How not to live life

No bullshit, no advice

I’ve come across a million bullshit posts across the internet telling me how to live my life. Wake up at 6 AM. Don’t drink. Never snooze. Keep grinding. Buy this course. Decide to live your life. The heck?

I hate being told what to do. Specially by random strangers on the internet with zero credibility.

So, if I were to write something like that, I had two rules:

  1. Don’t write bullshit
  2. Don’t tell anyone what to do

Keeping these two rules in mind led to this anti-life post. It’s a manifesto to remind me something needs to change if I see myself in it.

I’ve been guilty of everything below.


Accepting everything

What you think, you become.
What you feel, you attract.
What you imagine, you create.
 — Buddha

I’m bad at Math. I just am.

I’m bad at making conversation.

This job sucks. I’m doing it anyway because I need the $$$.

I work late because the boss asked me to.

Friends cancel on me all the time. I guess it’s okay, they’re busy.

I can eat whatever you like. Even if I don’t want to.

I couldn’t do this because life isn’t fair.

I didn’t get what I wanted because life isn’t fair.

I suck.

Only dead fish go with the flow

Not asking why

A wise mans’ question contains half the answer.
 — Solomon Gabirol

Why am I in this career?

Why am I working late?

Why did I buy that?

Why am I bad at remembering names?

Why am I bad at Math?

Why do I keep failing?

Nope, I don’t remember the last time I asked any of these questions. When I did, the answer didn’t help.

Not choosing my friends

You’re the average of 5 people you spend the most time with

I don’t think about who I’m friends with. Friendships of pleasure and utility just happen, as Aristotle says.

Sometimes though, I’ve had enough of some people. They bring me down and it’s shit, so I blast them off. We then drift apart. It’s how life goes.

This is the crash-only system I live by.

Not thinking about my core values

Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, 
but you leave them all over everything you do.
 — Elvis Presley

Values? Doesn’t everyone make them up as they go?

On the plus side, I just posed a question!

Being done with learning after school

The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you will go.
 — Dr. Seuss

Isn’t learning for suckers?

I learnt all I had to learn while I was in college.

I’m not going to pick up a book ever again in my life.

Sure, I’m not the smartest but I’m smart enough to work, live, eat and party.

Comparing myself to everyone

Happiness in the present is only shattered by comparison with the past.
 — Douglas Horton

They got a $100,000 job, I got a $150,000 job. They suck, I win.

This other dude, Bay negotiated a $300,000 job. Damn, Uh-oh. Do I suck?

They must have connections, that’s how they got it.

I miss the days I had a girlfriend. Sigh.

Anyway, look at these other people just getting through life without thinking.

Source

If you could relate to any of the above, I’m sure you’re triggered. I know I was. What now?

The answer comes from intentional living. It starts with asking the right questions.

I question my life.

Why don’t I ask questions?

Why haven’t I chosen my friends?

Why do I compare myself to everyone?

Why am I bad at math?

Why do I accept everything?

Why do I go with the flow?

You’ll find answers to all the above. “I don’t know” is acceptable.

I haven’t chosen my friends because I can’t know people beforehand.

I compare myself to people because everyone else does. We live in a society together after all.

I’m bad at Math because I didn’t want to be good at it as a child.

I accept everything because that’s how the world works.

Every answer shirks off responsibility from myself. It’s because of the way I frame the question.

You find an answer to whatever question you ask

I then do a Jedi mind trick.

How can I choose my friends?

How can I focus on my life and not everyone else's?

How can I become good at Math?

How can I change life to be in my favour?

Asking the right questions changes everything. It presumes responsibility.

That’s one way to bring focus to what’s in my control.

It’s the distinction William Irvine makes in A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy — the trichotomy of control. There are things in your control, things not in your control and things somewhat in your control. It pays to figure out and focus on the right things.

Conclusion

We could talk about some of the answers, but they wouldn’t do you or me much good.

Finding the answer before asking the question is akin to having gold ore before knowing how to mine. You’ll just throw away the useless piece of rock.

It’s rare that someone keeps the ore until they figure out how to mine.

So, I’ll stop here. If I see myself in this, something needs to change.


All links are affiliate links

Find more great writing on neilkakkar.com