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I see lists all the time where people give advice; some are uplifting and inspirational, all are popular.  I’m not saying this one will be, and maybe I’m writing more for myself to remind myself of the lessons I’ve learned, am still learning, or want to learn.  Maybe I’m just hoping someone might learn from my mistakes because I don’t think I have.

People will tell you, “You can’t”.  Prove them wrong.  As long as it’s not illegal, immoral, or hurtful.

People will tell you, “You can”.  Prove them right.

They will tell you, “It’s impossible”.  Do it anyway.  Chase your dreams.  Reach for the star.  Stare at the stick at your feet.  If you want something bad enough, go get it (legally).  I’m not much of a fighter, but there are certain things out there worth fighting for; you just need to decided what those are for you.

Enjoy the little things.  Like ice cream and chocolate.  And working out.  Using conjunctions to begin sentences and prepositions to end them [sorry, grammar Nazis].

Enjoy the big things.  Like climbing Everest.  Or skydiving.

Don’t troll.  Don’t troll just to troll.  Once trolls were easily found under bridges.  They’ve found new homes on the internet.  I think we all long for the day when they return under the bridge.

Laugh.  If someone tells a joke, laugh.  Unless it’s really not funny.  Or offensive.  Laugh at yourself.  When all else fails, make yourself laugh.

Accentuate the positive.  Too often, our focus is on what doesn’t go right, what we could’ve done different.  It may just be a difference of semantics; but changing how you phrase things can go a long way to influencing your attitude and the attitudes of those around you.  Else-wise, you risk turning into a depressed robot or an uncaring, unfeeling husk.

Don’t let negativity get you down.  The world is charged with negative energy.  Rally against it.

Give one hundred and ten percent.  You may not want to take pride in your job because pride’s a sin.  Doing a good job, however, isn’t wrong.  Performing all that’s required of you, plus a little extra will get you places; maybe not right away, but people remember.  Even if it’s just giving great customer service: delivering the pizza faster than expected, walking a customer to the product they needed, taking time out of your day to help brighten someone else’s, smiling at the ranting patron, etc.

Do.  As everyone knows, Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try”.  You may not get it right the first time or even the hundredth, but at least you learned something from the attempt…I hope.

Don’t be afraid to succeed.  People may hate you, let them.  More will ask you how you did it and why.

Don’t be afraid to fail.  People will be there to mock and taunt, don’t listen.

Own your mistakes.  Learn from them.  Don’t let them define you.

Pick yourself up when you fall.  We learn that lesson early, but often it gets stamped out of us as we age.

Take responsibility.  People like to assign blame.  At least this way, you’ll help them skip a step.  Maybe even catch them off-guard.

Rules are great, but don’t be too strict.  Everyone needs space to grow into a person, into a leader, into themselves; but we also need boundaries.  Set boundaries and follow the rules, but don’t become so rigid that you can’t accept when someone else follows the rules slightly differently.  You know, as long as we all follow the same rules and don’t cheat.

Don’t stop believing.  The power of faith in yourself is a marvelous thing.  Articles have been written about, pages filled by, and the very air inundated with the benefits of confidence.  The root of the tree of confidence is faith in yourself and your abilities and knowledge.

You may not be able to change the world, but you can change your part in it.  As Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.

If you don’t know or are uncertain, ask.  For some reason, we’ve gotten it into our heads that asking is a sign of weakness.  Weakness is the only sign of weakness I know.  Sure, driving around a strange town might be fun and show you new places (and a necessity with Apple maps), but eventually, you need to get where you’re supposed to be.  That’s why the internet invented Google maps.

Be inquisitive.

Vent.  Even if it’s screaming into a pillow or writing on a blog no one reads, don’t let resentment build up.  It’s not healthy…or so I hear.  I once had a friend I would constantly vent to.  Eventually, just seeing my friend would put me in a bad mood because my body was readying all the vitriol that had built up for expulsion.  Don’t let it build up to the point where you explode (seriously, someone’s going to have to clean that up).

Be nice.  Like Mother Teresa said, “People may take advantage. Be nice anyway”.

Chivalry will only die if we let it.

Fight against injustice and tyranny.

Surround yourself with people who challenge you.  Not those who dare you to do stupid things (though YouTube thanks you for their contributions); but those who push you to grow, form your own ideas and opinions, and will support you even when you disagree.

“Yes men (and women)” are a waste of time.

Read.  Even if it’s the subtitles in your newest favorite video game, the practice helps.

Never stop learning.

It’s okay to be smart.  All those times you pretended to be dumb so someone might like you.  That was dumb.  In five years, you’ll forget that person’s name.  In ten, you’ll forget a lot of calculus (unless you use it in your career); but if you learned it, you’ll be able to help your kids…unless Common Core changes that, too…and they’ll thank you for it.

It’s okay to be nerdy.  Geek out about stuff.  Get excited. Who cares if it’s Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Dr. Who, Pokemon, politics, religion, whatever.  The point is, find a passion.  Express it.  (Just not to me.)  Find friends who share it and geek out together [not just for D&D anymore (there are so many more RPGs out there now, not to mention board games…)].

Be you.  As Dr. Seuss said, “‘Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”  If you won’t be you, who will be?  Don’t apologize for being true to yourself.  Life would be too boring if we were all the same.

Let others be themselves.  You won’t be able to change them anyway.

Surround yourself with men and women who appreciate you for you.

Have fun.  Sometimes you get stuck in a rut.  Sometimes you do things you don’t want to.  That doesn’t mean life has to be a chore.  Some might call it goofing around.  Some might tell you to grow up.  But, if you can brighten someone’s day, even for a moment, I say do it.  We all have small opportunities to be heroes in someone else’s eyes.

Smile.  A genuine smile brightens the darkest gloom.

You get what you give.  Sow joy.

Sorry, that got a little long [and potentially out of hand; hopefully, I navigated the minefield well enough and avoided rant territory].  Thanks for sticking through to the end.  …If you did (I almost didn’t).

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