empowers you?
Cut whatever makes you weak, timid, or lazy.
34. You are a unique miracle
Artists alone hate this sluggish promenading in borrowed fashions and appropriated opinions. They reveal everyone’s secret bad conscience; the law that every man is a unique miracle.
The fact you exist is a unique miracle. Don’t waste your life.
Don’t wish to belong to the masses. Follow your conscience which tells you:
‘Be yourself! All that you are now doing, thinking, and desiring is not yourself.’ — Nietzsche
35. Don’t be lazy
The lazy kill time.
Life is nothing but Time — as my buddy Seneca has taught me.
That means, you (if lucky) might have 90 years on this planet (in total). How much of your time have you already wasted?
Don’t kill time. If you kill your time, you are killing yourself — you are killing your life.
If you want to truly liberate yourself in life — cut out any distractions or fear you have in life.
36. Don’t be a ‘pseudo-man’
A ‘pseudo-man’ is a half-man. A fake man.
If you are a fake person, you are dominated by public opinion, and the opinion of others.
To be a 100% real person — is not to be a slave to the opinions of others.
37. We are responsible for our own existence
Be the true helmsman of the experience of life; and refuse to let my existence resemble a mindless act of chance!
You are responsible for your life. Never blame anybody else. Make the changes you wish to see in life.
38. Seek freedom!
The youthful soul says, ‘I will make an attempt to attain freedom!’
How do you define freedom?
To me, freedom is not doing what you don’t like doing — and doing what you like to do.
I like to think, write, photograph, teach, and spend time with loved ones. I hate doing administrative work, and being the slave of a 9–5 job, and a boss. I am lucky enough to have crafted my life to have (more or less) 100% freedom. And I am insanely grateful to be alive, and to always be creating.
39. Shed your false skin
We are born with ‘70x7 skins’ (490 layers of false skin). We need to shed off this false skin.
I am a dark and veiled thing — i have 70x7 skins — I need to tell myself, ‘This is really you; this is no longer outer shell’ — shed off my skin!
So peel away your false layers — and reveal your TRUE skin.
In other words, don’t have two faces.
40. Remove your false limbs
Truth that is learned is like artificial limb; false tooth, wax nose — or a nose out of another flesh. Don’t adhere to us because it is put on.
There is nothing more hideous than putting on fake limbs — like fake breasts, noses, and paraphernalia.
If you think something is bullshit, and it is part of you — tear it off. And certainly in the first place, don’t put it on yourself.
41. Empower your pupils to their fullest extent
I need to recognize the strength of my pupils and students, and ‘direct all effort and energy and heat at them’ — to help them build their own inner-virtue to the fullest extent of their maturity and fruitfulness.
So essentially, ‘pay it forward.’ To help your students, your children, your community — so they can help empower others.
42. Seek a ‘harmonious whole’
Nietzsche teaches us to seek and find a ‘harmonious whole’ — where we can synthesize ‘many voices in one nature’ into a central and single point — a ‘root force.’
So essentially, be a single person. And focus on your single, philosophical idea to share with others.
43. Make myself into my own solar system
My education task: mold myself and whole man into a living solar and planetary system; and understand its higher laws of motion.
Create your own solar system — which revolves around your mind.
44. Don’t distract yourself
Most humans distract their thoughts; to cease to be aware of life.
Why do we distract ourselves from life? Isn’t life the greatest blessing? Then why do we become less ‘alive’ by drowning ourselves with alcohol, drugs, and mindless entertainment?
The objective of all human arrangement is through distracting one’s thoughts to cease to be aware of life.
45. I am vain
If people call me an asshole or a dick — I can ‘ascribe my extreme actions to personal vanity.’
So when someone insults me, I can just say: “I am a very vain person.” Then to go back to my creative work/art.
46. Focus on a higher activity
I need to dedicate my life to ‘focus on a higher activity’ — a higher individual activity. I need to seek the truth, philosophize more, create more, and share more.
I don’t want to be a generic human being. I want to be a SINGLE and UNIQUE person.
47. Don’t just roll in life like a stone
‘Active people roll like a stone; conforming to the stupidity of mechanics’
Many ‘active’ people waste their lives — trying to be busy, just rolling the stone of life (like Sisyphus).
People are either slaves or free.
If you don’t have more than 66% of your day to yourself, you are a slave:
‘Men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever doesn’t have 2/3rds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.’ — Nietzsche
If you don’t have more than 66% of your day to yourself, you can still be a slave — even if you are a billionaire.
48. Life is the best gift
Don’t sell my life for the lowest possible price.
49. Avoid excess
The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.
If I eat excess food, I will get stomach pain. And in life, an excess of pleasure will often lead to joylessness, apathy, and boredom.
40. Never stop climbing
‘In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will get up higher today or you will exercise your strength so as to be able to get up higher tomorrow.’
Use your strength, muscles, and legs to keep climbing the mountain of life and truth. If you can’t get up higher today, strive even harder tomorrow!
41. Love truth — even if it is simple
Love truth; even when it appears plain and simple or boring to the ordinary person — truth tends to reveal its highest wisdom in the guise of simplicity.
True wisdom and truth is simple:
‘Fully-mature intellects love truth, even when it appears plain and simple, for truth tends to reveal its highest wisdom in the guise of simplicity.’ — Nietzsche
To me the truth of life is this: to empower other people.
42. Be flexible on your path of life
Don’t be rigid on the path of life. Be flexible on your path.
But stay rigid on your ultimate destination — the purpose of your life.
43. Live for yourself
Ordinary people are angry of others living individually — because of the extraordinary treatment to which the man grants to himself. Ordinary people feel degraded.
In today’s society we are told not to be individuals. And others will hate us for being an individual.
But ignore everyone else — live for yourself, in order to help the ‘greater good.’
44. Become you
Our conscience tells us; ‘You shall become the person you are’.
Life is about finding out who we are. Then in life, our primary task is to everyday work hard and hustle to become the best versions of ourselves.
45. Life is experiments
‘A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions — as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.’ — Nietzsche
Don’t think of success or failure — you are a scientist, or a kid, just having fun and making experiments.
Don’t take yourself too seriously; have fun and play in life.
46. Paint your happiness on the wall
‘Pardon me my friends, I have ventured to paint my happiness on the wall.’ — Nietzsche
47. What is morality ?
Morality is herd instinct in the individual.
Avoid the normal concepts of ‘morality’ — create your own sense of moral right and wrong.
48. Don’t be ashamed of looking at yourself in the mirror
“What is the seal of liberation? — No longer being ashamed in front of yourself.” — Nietzsche
That is the only way to measure ‘success’ and freedom in life. Be proud to look at yourself in the mirror everyday.
49. Live dangerously
The secret of harvesting the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is to LIVE DANGEROUSLY!
To have the greatest life possible — take more risks, and live DANGEROUSLY!
Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerers as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors; you seekers of knowledge!
Don’t be content living hidden in forests like shy deer. Conquer your fears, and become the best version of you, and do crazy and cool epic shit in life.
50. Don’t return to past periods
Be delighted who love danger, war, and adventures — and refuse to compromise and be castrated!
Strengthen yourself, and advance yourself — don’t be a slave to the past. Be a master, and command your future.
Carry heroism into the strength and search for knowledge; wage wars for the sake of ideas and consequence.
51. Be ambitious
‘My ambition is to say in 10 sentences what everyone else says in a whole book!’ — Nietzsche
My new ambition: to say in a blog post what most people do in 1 book (I think I already am doing this).
52. Get stronger
‘What does not destroy me, makes me stronger. ‘ -Nietzsche
Just like a good Kanye Song: “STRONGER”:
53. Write with your blood
‘Of all that is written, I love only what a man has written with his own blood.’ — Nietzsche
No blood, no sacrifice, no guts — then no grandeur.
Real heros spill blood.
54. Pull others up
Seek equality in humanity by helping pull everyone else up!
Never seek to push people down. (communism)
My philosophy: EMPOWERMENT of others by bringing them to their fullest potential. Not penalizing the strong.
55. Don’t read what you find boring
‘Plato is boring.’ — Nietzsche
56. Why do you live?
If you have a will to live — a why in your life, you can tolerate the means or the ‘how’ to live:
‘He who has a ‘WHY?’ in life can tolerate almost any HOW?
57. Laugh at hardship
FREEDOM: the will to be responsible for ourselves. To preserve the distance which separates us from other men. To grow more indifferent to hardship, severity, to privation, and to life itself.
Be indifferent to your personal suffering, and hardship. Rather, use shitty circumstances in life and turn it into gold.
Remember, what kills you makes you stronger.
58. Be a warrior
Become responsible for my own actions — in seeking freedom, you need to be a spiritual warrior:
‘The free man is a warrior.’
Overcome any resistance that gets in your way.
59. Always seek to avoid boredom
Against boredom even gods struggle in vain.
Follow your natural curiosity; don’t do shit that bores you.
Be like a grown-ass kid.
60. Love your enemies and hate your friends
A knight of knowledge will love enemies, and also hate his friends.
The opposite of loving your enemies; hate your friends.
That means, don’t give your friends preferential treatment just because they are your friends.
61. Never resent others
‘Nothing on earth consumes a man more quickly than the passion of resentment’.
Rather, just focus on building yourself up. Ignore the successes of others, just make yourself as successful as possible (in your own eyes).
62. I am no man; I am dynamite.
‘I know my fate; one day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous — a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience. I am no man, I am dynamite.’
You aren’t a normal human being — you are dynamite. Blow shit up, and do cool shit!
63. Time is the ultimate judge
The only thing that is worth anything or not is that which endures — time.
64. Life = the will to power
‘There is nothing to life that has value, except the degree of power — assuming that life itself is the will to power’
To live, you must become more powerful.
65. Speak to the masters of the past
Each giant calls his brother through the desolate intervals of time. Undisturbed by wanton noises of the dwarfs that creep past me; my high-spirited converse continues (to masters of the past).
Ignore the dwarfs of today; converse with the masters and giants of the past.
66. Become superman
Nietzsche’s concept of the ‘superman’ or ‘overman’ — is someone even more powerful than a normal human being.
Watch the SUPERMAN movies for inspiration — just be like superman.
Or be like Batman.
Become an ‘Übermensch’ — a higher man.
And lastly, overcome yourself.
Learn more: STOICISM >