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150+ Life Secrets and Tips

  • Memorize something everyday.

    Not only will this leave your brain sharp and your memory functioning, you will also have a huge library of quotes to bust out at any moment. Poetry, sayings and philosophies are your best options.

  • Constantly try to reduce your attachment to possessions.

    Those who are heavy-set with material desires will have a lot of trouble when their things are taken away from them or lost. Possessions do end up owning you, not the other way around. Become a person of minimal needs and you will be much more content.

  • Develop an endless curiosity about this world.

    Become an explorer and view the world as your jungle. Stop and observe all of the little things as completely unique events. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone and try to experience as many different environments and sensations as possible. This world has so much to offer, so why not take advantage of it?

  • Remember people’s names

    so that they feel appreciated and for your own future benefit when you want something from that person. To do this, say their name back to them when they introduce themselves. Then repeat the name in your head a number of times until you are sure you have it. Continue to use their name in conversation as much as possible to remove any chance of forgetting it. If you’re still having trouble, make up a rhyme about their name: “Dan the Man” or “Natalie flatters me.”

  • Get fit!

    It’s ridiculous to think that we have one body, one sole means of functioning, and people are too lazy to take care of themselves. Fit bodies lead to better health, confidence and more success with romantic endeavors. I’d say those are 3 very good reasons to get in shape.

  • Learn to focus only on the present.

    The past is unchangeable so it is futile to reflect on it unless you are making sure you do not repeat past mistakes. The future is but a result of your actions today. So learn from the past to do better in the present so that you can succeed in the future.

  • Even more specifically, live in THIS moment.

    Even 10 minutes ago is the past. If you live purely in this moment you will always be happy because there is nothing wrong in this split-second.

  • Smile more often.

    Whenever you get a grin on your face, your brain is releasing serotonin, the happy hormone. Smiling is the natural way to force yourself to be happy. Many people even smile for five minutes straight in the morning to get themselves in a great mood for the day. It is a very powerful tool that is utilized less and less as we grow older and need happiness more than ever. Just remember that while happiness leads to smiles, smiles also lead to happiness.

  • Drink water.

    Hydration is tremendously important for overall health. Soda has absolutely ZERO nutritional content; it’s like pouring a punch of sugar and syrup into your cup. Instead, fill it with life-replenishing water. It may taste plain at first if you’re coming off of a heavy soda-drinking streak, but you’ll soon find yourself addicted to it. 10 glasses per day is optimal, how many have you been getting lately?

  • Don’t take life so seriously!

    Learn to laugh at the little things and this whole “existence” thing will be a whole lot easier. Be amused by your mistakes and failures and be thankful that you learned your lesson and won’t mess up like that again. And most importantly do things that you enjoy! Life is not strictly business, it can be mixed with pleasure.

  • Think positive thoughts.

    When you find yourself thinking a negative thought, stop it immediately by any means necessary. Slap yourself in the face, yell something positive at the top of your lungs or jump up and down. Do whatever it takes to get back to a positive mindset as such is essential for continual happiness and success.

  • Read books.

    Knowledge is power. If you’re looking for some mind-blowing books to read, check out ’10 Books that Will Change How You Think Forever’.

  • Get in the sun.

    Superman was completely re-energized when he flew out to space and soaked in some rays and you can do the same right outside your front door (if you live in a constantly dreary place, my apologies). The sun feels amazing: your entire body will be coursing with warmth and life.

  • Help others.

    I’ll just give you a plethora of reasons why this is a MUST

    • Helping people has a ripple effect. If you help someone they will feel more obliged to help someone else, and so on. Pay it forward
    • You grow by giving and helping others. It can change you in ways you never expected
    • Your relationship with that person will become stronger
    • It’s the most fulfilling thing you can do on this planet. It not only feels amazing physically, you also feel like a good person
    • You might be able to call in a favor later when you need some help
    • Karma (if you believe in it)
    • Because there are more people in this world than just you
  • Set aside a specific time to worry each day.

    Ponder all of your problems and anxieties during that time so that they will not distract you during work or moments of pleasure. This way you can be extremely efficient with your time and avoid focusing on negative things as much as possible. If you get all of your worry out of the way and have the mental fortitude to keep from reverting back to them, you will be much happier on the daily.

  • Be honest at all times.

    Lies lead to nothing but trouble. Being known as trustworthy is an excellent trait to maintain and essential to having integrity.

  • Sleep less.

    Fully adjusting to a new sleep cycle can take up to 21 days so don’t give up if you feel tired after switching to 5-hour nights. The “required” 8 hour/night is for normal people. If you’re reading THIS article on THIS site, you are not normal. So figure out how much sleep YOU really need and adjust accordingly. As enjoyable as sleep is, waking existence is much more fulfilling and efficient. IF this really sparks your interest, check out alternate sleep cycles with which you can be fine off of 2 hours of sleep per day.

  • Read “Bringers of Light” and “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch.

    These books will help you decide what you want to do in this life and how to get to that point. They will also profoundly change the way you look at the purpose of existence. Read them!

  • Figure out what your goals and dreams are.

    So many people wander aimlessly through life simply go for whatever small thing they want moment by moment. Instead, decide what your perfect life consists of and begin to put the steps in motion to reach that place. The most satisfying thing in the world (yes, better than sex, much better) is overcoming a challenge and reaching a goal. We are the happiest when we are growing and working towards something better.

  • Start your day off right.

    Wake up and set aside an hour for personal development activities (meditation, self-introspection, observing nature, etc.) Do the things that make you feel blissful, optimistic and empowered so that you can set a positive tone for your day. I guarantee that once you start doing this, your days will be more enjoyable and fulfilling. Today is going to be the best day of your life.

  • Utilize ‘The Burning Method.’

    Whenever a fear or worry or complaint comes to mind, close your eyes and imagine writing down the thought on a piece of paper. Then proceed to light the paper and fire and watch it disintegrate. Even better, actually write it down and burn it. You won’t have any problem ridding your mind of the thought after doing this.

  • Travel.

    Anyone who has ever gone anywhere will tell you that traveling is one of the most exciting and life-changing activities that you can do. Observing a different culture will expand your mind while making you further appreciate the life you already live. This goes back to becoming an explorer: this world is your jungle so go explore! Who knows, maybe you’ll find a place you love so much that you decide to move. Imagine the positive repercussions a new environment could have on your life.

  • The Rubber Band Method

    This is the third and final way to rid yourself of negative thoughts (hopefully by now you have figured out that this is very important!). Place a rubber band around your wrist and snap it against your skin anytime a negative thought finds its way into your head. This operant conditioning technique associates a slight pain with negative thoughts like Pavlov associated food/salivation with the sound of a bell. Sounds a bit cruel at first but it only stings for a second, I promise. Plus the outcome, having only positive thoughts, far outweighs a little slap on the wrist here and there.

  • Learn to be unaffected by the words of others.

    Most people get very upset when they are called negative names by others, but there is a simple trick to overcoming this. Here it is: If I went up to you and called you a fire hydrant, would you be upset? Of course not. Obviously you are not a fire hydrant, you are a human being. The same concept applies to when someone calls you something that you know you are not. They are foolish for saying such things, so why would you react with such anger? The only exception is when someone calls you something that is true! In this case, you should thank them for alerting you to a weakness, one that you can now work on changing.

  • Read “Zen and the Art of Happiness” by Chris Prentiss.

    This book will give you the knowledge and instruction to be happy at all times regardless of the circumstances. Yes, this sounds like an oversimplification of happiness, but I assure you that this book will change you in an amazing way.

  • Develop the ability to forgive.

    Forgiveness is something that most people fail miserably at even thought it’s so simple. Grudges only bring more misery to those who hold them and prevent good relations with the target. YOU makes mistakes all of the time so why not have mercy when other do? Remaining angry feels horrible while forgiving someone brings a refreshing sensation to the mind and healing to the relationship.

  • Be the person that makes others feel special.

    Be known for your kindness and sympathy.

  • Learn to lucid dream

    or to realize when you are dreaming so that you can control your dreams. Sleep feels good, but it’s rather boring and unproductive. With lucid dreaming under your belt, night-time can be even more exciting than when you are awake. You can do anything: fly, travel to other planets, party with a celebrity, get intimate with your dream boy/girl, etc. Many lucid dreams have also reported being able to speak directly with the subconscious during dreams by demanding to be taken to it after becoming lucid. For those that know a thing or two about your subconscious, that is a BIG deal.

  • Visualize daily.

    It has been said and proven time and time again that what you focus on is what you get. If you complain all of the time, you will run into more of the things you complain about. The same goes for good things like health, wealth and happiness. So spend some time in the morning imagining yourself achieving whatever it is that you currently desire. Focus is key in this exercise, so choose a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed. If you’re having trouble focusing and continually find that your mind has wandered to something else, read about meditation in the following life tip. There is a lot more to this concept, so check out the full article on visualization and the law of attraction here.

  • Meditate everyday for at least 20 minutes.

    In this modern world where everyone is so connected to everything else via cell phones, TV and internet, most people rarely enjoy the beauty of silence. The ability to quiet your mind and relax your body is an art and skill that everyone should develop. Simply sit somewhere, preferably in nature, and focus on your breathing or try to think about nothing. This is going to be extremely hard at first! You might find it boring or just plain impossible to think of nothing, but you will get better and you will learn to love it. Post-meditation, you will feel extremely clear-headed and.. well, just plain wonderful. The only way to really understand this sensation is to try it.

  • Learn to control your mind.

    What kind of skilled human are you if you cannot even control your own thoughts? While the human mind is described as being a stream of consciousness, that does not mean you can’t decide where your stream flows. Techniques like meditation and the 3 ways to flush out negative thoughts will aid you immensely in learning to control your mind.

  • Learn to control your emotions.

    The only person that can make you unhappy is you! You are the one that decides to be affected by the words and actions of others. Realize this so that the next time you experience a negative emotion, you can find the strength within yourself to overcome it.

  • Take a class in speed reading.

    Books are full of information that can enhance your knowledge-base, vocabulary and yourself as a person. Speed reading is an easy way to get at this info faster so that you can have more time for other endeavors.

  • Relax!

    This one is for you workaholics out there (myself included). Yes, work is very important and productive but you need to take some time to chill out everyday or you are going to burn out faster than a candle with no oxygen. Additionally, you need to reward yourself for a job well done. What’s the use of doing all of that work if you can’t have a little fun from time to time anyways?

  • Work on making good first impressions.

    Practice a strong, firm handshake and the small talk that generally goes along with meeting someone for the first time. People won’t know what to think of you if you have nothing more to say beyond “My name is _______, nice to meet you.” Also make sure you remember names, as mentioned previously. Who knows, you may be going into business with or marrying this person you’re meeting for the first time if you make a good impression. Be sure and make an excellent one.

  • Learn to use your eyes to their full potential:

    •  Make constant eye contact when in conversation. Looking away (especially down) is a sign of inferiority and uncertainty. Instead, look at your conversation partner dead in the eyes and keep them locked onMaster the piercing stare. You know when someone looks at you and it feels like they can see into your soul? Well that’s not a hereditary characteristic, it just takes practice. Work on sharpening your gaze in the mirror. You’ll know you have it when it’s intimidating to continue looking at yourself
    •  Master the one-eyebrow raise. This one isn’t necessary by any means, but hey, why not? Pick a brow to learn with and go look in a mirror. Raise both of your eyebrows but use your hand to hold down the brow that you want to stay down. This will probably feel very stupid at first but if you keep trying, you will eventually pin down the muscle you need to flex to get that one brow up
  • Be mysterious.

    Don’t let off everything about you and definitely leave out some major details. There is something both alluring and mesmerizing about someone who no one knows fully about. I’m not saying to confide in no one or to alienate yourself. Just think James Bond.

  • Come up with a life mantra.

    You know, like “Carpe Diem” or “Live life to the fullest,” but not as cliché. Make it something that really hits home with you so that you will actually stick to it. Make sure it’ not so specific that it rarely applies but also not so general that it’s not personal.

  • Get good at something.

    Call it a hobby or a passion, whatever it is, just get damn good at it. Your occupation does not count! Make it something that you can practice often enough to excel at. Examples: Magic tricks, surfing, ping-pong, creating short films, and unicycling. It can be anything but I would recommend choosing something that: 1) You are passionate about 2) You can bust out at any moment to display your skills for any discerning crowd. My mind goes immediately to aerobatics and break dancing, but that’s just me.

  • Work out those abs.

    Above any other muscle group in the entire body, the abs are the most important. They constitute your core, the center point of your body. Your ability to balance comes almost completely from the strength of your abdominal muscles and balance is vital to performance in any physical activity. Summary: they’re very important. For more info on how to work out your abs, check out this video.

  • Keep your brain sharp.

    The majority of people are stuck in ruts. They go to the same job everyday, hang out with the same friends and eat at the same places. While that may feel safe, it’s not the most stimulating lifestyle for your brain. Those synapses have been built up enough, so try something that you do NOT know how to do! Buy a model car kit, master the art of sudoku or crosswords, or go pick up another major at your nearest college. The point is you need to be learning new things to keep your brain honest. Formnew synapses by forcing your mind to work in ways it has not worked before. Just like physical workouts, doing too much of the same exercise will eventually give no results. Switch it up!

  • Read something inspirational right before bed and after waking.

    This will set get you in a great mood for sleep and for the day. Read anything from a famous speech to your favorite self-improvement book. Try to read something that get’s you really excited in the morning especially so that you’ll leave your house beaming with energy and wonder.

  • Do what you love.

    There is a huge difference between making a life and making a living; which one are you making right now? So many spend their entire lives trying to make as much money as possible so that they can afford to do what they really want later. It makes no sense to settle in life until you’re 65 so that you can retire and do what you want when you’re already WAY past your prime. We only live life once so why wouldn’t you want to spend it pursuing your bliss? To do anything else would be a tragic waste of the freedom you are allowed if you are reading this right now. Follow your bliss and you will be a thousand times more happy than your retirement date and 40+ years younger. But first you need to figure out what you love to do…

  • Choose your friends wisely.

    You are affected far more than you think by the people you spend your time with. Do your friends share your values? Do they encourage you when you speak of your goals and dreams or do they scoff? Make sure the people around you are conducive to the lifestyle you want to lead or you will find yourself being dragged again and again into behavior that distances you from your desires. Friends with a habit of producing negative thoughts will especially hinder you. This can be a hard task to follow through with if you realize you good friend is one of these saboteurs, but you must be firm! Don’t let anyone get in the way of you being all that you can be.

  • Don’t burn bridges.

    By that I mean maintain your relationships with people even if you think you are never going to see them again. For example, if you are quitting your job, don’t chew out your boss before leaving! You might run into him/her again later and life and wish you had never severed ties so harshly. You never know when you might need the help of someone you knew in the past. Plus there is already too much hatred in this world, why add more towards the people you interact with?

  • Keep a journal/diary.

    It sounds like a very monotonous habit at first, but when you get into it, that little book will become a great way to organize your thoughts and track your growth over the years. Most of us already stay awake in bed at night pondering the events of the day anyways so why not document those thoughts in an organized fashion? That will allow you to look back and observe how your way of thinking has changed over time.

  • Read “New Pyscho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.

    This book will explain why the content of your thoughts has such a profound effect on your life through religious, philosophical and scientific arguments. A must read for completely understand who this life thing works.

  • Learn to use and trust your subconscious/intuition.

    When you spend time in silence everyday, listen not for words but for a feeling that tells you to do something. Do not mistake your own reasoning and thoughts for those of your subconscious. If you can track where the thought came from, (this thought led to that thought which led to this thought, etc.) then it was not from your subconscious. Learning to accurately discern between the two will allow you to tap into knowledge that you don’t consciously have.

  • Develop a charismatic personality.

    You know, the kind of personality that is surrounded by people constantly and is the life of the party. Start visualizing yourself as THAT person. Maybe take a short course on dynamic speaking and learn some jokes. Take the time to learn some party tricks and sleight of hand. Most importantly, believe that you already are charismatic even if you fail at being the center point of the next party. Lie to yourself constantly and tell yourself that you are more warm and gregarious than Ronald Regan. Belief is the first step! Reality will come soon after.

  • Love is all there is.

    If you truly want to be a master of life, let love be in your every action. Love your friends, family and enemies alike. This is the most difficult thing to do out of this entire list, which is why it is listed at #50. But if you accomplish this, you will be seen as a leader among everyone that allows hate, envy, disgust and all other negative emotions into their lives. Think Gandhi. Love is so rare in this world when compared to the massive presence of hate that by exuding love, you will immediately see yourself and the people around you change. Love. Love. Love.

Part 2.


  • Investigate what is known about death

    What do you know about death? You certainly have beliefs around it, but what do you know about the science of death, or of those who have died and been brought back to life? Death is not as big of a mystery as it is made out to be. Do your research before you fear or misconstrue this most universal human experience.

  • Notice the small, beautiful things

    As cliche as this sounds, there is so much beauty in the world yet we rarely appreciate it. Take 5 minutes, stop doing everything and sit down. Then clear your mind of your inner dialogue and focus intently on something in the space immediately in front of you. Nature always works best but literally any object will do. Study all of the minute details of the object and try to appreciate its complexity. This might take some practice but after you get into it, you’ll have that perspective for a while after.

  • Try hypnagogic hallucination

    For those new to the idea, hypnagogic hallucination is the state of experiencing dreaming-like visuals and thoughts while remaining awake. Lie down when you’re neither physically nor mentally tired and edge towards falling asleep while focusing on staying awake. Most of the time knowing of this state’s existence and attempting to experience it is enough to attain it. This is because up until this point, you’ve had no reason to try to stay on the edge of wakefulness!

  • Forget about insults entirely (even in jest)

    We can all agree that nothing good comes of insults. If they are serious, then someone comes out of the exchange feeling cut down. Even if you insult someone jokingly, their subconscious mind still takes your words in as a serious statement and imprints the insult on the person. This is akin to a commercial: it can seem stupid, but you are still building up respect for the product on a subconscious level. This is why companies pay top dollar just to have their logo visible in public places.

  • Cut out the crap

    We have a lot of crap in our lives that is neither necessary nor good for us. The crap includes certain people, emotions and habits. Take the time to evaluate the constituents of your life to decide what needs to go. This tip is so critical that I wrote a 3-part series on cutting out the crap – check it out!

  • Try a love experiment

    Spend a week masquerading as Christ-figure and bring love into every aspect of your life. Start your day by sending out mental “I love you’s” to your friends and family. As you go through your day, silently (or out loud!) wish something nice upon any strangers you see. Monitor your every thought and action to be sure you’re acting out of love. This sounds cheesy but it is a fantastic feeling becomes addicting.

  • Make plans to attend at least one crazy event each year

    As you all know, we humans remember experiences, not possessions. You remember driving somewhere in that car, not buying or owning the car. So put aside a savings jar to pay for at least one crazy, awesome event each year. Here are a few event ideas to get you salivating.

  • Exaggerate your compliments

    If you’re going to say something nice, why not make it a bit nicer? Only you will know the difference and the target of the compliment will feel that much better.

  • You are what you eat

    We’ve all heard of this phrase but most don’t full realize it’s implications. Your body is constituted only of the food that you put into your body! If you’re okay with eating crap, you are accepting that you brain, skin, heart and everything else will be made of crap. You LITERALLY are what you eat.

  • Give up something for a week

    Like Lent, but for non-Catholics. There are two major benefits of this: 1) you learn to live without something now so that if you’re ever forced to live without something, it won’t be so bad and 2) when you get it back, you will truly appreciate it. Examples include hot showers, alcohol and other substances and television. Extremist can give up everything and experience living on the streets.

  • “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”

    Revenge is sweet but forgiveness is sweeter. Until that’s a no brainer for you, try faking forgiveness and knowing that nothing will piss off an enemy more than you not reacting to their provocations. Eg. If you punched someone in the face in anger and then they just smiled back at you happily, wouldn’t that annoy you?

  • Floss!

    Your dentist has been right all along. Flossing is more crucial for your oral hygiene than brushing your teeth. It keeps your gums healthy and food out of the tight places that drinking water won’t clean out (which would otherwise result in bad breath).

  • Don’t doubt anything without absolute evidence against it

    Every day it seems I learn about something that I previously had thought to be impossible (like walking on water). Acknowledge that the world is full of surprises and the ‘impossible’. Therefore practice being open-minded rather than doubtful, especially about things foreign to you.

    **Edit: Apparently the running on water video is fake which is extremely ironic in the context of this tip…I would take it down but that’s just too funny.

  • Take advantage of the flinch

    When something scares you and makes you flinch, you have two choice: flinch forward or flinch backward. Practice using that flinch moment to rocket yourself into the unknown instead of into a state of fear. Talk to that girl at the bar, get on the roller coaster, say YES. Stay on the bold side of the flinch.

  • Use your showers to practice being present

    Your daily (?) shower is the perfect time to get better at being present. Instead of thinking about your time last night or everything you have to do today, focus on the sensation of the water hitting your skin. Zone in on the smell of the soap and the warmth of the steam coming off of your body. If & when you successfully block out your inner dialogue, I guarantee you will have the best power of your life.

  • Limit your time-wasting online activities

    Do you ever find yourself deep in someone’s Facebook photos and wonder how you got there? The internet is an awesome tool but some sites can suck you in and waste tons of time that could be spent doing something productive. For those who can’t help themselves, there are extensions for Chromeand FireFox that allow you to specify a certain amount of time to allow to spend on time-waster websites per day. Every minute you spend on the sites you specify is tracked, and when you reach the limit those sites are no longer able to be accessed.

  • Remember the 10,000 hour rule

    If you want to master anything in life you need at least 10,000 hours of practice. Practice separates the haves and the have-nots when it comes to skills. Have you spent 10,000 hours doing something you don’t care to master? (Ahem, Facebook..) Do something else that will benefit you a lifetime!

  • Make some rules for yourself

    Instead of only reading this list and thinking ‘those are good ideas,’ take a few at a time and make them unbreakable rules until the habits stick.

  • Watch Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

    The 3rd Zeitgeist film will change the way you view the monetary system, the economy and the future of this world. Its claims almost sound like conspiracy, but the evidence it intelligently builds upon rules out any chance of that. Do not be deterred by the 2:45 duration — if something is this important, would you want it to be able to be squeezed into 10 minutes?

  • Only do things that you love or that you have no choice but to do

    When it comes to choosing a career, only do something that you absolutely love or something you have no choice but to do. I mean literally NO choice but to do that job. Unless you’re supporting children or completely steeped in debt, chances are you have a choice. Don’t waste a second doing something you do not love.

  • Practice energy development

    Whether or not you believe chakras exist, you can develop the ability to feel, move around and store energy in your body. These sensations range from mild tingling to violent vibrations. Start off by lying down and putting all of your focus on your left foot. Focus on and feel that foot until it beings to warm up and tingle, then move on up the body in small increments. Eventually you can get your entire body to be vibrating (seriously, it’s almost scary). Developing these abilities helps with focus for meditation, astral projection and supposedly boosts your clairvoyance.

  • Question what you have been told to be true but have not investigated yourself

    Simply stated, we are fed a lot of BS growing up that is not necessarily or at all true. We assume it is true because we’ve always “known” it to be true. Examples include religious and political beliefs, stereotypes and habits. Perhaps the best example of all is that marijuana is dangerous and deadly when in fact alcohol is infinitely worse for your body and your driving ability.

  • Force yourself to become a social badass

    Put yourself through a series of comfort challenges to become comfortable in a social situation. Start with making eye contact with people you pass on the streets, then progress to saying hi and eventually asking them a quick question like ‘How’s your day going?’ Then progress to wearing a shocking piece of clothing out in public asking people for their phone numbers. Finally go to the extreme and take on a different person with waiters and cashiers. The idea is to go to the limits so that more normal interactions like to someone you’re interested in becomes a piece of cake.

  • Read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning’

    This book details Frankl’s time in Nazi concentration camps and how the experience shaped his view on meaning and purpose in life. His account of the camps is extremely detailed and riveting. His conclusions on life are both far-reaching and relevant to life outside of captivity.


  • Find the supplements suitable for your lifestyle

    Our diets and habits are nothing like those which are bodies were built for. Times have changed but we still need the same nutrition. Luckily we now mass-produce nutrients in bottles so you just need to figure out what your body needs. For example if you don’t get a lot of sun, you probably need some extra Vitamin D. If you get cold much easier than other people, you might have low levels of iron in your blood. Investigate and act accordingly.

  • Cut gluten from your diet

    Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye oats, and barley. Like so many other substances today, gluten is not meant to be put into our bodies. The humans alive at the time that our bodies last experienced major evolution did not consume all of the bread products we now have. To see a full explanation of the health-benefits of giving up gluten, check out this article.

  • Do pushups (100 of them!)

    Pushups are the easiest way to get into an exercise routine and the most complete upper body workout available without weights. Doing 3 sets of pushups until fail every other day is a simple way to tone up your chest, arms, back and abs. If you want to step it up a notch, this website promises to get anyone to be able to complete 100 pushups within 6 weeks!

  • Watch ‘Waking Life’

    Waking Life is a movie about a guy drifting around in a dream world having philosophical conversations with the interesting characters he meets along the way. If you like the articles here on HighExistence, I can guarantee with 100% certainty that you will love this film. It’s available for free onGoogleVideo.

  • Go for walks

    Whenever you are feeling unmotivated, depressed, angry or [insert crappy emotion here], take a walk. It’s a sure-fire way to hit the reset button and get back into a positive mindset. There’s something about being in nature, getting some exercise and (most importantly) being present that can get you over any emotional hump.

  • Use StumbleUpon

    StumbleUpon (SU) is an internet tool that brings you to random sites based upon your interests. You can also specify a particular interest category while also limiting the results to videos, photos, news, blogs, etc. SU is the best way to discover awesome content around the web, much of which you didn’t even know you were looking for! As you go through and ‘Thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ different web content, SU learns more about your interests and returns more accurate results. I also call it the ‘Serendipity Engine’ because of the countless times I’ve been thinking about a problem or looking for something and then the answer has come randomly to me through SU.

  • Read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

    This freakishly fascinating book is best explained best by Wikipedia: “It examines mythology, its effect on ethics, and how that relates to sustainability. The novel uses a style of Socratic dialogue to deconstruct the notion that humans are the end product, the pinnacle of biological evolution. It posits that human supremacy is a cultural myth, and asserts that modern civilization is enacting that myth.”

  • Spend time alone each day

    Being alone is a form of meditation that helps us realign with who we really are.

  • Practice Stoicism

    Stoicism is centered around being unaffected by misfortune. A good stoic will recognize that mishaps will inevitable occur so he/she is constantly ready and open to experiencing them. Unlike pessimists, Stoics expect bad things to happen only because they recognize this is the nature of reality, and strive to become immune to being demoralized by said misfortunes.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others

    Everyone is born with different strengths and weakness. Otherwise we wouldn’t be individuals and how much fun would that be? Consequently don’t hold yourself to the standards of others; you’ll never measure up to everyone.

  • Compare yourself to others

    Use the success of others as motivation to continue growing and learning. Competition is strong medicine and can be used to your advantage if you don’t get too caught up in it. Strive to achieve a balance between #34 and #35.

  • Recognize the duality of every truth

    As you likely noticed, #34 and #35 contradict each other, and yet both are solid truths. This is an example of how most great truths have some level of duality to them. Life is not absolute; let that apply to your beliefs as well — don’t be stubborn about them!.

  • Take cold showers

    Besides waking you up better than anything, cold showers have been proven to improve blood circulation, keep your skin and hair healthy (hot water dries them out) and boost the immune system. For the men, it also increases testosterone levels and is just plain manly.

  • Try to be rejected every day

    Instead of fearing rejection, make it a daily goal! When you go in with the intention of being told ‘no’, the butterflies go away and it becomes easy. This is a fantastic way to pursue more opportunities while becoming unfazed by the big N-O. Good applications include asking for phone numbers, job positions, partnerships and advice. Think of all the great things you’ve missed out on by not asking!

  • Rejoice in not knowing, be proud of your ignorance of a topic

    Knowing everything is overrated. Embrace the areas where you know you are ignorant. When you recognize that someone knows something you don’t, use it as a learning opportunity rather than feeling dumb or pretending you know more than you do.

  • Recognize the golden glow of retrospect

    When you look back at a difficult event in your life, it no longer holds the same ‘oh no, my life is over’ that you experienced at the time. Even very painful events like deaths, breakups and accidents can be looked at in a positive light in the golden veil of retrospect. If you can assume this perspective in the future looking back, certainly you can apply some aspects of that mindset while going through an event. Learn from your future self looking back at present you!

  • Resist nothing

    If you can master this one, you have mastered life. Resistance has many forms but there is a simple test to know if you are in resistance or not. Does this thought make you feel good or bad? You guessed it, if it makes you feel bad then it is a form of resistance. For example, you are driving on the freeway and you miss your exit. Instead of getting angry and wishing you had not missed it, accept your circumstance and laugh about it instead. Maybe you would have gotten in a horrible car crash had you gotten off in time. How lucky that you just narrowly escaped a fiery death! Plus, do you enjoy being frustrated with crappy circumstances?

  • Take naps

    20-25 minutes is all you need to wake up refreshed without feeling groggy. Taking a quick nap in the evening is a great way to get a burst of motivation and energy for the rest of the night. This is also a great time to try out hypnagogic hallucination – #4.

  • Transition to Internet TV

    If you’re still spending your leisure time in front of a TV, consider the new web-based streaming options to traditional cable/satellite. Services like Apple TV and Roku allow you to stream Netflix, Hulu and tons of other internet entertainment channels to your TV for a fraction of the price. Additionally because you actually have to go through and choose something to watch instead of mindlessly flipping through channels, you’ll have to think twice before zombie-ing out to some reality show re-runs.

  • Master what you do most often

    For me that would be typing and navigating around my computer. So I downloaded a typing tutor program and got my words-per-minute up to 60 (woot!) and have memorized every keyboard shortcut there is. Take the time to become the best you can be at the small things you do most often. You will save yourself loads of time, plus it’s fun to be really good at something

  • Practice Altru-Hedonism

    ‘Altru-Hedonism’ is a word I made up which represents the idea that helping other people provides the most satisfying and long-lasting pleasure. So in a way, altruism is a hedonistic activity.

  • Figure out the minimum income you need to be free

    By free I mean able to do what you love without having to slave away at a job all day. I know we all would like the ultimate house with a BMW (M3 for me please!) but wouldn’t you rather be from having to do a job you don’t LOVE? If you agree with that, a great way to make it more feasible is to calculate exactly how much money you would need per month/year to be free. Minimalism is the goal here (If you’re having trouble not counting in that BMW, watch Fight Club and then have another go).

  • “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.”

    This one goes right along with #46. What are you currently giving up to have ________ ? Your time? Your dreams? Time with your family and friends? Your health? Decide if your current sacrifices are worth what they allow you.

  • Be a source of good on your social network

    Instead of further inflating these networks full of transient emotions and comments about Lady Gaga, tweet and share content that will bring help other people and spread happiness. Share motivational quotes, inspirational videos and anything else that will improve the lives of those come into contact with your feed.

  • Give your mom a call

    If you’re looking for a way to give someone immense happiness with the least amount of effort, calling your mother is at the top of the list. She loves you 100 times more than you thought you loved that boy/girl in 7th grade & getting a call from you would make her day 100 times over. Even if you have no interest in talking to her, pretend that you do for 5 minutes. Say ‘I love you’ before she does for an even more ecstatic mama 🙂

This list is a compilation of the most useful, life-changing, and/or vitalizing concepts and insights I’ve had or come across over the years. Take from it whatever you find illuminating or meaningful, and disregard the rest. 


      • “We don’t know enough to worry.”

        Wei Boyang, a great Chinese Taoist, once said, “Worry is preposterous; we don’t know enough to worry.” This quotation was a favorite saying of the late Terence McKenna and has also proven revelatory for me. To worry implies that something “bad” might happen. But, as fragile, relatively naive human beings, who are we to say what would truly be “bad” vs “good”? Things that seem “bad,” including death, might end up being “good,” and vice versa. We cannot be certain. Thus, to worry is to exasperate the mind with value judgments that are based on a very limited human perspective. Therefore, worrying is largely a waste of time. One of my favorite Zen stories illustrates this point nicely.

      • Advertisements are designed to make you feel bad about yourself.

        David Foster Wallace said it most succinctly: “It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.” Advertisements exist for the sole purpose of increasing profits. They function by making ad-viewers feel deficient about some aspect of their lives while simultaneously promising a solution. For just $19.95! That’s not to say that advertisements are always malevolent, but if you don’t maintain a hyper-critical awareness of advertiser intentions, you might find yourself among the millions who have unknowingly allowed tricky marketers to make them feel fat, lame, ugly, and/or unhip. You can read more about this topic in this essay or in this comic depicting the artist Banksy’s perspective on advertisements.

      • Relocating reveals you to yourself.

        When wrenched from the familiar, stripped of all connections, and plopped into a new environment, all pressures to be who one once was are suddenly absent. The slate is clean, and one has space to really consider how to spend one’s time. In this situation, the excess seems naturally to fall away, like a gaudy snakeskin, revealing what is most important and joyful for the individual, for you. This is one of the greatest reasons to travel at some point in your life.

      • Practice conscious breathing.

        Follow your breath until you desire nothing beyond this moment, and suddenly everything will belong to you. That might sound idealistic, but it’s a real thing. Practicing focusing only on your breath — learning to let your breath be your anchor — can lead you to moments of exultation at the sheer awesomeness of existence. It can also help you to manage anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, and more. If you’re interested, here’s a comprehensive guide to conscious breathing.

      • Learn about spiritual bypassing.

        “Spiritual bypassing” is a term in psychology for the shadow side of spirituality. Learning about this concept changed the way I saw myself and helped me to become aware of behaviors that were hurting myself and my relationships. I highly recommend reading this article, which explains much better than I can here. Here’s a great excerpt:

        “Spiritual bypassing is a very persistent shadow of spirituality, manifesting in many forms, often without being acknowledged as such. Aspects of spiritual bypassing include exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression, overemphasis on the positive, anger-phobia, blind or overly tolerant compassion, weak or too porous boundaries, lopsided development (cognitive intelligence often being far ahead of emotional and moral intelligence), debilitating judgment about one’s negativity or shadow side, devaluation of the personal relative to the spiritual, and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being.”

      • “Culture is not your friend.”

        This was another favorite saying of the late Terence McKenna, one he devised himself. McKenna’s point was that cultures can be thought of as human operating systems that inevitably contain many bugs, defects, and blind spots. Though culture helps us in many ways, it also conditions us to live and think according to the accepted norms of our time and society, vastly limiting our possibilities. For a person with a truly open mind and “free soul,” culture becomes a kind of cage that must be transcended, as it is ultimately a set of restrictions that prevent one from thinking, living, and creating in the freest way possible.

      • Follow your bliss(ters).

        Most of us are familiar with Joseph Campbell’s famous call to arms: “Follow your bliss!,” which roughly means, “do what you love.” Fewer people are aware that once, when criticized by students who said that “follow your bliss” encouraged pure hedonism, Campbell reportedly grumbled, “I should have said ‘follow your blisters,’” indicating that following one’s bliss will likely involve significant hardship and demand great effort. I also tend to think that we should follow our bliss, but follow it intelligently — i.e. that we should possess great self-understanding in order to most fully flow with our nature, our whole self, as opposed to acting on pure impulse under the guise of “following bliss.”

      • Play, laugh, enjoy, be silly.

        “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells,” Dr. Seuss once said. I tend to agree. Somewhere on the trudge from childhood to adulthood, most of us lose the ability to let go and be zany and silly and make animal noises and jump and dance spontaneously. Do whatever you can to keep this ability intact. Play and silliness are, for me, deeply nourishing and even a kind of therapy counteracting the vitality-sapping, soul-silencing effects of today’s Super Serious Societies.

      • Become an Übermensch.

        In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche described what would become one of his most memorable theories — that of the Übermensch. In essence, an Übermensch is a person who has overcome all external influences — tradition, norms, other people — to reach a liberated, child-like state of free play and creativity in which one wills one’s own values. If you’re curious for more on this, read Nietzsche’s guide to becoming Übermensch.

      • You are not a noun. You are a verb.

        The late Buckminster Fuller wrote, “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.” Fuller’s idea was that we are not static objects, but rather, ever-unfolding processes. Whether we wish it or not, existence is always interfacing with and altering us, as we are it. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual changes are endless — change is the only constant. Among other things, this realization has compelled me to feel that we must embrace change and transformation — our particular process of becoming — recognizing that destinations are illusions. If this is intriguing, you might appreciate this in-depth essay on the topic.

      • Death is not to be dreaded.

        Nietzsche wrote that, “The certain prospect of death could sweeten every life with a precious and fragrant drop of levity; and now you strange apothecary souls have turned it into an ill-tasting drop of poison that makes the whole of life repulsive.” In other words, death should be a reason to enjoy life, to take nothing too seriously, but instead we treat it as a horrible phantom. Death is as much a part of the process of life as breathing or eating. We will all die someday, and that is okay. To reflect further on this, I highly recommend the poem, ‘Death is Nothing At All,’ by Henry Scott Holland.

      • nasa1
      • Amor fati.

        This was another major idea of Nietzsche’s. Translating roughly to “the love of one’s fate,” amor fati is the idea that we should embrace and appreciate every single event and experience of our lives, recognizing that each is an integral thread in the tapestry of our becoming, our identity. One who loves his fate sees that every detail of life is necessary for life to be just as it is at any given moment. To abide amor fati is to possess a kind of trust that “life is in the right, always,” as Rilke put it. It is to affirm life in the fullest, to revel in one’s path, whatever that path may be.

      • Listen to your deep-down intuition.

        Many throughout history have argued that there is a kind of “voice” deep within us that already knows what we need to do. This might sound a bit ‘woo woo,’ but in my experience, it’s true. Call it your “heart” or “soul” or whatever — there is a part of you that somehow just knows what you need, who you are, and when you are in-sync with your core self. For me, there is a feeling ofrightness and purpose that lets me know when I’m really “doing my thing,” accompanied by a distinct dread/displeasure when I am doing something that I am not intrinsically motivated to do. When the latter occurs, I sense the dissonance and know that I need to do things differently.

      • The world of techno-connection can be dangerous.

        Maybe this one is obvious, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Excessive investment in techno-connection — social media, digital entertainment, etc. — can have various detrimental effects. You may find that your ability to mindfully participate in the world around you slowly erodes. You may realize that techno-connection has become a replacement for real, in-person relationships and communities. It’s worth thinking critically about your habits and aiming to be mindful in technology usage.

      • Avoid “Us vs. Them” mentalities like the plague.

        “Us vs Them” mentalities might be the single greatest source of hatefulness, violence, and war in human history (i.e. things that suck for everyone). We evolved to form groups, but when we over-identify with our ingroups to the point of developing group narcissism, we tend also to begin directing animosity and hostility toward outgroups. We begin to see the world as a collection of groups that are necessarily in conflict with one another. We create a world of good guys and enemies, and in this separation we sow the seeds of aggression and violence. For this reason, I try to identify first and foremost with the greater community of sentient beings in the universe and to envision and enact a world in which many groups can coexist, cooperate, and co-create a beautiful, peaceful human enterprise.

      • Read Sacred Economics.

        sacred economics - life secrets and tipsIn Sacred EconomicsCharles Eisenstein provides the most moving and poignant account I’ve seen of the various deficiencies and conditions of modern life that lead to widespread alienation and despair in the general populace. He suggests that our condition cannot be remedied unless we re-imagine the most basic cultural mythologies that underlie our present global systems. Eisenstein imagines what a new mythology of the “connected self” might look like and goes on to detail how we might reform our economic system to reflect this mythology — i.e. how we might create an economic system that encourages equitability, generosity, and sustainability. The book is a veritable shotgun blast of insight into our modern condition that I feel would benefit any open mind. It’s also, FYI, one of Jordan Lejuwaan’s — the creator of HighExistence — favorite books.

      • You don’t have to work as much as you think.

        At least in the United States, there is an unquestioned cultural assumption that we have a duty to spend a good chunk of our lives busting our glutei maximi doing difficult tasks that we don’t find stimulating or enjoyable. This is untrue. For one, if you live a minimalist lifestyle, you can get by working far less than those who work in order to afford mountains of material possessions. Furthermore, work can be play, if you’re working on something you deeply care about. If you want it badly enough and adopt an uncompromising attitude, you can work far less than your peers and transform the work you do into meaningful play. 

      • Engaging with the world is an antidote to depression/solipsism.

        I just told you that work is mostly unnecessary, but now I’m going to tell you that engaging with the world in one way or another is a really good idea. Because there’s something odd that can happen when one stops working or doing much of anything for a while. One can begin to feel like a bystander to the rest of humanity, as if one could just chill off to the side and watch the world careen onward, an asteroid hurtling through blackness. One can begin to feel alienated, superfluous, depressed. The antidote for this, as I wrote in an essay on jobless nomadism, is to maintain engagement with projects, people, and communities.

      • Do things for their own sake.

        Try, to the greatest extent possible, to do things for no reason other than the enjoyment of the activity itself. For the intrinsically rewarding nature of whatever it is you love doing (unless you enjoy serial killing). If you do things solely for external reasons — to accumulate wealth, to impress others, etc. — you are much less likely to actually enjoy what you are doing. And, what’s the point of living if you aren’t enjoying yourself? For me, activities seem to be intrinsically rewarding when they are in-tune with my core self and values, so finding such activities can be a useful exercise in coming to understand your peculiar identity.

      • Be vulnerable.

        daring greatly - life secrets and tipsOpen yourself up to the world. Let other people in. Don’t be afraid to share who you are and how you feel. Brené Brown is an American scholar and author who has done some fascinating research in the area of vulnerability. Her findings suggest that the ability to be vulnerable is correlated with human thriving and well-being in a number of areas, including work, relationships, and parenting. I highly recommend her TEDTalk on the subject, as well as her marvelous book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. You can also read the key lessons of this book in 15 minutes on Blinkist.

      • Conduct thought experiments to see the world anew.

        Imagine that you are an extraterrestrial visiting Earth for the first time, and try to view everything around you through that lens. Imagine the objects around you as 1000x bigger then 1000x smaller than they are currently. Pretend you are an infant, aiming to let go of all ideas and language and concepts and even your notion of self. Exercises such as these prompt us to learn about the world in a novel and interesting way, to play with reality, and to realize deeply that “subjectivity is truth,” as Kierkegaard wrote

      • Let compassion guide you.

        “Compassion is the basis of morality,” Arthur Schopenhauer famously wrote. We humans have erected elaborate systems for establishing and enforcing ethics, obscuring the fact that doing the “right” thing is usually as simple as recognizing that other sentient beings suffer just like you do and doing whatever you can not to contribute to unnecessary suffering. This basic compassion is immensely powerful and is one of my most valuable compasses in making micro, everyday decisions and larger decisions about how to respond to and interact with the world around you. Compassion is also essential in self-evaluation: the ability to recognize that you are a fallible human and to forgive yourself for past transgressions is indispensable to flourishing.

      • void binary thinking.

        An immense source of conflict in the world today are people who insist on seeing things as this or that, black or white, right or wrong, good or evil. Countless people endlessly reduce complex issues in search of a neat-and-tidy answer that will allow them to be comfortably certain. The problem is that very few matters are so simple, so people end up failing to really dig in and understand issues, opting instead to take an absolute stance. The quintessential example of this is the way in which people divide over political issues along party lines, acting as if there is a definite “right” answer when often there is not. Transcend binary thinking by viewing any issue from multiple perspectives and surrendering the need for absolutes.

      • Be part of something larger than yourself.

        Part of what has nourished the soul of mankind for aeons is the feeling that we are part of some bigger picture — that our individual lives are more than a series of isolated actions between birth and death. Most cultural signals urge us to emphasize our individual minds, wants, and needs over all else, and because of this, many people feel alienated and purposeless. It’s okay to appreciate your individuality, but you will find strength and meaning in identifying with some larger community, vision, movement, or force.

      • Embrace uncertainty.

        From a young age, most of us are surrounded by those who project an image of certainty. Our parents know what’s best for us. Religions know the truth of God. Governments know how to take care of our country. Newscasters know what is going on in the world. Scientists know the nature of the universe. The giant secret that no one ever mentions is that none of these entities actually know anything for certain. Even the smartest human beings are akin to blind children groping around in a dark room for some semblance of understanding. Thus, the best thing you can do is learn to “live the questions,” as Rilke wrote — to dance with uncertainty and learn to love the mystery. Experience the mystery to the fullest, but feel no need to solve it.

      • See the mystery of existence everywhere.

        Related to the previous tip: recognize that everything you see, hear, touch, taste, and experience is an inextricable part of the mysterious unfurling of being itself. Every seemingly individual entity in your world is enmeshed within an immense and seemingly eternal process of reality that we humans can never fully fathom. You are unable to explain the existence of literally every object around you — toaster, dog, rock, etc. — because a full explanation would require that you explain the entire process of the universe and all of the ways that a given object is connected to every other object in the universe. A quip of Carl Sagan’s seems relevant here: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” Absorb deeply this fact, and you will find daily awe at the vibrant, unknowable reality that’s all around you.nasa2

      • Explore, adventure.

        Some have argued that one of the crucial elements of a full and vital human life that is lacking in the modern world is true space for adventure and risk-taking. Our lives have become so bubble-wrapped and cookie-cutter and confined to conventional and comfortable modes of living that many people rarely venture into anything new. Yet, to encounter beautiful novelty, to feel surges of adrenaline, to do what you did not know you could do, is to fulfill what seems to be a deep longing within human beings — a longing to explore, to push beyond the known into the realm of the unknown.

      • Let exercise become a natural part of your life.

        “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

        ― Socrates

        Exercise, like most things, probably isn’t going to work for you if you try to force it. I think many people make this mistake: they create a false dichotomy in which Life With Exercise looks strikingly different from Life Without Exercise, the former involving gym memberships, discipline, strenuousness, and other hard-sounding things. But, really, we all exercise in some capacity every day. Movement is exercise. If you simply increase the amount of movement you do each day, you’re exercising more. So, to create a lifestyle of exercise, simply begin to gradually walk, dance, stretch, play games, do yoga, and jump more in your day-to-day life. This alone will make you much healthier.

      • To experience is enough.

        Many people possess all kinds of criteria by which they measure their lives to try to determine whether their existence is worthwhile. Am I excited about things? Am I happy? Do I love my career? There’s nothing wrong with asking yourself these questions, but consider this: what if you discarded all criteria and chose to affirm life, no matter what? That is, what if you chose to see experience itself — the chance to see, taste, think, dream, love, suffer, all of it — as enough? Simply by waking up in the morning, you have another opportunity to experience an immense spectrum of wondrous things. Try to savor this jaunt through time and space, and even when circumstances are shitty, remember that you still have the rarest of gifts: life itself.

      • 98% of people don’t want any trouble.

        I think many of us fall prey to the fallacy of thinking that people of certain countries, cultures, or regions are inherently more hostile than others. Or that everyone from a particular country/culture/region is likely to support the violence perpetrated by other groups/individuals from that country/culture/region. In my country and in every country to which I’ve traveled, I have found the overwhelming majority of local people to be courteous and hospitable, or to harmlessly keep to themselves. Try to keep this in mind before stereotyping or making broad assumptions about any sizable segment of humanity.

      • Contentment, not happiness.

        “The notion that a human being should be constantly happy is a uniquely modern, uniquely American, uniquely destructive idea.”

        ― Andrew Weil

        Modern advertisements in particular have given millions of people a false ideal of happiness. People erroneously believe that happiness consists in being perma-perky, always cheerful, endlessly smiling, ever-excited. This state of being is a fiction. In an attempt to rid myself of this false notion of happiness, I have for a long time focused on the idea that a perpetual quiet contentment is a more attainable ideal to which to aspire. This contentment does not entail an end to negative mental states; rather, it entails a deep acceptance of the endless ebb and flow of mental states — a recognition that “this too shall pass.” This contentment is thus more of a perspective on one’s state than a state in itself — a perspective that allows one to face life with equanimity.

      • Stop trying to control everything.

        This one is related to the previous point, but it’s worth elaborating on. Many people want reality to conform to their expectations. They want, through brute effort, to control their fate. This is an impossibility, as existence will forever find ways to defy expectation. Therefore, we are better off surrendering to the whims of existence. Resisting that which we cannot change is perhaps the greatest source of unnecessary suffering in humanity. Practicing deep acceptance of everything brings an inarticulable calm to one’s soul and allows one to direct one’s energy toward the things one can do and change. Accepting the world just as it is and wanting to change/contribute to the world are not mutually exclusive positions.

      • Use saunas.

        This may be a personal preference, but I find a hot sauna to be special kind of hideaway, a Secret Chamber of Peace, cut off from the bustle and busyness of the world. I love the feeling of sweating profusely, as it feels like I’m releasing all of my impurities, stresses, and anxieties. I often vegetate in a sauna for 20-30 minutes after working out, using that time to meditate and read. I truly cherish this time, and I suspect many of you will too.

      • Read Brave New World.

        brave new world - life secrets and tipsIn Brave New WorldAldous Huxley painted a prophetic vision of a dystopia in which plentiful amusements and distractions have effectively sedated the general populace, rendering humans utterly passive and docile. The occupants of Huxley’s are vacantly and mindlessly “happy” hedonists, unaware of the fact that they are effectively slaves to a totalitarian state that has deceived them. In this novel, Huxley brilliantly anticipated many of the developments that would shape our own present-day societies. It is a haunting and epiphany-inducing reading experience that I recommend to everyone.

      • Consciously give thanks often.

        “Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to joy and equanimity.”

        ― Anne Lamott

        Gratitude may well be the difference between people who see life as wonderfully full and people who see life as permanently deficient. It might sound trite, but there really are always people, circumstances, and things to be grateful for. Consciously noticing one’s blessings and expressing thanks (if only internally) is a decidedly powerful, transformative activity. When I take the time to do this, even in the midst of a depressive period, I always feel strengthened and fortunate. In sum, conscious gratitude is a soul-vitalizing superpower. Use it often.

      • “Become what you are.”

        This was another favorite saying of Friedrich Nietzsche’s. I see it as the 19th-century equivalent to “do your thing.” The idea is pretty simple: accept all of the shades and colors of your being; embrace the people, places, and experiences that have constructed you; and become the complete and natural expression of all of the interconnected forces that constitute your you-ness. In practice, this is a formidable task, requiring deep self-understanding and a willingness to perpetually refine and grow oneself. The reward, though, is great — to be what only you can be, to the fullest extent.

      • Failure is only feedback.

        Many of us are deathly afraid of failure — of attempting something and having it go poorly, of appearing foolish in front of our peers. Yet, really, “failure” is merely an integral aspect of any undertaking. Certain things will always go poorly, in anything you do, no matter who you are. To call these things “failures” and to blame an individual for them is to ignore the inevitability of hiccups. In fact, “failure” is essential feedback, allowing us to see what isn’t working and to refactor our thinking and our behavior in such a way so as to allow things to flow more smoothly. Go after “failure”, and view the fear of failure as an indicator of an area in which you have room to grow.

      • Aimlessness is a tactic for seeing the world anew.

        In his autobiography, In My Own WayAlan Watts wrote:

        “When one goes to a city like this it is all very well to make plans to see the famous sights, but there should be plenty of time to follow one’s nose, for it is through aimless wandering that the best things are found.”

        When one walks around aimlessly, with no destination in mind, one seems naturally to go slower and to soak in more fully the sensory experience. I would go as far as to say that there is an art of seeing — a mode of consciousness one enters to really perceive the small details that give any place on Earth its distinct suchness, its inimitable quality. When one is free of a destination, a journey becomes an endless stream of small, surprising destinations, as every dozen steps you take can reveal something unexpected. So, wander, even if that simply means taking aimless walks in your town or city.

      • Dance.

        Let go. Let your body flail and fling and wring and spin and wave itself in fits of helpless submission to preferably LOUD music. Let the beat and the rhythm be your temporary spirit guides, moving and wrenching your body as an ecstatic puppeteer might. Abandon rationality and self-consciousness intermittently in favor of allowing existence to progress of its own accord along a beautiful, intuitive, spontaneous trajectory. You might find that if you do this often enough, you begin allowing other areas of your life to progress in this same way.

      • Always make time for family and friends.

        We live in an age of infinite distractions. There are limitless excuses one might make for not keeping in touch with or spending time with the people that mean the most. This is precisely why you should make a point to keep in touch, to spend time, to share experiences. Without those we love — without dear people with whom to share this experience of life — can we truly be said to have anything?

      • Create and appreciate beauty every day.

        Beauty can be created anywhere. A kind interaction is beautiful. Doodling casually is beautiful. A person taking the time to watch the clouds is beautiful. In the midst of a world with plenty of darkness, we would do well to take the time to notice the beauty around us and to contribute to it. Create beautiful things — rocking chairs, rap songs, websites, jokes, paintings, doesn’t matter. And aim to appreciate beauty in many art-forms. Read novels and poetry. Listen to many genres of music. Contemplate paintings from many schools. Notice graffiti and other street art. Art can become a kind of armor against existential despair and the changing tides of fortune. So next time you are captured by beauty, linger a bit longer before scurrying to your next to-do.

      • Learn to let go of intrusive and obsessive thoughts.

        Are you the type of person that tends to go down rabbit holes of thought? Or who tends to have unusual thoughts and become obsessed with what a particularly graphic or strange thought “says” about “who you are”? Me too. I think a great many people — perhaps most everyone — deals with this. At some point you have to realize the exhausting circularity of endless analysis and introspection. You must deemphasize your thoughts, learning to see them more as sensations that are “passing through” — like birdsong or the sound of a rushing stream — rather than a direct expression of “who you are.” Thought-events simply occur in the mind and are often far less significant than we’re comfortable admitting. Gaining the ability to detach from one’s thoughts and to let go of unproductive thought-spirals is invaluable for psychological vitality. For me, the best way to detach is by blatantly distracting myself, creating something, engaging conversation, or focusing deliberately on my breathing.

      • Everything is always okay. Breathe, relax.

        Trust that on the deepest level, things are okay. The universe has existed for billions of years. You and I have existed for mere moments by comparison. Maybe nature knows better than our young, limited minds. “No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place,” as the Zen proverb goes. If you’re not ready to accept this, hang on to the seed; it might blossom later. This is not a matter of intellectual certitude; it is a matter of something more ineffable, something that one either does or does not allow into one’s heart.

      • Remain open to all perspectives.

        You will find that everyone has useful and/or nourishing morsels of understanding to offer you, if you are simply willing to listen. Never assume that someone has nothing to teach you, or that you are done learning. The path of learning is unending. Also remember that open-mindedness and skepticism go hand in hand. Be receptive to new ways of thinking, but know when to call bullshit, and be meticulously selective about what you incorporate into your worldview.

      • You are not a “bad” person.

        You’ve made mistakes. So have I. So has everyone. And that’s okay. More than okay. Bursting with okay-ness. Because we were all always going to slip up. The deck was stacked against us. Being human entails foolish decisions and moments in which we act from the worst parts of ourselves. This is how we learn. Forgive yourself. Please. The only thing we can do is learn from our errors in order to be wiser in the future, to act from the better parts of ourselves in the moments we can still influence.

      • Life will always have downsides.

        “There are ships sailing to many ports, but not a single one goes where life is not painful.”

        ― Fernando Pessoa

        You cannot live without suffering. Sail to the ends of the Earth, and it will catch up with you. Regardless of where you go or what you do, you cannot escape yourself and your particular mental baggage. And that’s okay. The contrast between “good” and “bad” experiences in life lend poignancy to each respective pole. And it is often the struggles of life wherein the most profound transformations take place, wherein resiliency, character, and compassion are enhanced.

      • Find your own truth.

        “I must find a truth that is true for me,” Kierkegaard wrote. He is also remembered (as I mentioned earlier) for declaring that “subjectivity is truth” and “truth is subjectivity.” Kierkegaard’s insight was that even supposedly “objective” matters must always be interpreted by a subjective human mind, before being integrated into that particular subject’s uniquely complex worldview, web of understanding, schema of prioritization and organization. The point is that every person’s web, every person’s worldview — even if two people were exposed to all of the same information for their entire lives — will differ from everyone else’s. We each approximate our own truth from the data we encounter. So, remember that what you are looking for is your truth, not the truth. Who needs the latter anyway? After all, your truth, your own understanding, is the only truth that can ever be of use to you.

      • Make the Internet a cool place.

        The Internet can be an impersonal, hostile space, or it can be a space in which to practice reflective, compassionate discourse. The Internet can be a cloistered re-hashing of banal subjects, or it can be a wildly free celebration of open-mindedness and imagination. You choose.

      • Fall in love.

        The greatest joys (and greatest sorrows) I’ve known as a human being have resulted from falling in love. Despite the anguish of heartbreak, I would never take back any of it back. To love a partner unconditionally and to have that love reciprocated, to form a profound bond and a complete trust — this has been the most sacred gift of my human experience.nasa3

      • We are all “cut from the same cloth.”

        We are all ephemeral snowflakes flittering about in the same fathomless blizzard — fragile sentient beings groping about in a strange universe, searching for love and meaning and all that other good stuff. We face the same predicament/opportunity. On one hand, it’s really difficult and scary and overwhelming for all of us. On the other hand, we all have the chance to sing and eat deliciousness and gaze at the stars and cool stuff like that. We’re in this together, for better or worse, is what I’m saying. And it’s already hard, so let’s not make it harder for each other. Let’s be kind. Let’s try to create a world in which everyone’s basic needs are met. It is my deep suspicion that what is not good for everyone, and the planet, is eventually good for no one. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: one community of sentient beings. One love.

      • BONUS: Allow yourself to be human.

        You think I perfectly abide all of these tips all the time? Hell. No. I’m not an enlightened being gliding about the Earth in serene grace and equanimity. I’m a confused human who is susceptible to vices, anxieties, depression, self-destructive behaviors, etc. — the whole gamut. Many of the tips in this article reflect high ideals of mine — ideals that are nearly impossible to remember and live up to all the time. It’s great to have many values, ideals, and perspectives that you want to live by, so long as you understand that you’re human! You’re going to make mistakes and have breakdowns and change your mind about things and have moments when you just want to say fuck “amor fati” and Zen and my true self and the rest of it. AND THAT’S FREAKING OKAY. Seriously, it is. What isn’t okay is trying to remember 50 abstract ideas every moment of the day and torturing yourself with your superhuman standards. Don’t do that. Chill, and let yourself be a work in-progress (Hint: the rest of us are too).

Source: highexistence



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