What are the five most important things for a man to learn in life?
1.“The wine which is poured out first is the purest wine in the bottle, the heaviest particles and any cloudiness settling to the bottom. It is just the same with human life. The best comes first. Are we going to let others drain it so as to keep the dregs for ourselves?” (Seneca)
If you can, do the things that interest you early. Don’t wear out your body and mind in the hope that someday you can do the things you want to do. Don’t do 40 years of drudgery in exchange for a comfortable retirement and pseudo-safety. Not in today’s age, not when opportunity is every where.
Instead, save the best years for yourself. Work on what interests you, get good at it. Have fun.
2. Remember you are a living, breathing organism that needs to be taken care of. Eat well, sleep well, exercise well. There is no magic to this. It is a continual application of a few basic principles. Do it and you will feel great. Feeling great is conducive to achieving bigger things.
3. The worst case scenario is usually not that bad.
Action is the theme and duty of life. Doing good things. Except when we come to do things, we get over come with fear. What if I fail? What if I lose all my money? What if I get laughed at? It stops us taking action.
The truth is, with the things you want to do the worst case scenario isn’t all that bad. Especially in today’s world. You lost your money? Get a job. You failed? Try again. People laughed? You didn’t do it for them.
Seneca advocated setting aside a few days now and then to have the plainest foods, the simplest clothes and basic living conditions. You’ll soon see how resilient you are. You can adapt. You can handle it.
4. Purpose is a narrative. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It is incredibly difficult to know your “life purpose.” The more pressure you put on yourself to find it, the more paralyzed you will become. You won’t try things for fear of them being the wrong things.
Instead, try and identify some themes you might enjoy. Like entrepreneurship, or health, or learning. Do things that excite you. Don’t worry about purpose. It’s an emergent property. If you really get into something, “purpose will evolve”.
Still not convinced? Take it from Richard Feynman, Nobel prize-winning physicist and all round genius:
“Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.”
5. Judge a man by his character, not his job title. The same is true for you. Do you have integrity? If not, nothing else matters. Are you being someone, in your actions, that you would be proud of? If not, why not? Start here.
This article was originally written on Quora. You can find it here.