Live with passion and die happy!
This time I decided to take a different approach and share the thought of Tim Minchin, who is one of my inspirators to live my life with passion and happiness. I have done my best to summarize the ideas of Tim Minchin for everyone into the following bullet points. I do not claim any of these ideas as mine and all the credit goes to Tim Minchin. Except the hand in the picture is mine after rock climbing.
You don’t have to have a dream: Everyone on talent shows always talk about their dreams. Fine, if you have something you’ve always wanted to do, dreamed of in your heart, go for it. After all, it’s something to do with your time, chasing a dream. If it’s a big enough one, it’ll take you most of your life to achieve, so by the time you get to it and are staring into the abyss of the meaninglessness of your achievement, you’ll be almost dead so it won’t matter. I also never really had one of these dreams. I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you. You never know where you might end up. Just be aware the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery, which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out of the corner of your eye.
Don’t seek happiness: Happiness is like an orgasm. If you think about it too much, it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy and you might find you get some as a side effect. We didn’t evolve to be constantly content. Contented homo-erectus got eaten before passing on their genes.
Remember, it’s all luck: You are lucky to be here. You are incalculably lucky to be born. Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures, will humble you and make you more compassionate. Empathy is intuitive but is also something you can work on intellectually.
Exercise: I’m sorry, you pasty, smoking philosophy students, arching your eyebrows into a Cartesian curve as you watch the human movement mob winding their way through the miniature traffic cones of their existence. You are wrong and they are right. Well, you’re half right. You think, therefore you are, but also you jog, therefore you sleep, therefore you’re not overwhelmed by existential angst. You can’t be Kent, and you don’t want to be. Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run, climb rocks, whatever, but take care of your body. You’re going to need it. Most of you mob is going to live to nearly 100, and even the poorest of you will achieve a level of wealth that most humans throughout history could not have dreamed of. This long, luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed.
Be hard on your opinions: We must think critically and not just about the ideas of others but our own. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the veranda and hit them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privileges. Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies and then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions, like two tennis players trying to win a match by hitting beautifully executed shots from either end of separate tennis courts
Be a teacher: Please Please Please, teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world you don’t have to do it forever but if you’re in doubt about what to do, be an amazing teacher even if you are not a teacher. Be a teacher. Share your ideas, don’t take for granted your education, rejoice in what you learn and spray it.
Define yourself by what you love: If you listen to yourself, you will find yourself doing this when someone asks you what sort of music you like, you will say “well I don’t listen to pop music because pop songs lyrics annoy me”. We see it all the time online, people whose idea of being part of a subculture is to hate one direction, or football, or liberal party. We have a tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff. Try to express your passion for things you love, be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire, send gifts, give standing ovations, be pro stuff, not anti-stuff.
Respect people with less power than you: The best way to make important decisions about people is by looking at them talking to people with less power to them. I don't care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room but if you don’t respect the people with less power than you, then you are the worst. So there!
Don’t rush: You already don't need to know what you are going to do with the rest of your life. Don't panic, you will soon be dead. Life will sometimes feel long, and tough and tiring. You will sometimes be happy, sometimes sad and you will be old and then you will be dead. There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence and that is “fill it”. Life is best filled by learning as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you are doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running, being enthusiastic. Good luck!