Updated: Oct 7, 2021
A counterintuitive approach to living a good life.
Our crisis is no longer material; it's existential, it's spiritual. (8)
The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one's negative experience is itself a positive experience. (9)
You can't be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others. (17)
Finding something important and meaningful in your life is perhaps the most productive use of your time and energy. (18)
The only way to overcome pain is to first learn how to bear it. (21)
"If you have to ask yourself if you trust your life, then you probably don't." (27)
"Don't hope for a life without problems," the panda said. "There's no such thing. Instead hope for a life full of good problems." (30)
Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded. Happiness comes from solving problems. (31)
"What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to suffer for?" (36)
Happiness requires struggle. (37)
You can't win if you don't play. (38)
Our struggles determine our successes. (40)
A true and accurate measurement of one's self-worth is how people feel about the negative aspects of themselves. (44)
Shooting at stray soldiers (64) *there is strength in numbers
Onoda said it was simple: he had been given the order to "never surrender" so he stayed. (67)
The question we should be asking is not "How do I stop suffering?" but "Why am I suffering - for what purpose?" (69)
The Self-Awareness Onion (70)
our values determine the nature of our problems, and the nature of our problems determines the quality of our lives. (72)
Why do we feel such a need to be rich in the first place? (73)
Revenge became his muse (77)
If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success. (79)
Pleasure is not the cause of happiness: rather, it is the effect. (82)
"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful." - Freud
This is the realization that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances. (94)
We don't always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond. (94)
"With great responsibility comes great power." (96)
Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them. (96)
Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense. (98)
"Do, ot fo not; there id no 'how'." - Yoda (113)
You are already choosing in every moment of every day, what to give a fuck about, so change is as simple as choosing to give a fuck about something else. It really is that simple. It's just not easy. (113)
This too is normal and this too will be uncomfortable. (114)
I thought love was something that just happened, not something that you worked for. (116)
That's why accepting the inevitable imperfections of our values is necessary for any growth to take place. (119)
Instead of striving for certainty, we should be in constant search of doubt. (119)
Being wrong beings the opportunity for growth. (119)
Heres something thats weird but true: we don't actually know what a positive or negative experience is. (119)
Just as we look back in horror at the lives of people fave hundred years ago, I imagine people five hundred years from how will laugh at us and our certainties today. They will laugh at how we let our money and our jobs define our lives. They will laugh at how we were afraid to show appreciation for those who matter to us most, yet heaped praise on public figured who didn't deserve anything. They will laugh at our rituals and superstitions, our worries and our wars; they will gawk at our cruelty. They will study our art and argue over our history. They will understand truths about us of which none of us are yet aware. And they, too, will be wrong. Just less wrong than we were. (120)
All beliefs are wrong - some are just less wrong than others. (123)
The more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don't know. (135)
Uncertainty is the root of all progress and all growth (135)
The man who believes he knows everything learns nothing. We cannot learn anything without first not knowing something. The more we admit we do not know, the more opportunities we gain to learn. (135)
Manson's Law of Avoidance (136)
"Work expands so as to fill up the time available for its completion."
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.
This is why people are often so afraid of success - for the exact same reason they're afraid of failure: it threatens who they believe themselves to be.
I say don't find yourself. I say never know who you are. Because thats what keeps you striving and discovering. And it forces you to remain humble in your judgments and accepting of the differences in others.
Kill Yourself (139)
there is little that is unique or special about your problems. That's why letting go is so liberating.
Measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.
Define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible.
How to be a little less certain of yourself (141)
What if Im wrong?
"Am I jealous - and if I am, then why?" "Am I angry?" "Is she right, and im just protecting my ego?"
Questions like these need to become a mental habit
What would it mean if I were wrong?
"Is it the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristole
Would being wrong create a better or worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?
If it feels like its you versus the world, chances are its really just you versus yourself.
All of life is like this. It never changes. (158)
Even when you win the lottery and buy a small fleet of Jet Skis, you still don't know what the hell you're doing. Don't ever forget that. And don't ever be afraid of that. (158)
The "Do Something" Principle
I needed to come up with some sort of strategy to get myself to put in the twelve- or fourteen- hour days that were necessary to get a new business off the ground. (159)
Don't just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow (160)
Action isn't just the effect of motivation; its also the cause of it. (160)
Emotional inspiration --> Motivation --> Desirable action (160)
The thing about motivation is that its not only a three-part chain, but an endless loop: Inspiration --> Motivation --> Action --> Inspiration --> Motivation --> Action --> Etc. (161)
Action --> Inspiration --> Motivation
"Two hundred crappy words per day, that's it." (162)
When any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prerequisite - we propel ourselves ahead. we feel free to fail, and that failure moves us forward. (162)
The Importance of Saying No (164)
absolute freedom, by itself, means nothing. (166)
Travel is a fantastic self-development tool. (168)
Russian society found the most valuable currency to be trust. And to build trust you have to be honest. (169)
Knowing a lot of people superficially was more beneficial than knowing a few people closely. (169)
Rejection makes your life better (170)
To value something, we must reject what is not that something. To value X, we must reject non-X.
We are defined by what we choose to reject. And if we reject nothing (perhaps in fear of being rejected by something ourselves), we essentially have no identity at all. (171)
The difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship comes down to two things: 1) how well each person in the relationship accepts responsibility, and 2) the willingness of each person to both reject and be rejected by their partner. (175)
Commitment gives you freedom because you're no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. (188)
Depth is where the gold is buried. And you have to stay committed to something and go deep to dig it up. (189)
....And Then You Die (191)
Death is the light by which the shadow of all of life's meaning is measured. (195)
All the meaning in our life is shaped by this innate desire to never truly die. (198)
Our immortality projects are our values. (199)
"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." (204)
What is your legacy?
The only way to be comfortable with death is to understand and see yourself as something bigger than yourself. (206)
Entitlement isolates us. (207)
You too are going to die, and thats because you too were fortunate enough to have lived. (208)
There is nothing to be afraid of. Ever. (208)