9 life lessons

4 minute read

I found this inspirational speech by Tim Minchin some time ago, and have replayed it since many times. Minchin talks about his 9 life lessons at the University of Western Australia. These lessons are valuable to everybody in their generality. I would like to share them with you

      1. You don’t have to have a dream
        Don’t look too far ahead. The advice is to be micro-ambitious instead. By allowing yourself to be unfocused now and then, Dr. Srini Pillay argues, you will allow your creative brain to steer you in the right direction. Pillay is an assistant-professor in psychiatry and writer that “blends science, spirituality, and horns-grabbing joie de vivre” to combat stress.

     

      1. Don’t seek happiness
        Many people view happiness as their life goal. In daily life however, we find ourselves in many situations that are not pleasant. We resist ourselves to the unpleasant situation. This only leads to suffering. The four noble truths from Buddhism even state that all our suffering originates from an unwillingness to be with that what is, in this moment. The way that we do achieve happiness, is through acts of empathy to your fellow human beings.

     

      1. Remember, it’s all luck
        This mindset will help you stay away from an attitude of arrogance. Humbleness in your greatest achievements is a beautiful quality to posses.

        “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.” – Byron Katie

      2. Exercise
        Yes, you have been told before that you should exercise. I realise this. But when you have an hour of free time and you are looking at your running shoes, you might be suddenly convinced that the summer is months away. That nobody will notice your belly fat. So why bother? To you I say: change your priorities! Don’t exercise to look good. You are right, that is not important. Exercise out of kindness to your body. Your body needs movement to function! It is not built to be immobile. Ever tried to sit completely still for a full hour? Your muscles will start to hurt and cramp! That scary state of depression all of us try to stay away from, is actually an unwillingness to be active.This also works the other way around. By exercising we feel a build-up of life energy. We become inspired. Exercising daily, as long as you can afford and without straining your body, will set the stage for a fulfilling life.Have a look at my research on the effects and social dynamics of exercise on health.
      3. Be hard on your opinions
        In my experience, most of my knowledge, what I perceive to be true, is actually popular wisdom. And in my experience, popular wisdom is usually wrong. It is hard to admit the flaws in our knowledge. Even when I am proven wrong, I usually have a hard time coming to terms with my new knowledge. And rightly so. Changing your beliefs is a painstakingly tiring process. So make good use of your energy, and make sure that you challenge your beliefs consistently and frequently.
      4. Be a teacher
        We life in a society where teachers are people who have studied to educate. We encounter them in schools or in the university. We are taught to sit passively while they share their knowledge. Then we complain afterwards about the teacher’s lack of skill. We are not taught to regard teachers with high respect, but the role of teacher is probably the most important role we take on in our lives. Remember, it takes a village to raise a kid. And I hope that none of you ever stop being a kid. We need to experience the wisdom of many people to develop ourselves mentally and emotionally. Never underestimate your own wisdom. Some part of your knowledge is invaluable to someone out there, so never hesitate to share.

     

      1. Define yourself by what you love
        Anything that you give attention to in your mind, will flourish. Define what you are passionate about in your life. Make a list. And be sure to spend your time on these things. Do not throw your irreplaceable time and attention away by focussing on what you don’t like.

     

      1. Respect people with less power than you
        Yes, there will always be a hierarchy. But never allow yourself to believe that you deserve anything more than any other human being on this earth. (Remember, it’s all luck!)

     

    1. Dont rush

      “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, but underestimate what they can do in 30 years.” – Tony Robbins

      Enjoy every moment. Refuse to spend your time on anything you don’t like. Stay true to your well-established and criticized values. And you will find that you will accomplish things that you never even dreamed of.

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