I have always loved compiling lists – quotes, jokes, favorite songs, bucket lists, on and on.
One thing I began doing a bit later in life was developing a list of great life advice. You may have seen my previous post 29 Life Lessons on My 29th Birthday, that does exactly that. I always keep a notebook with me so I can quickly write down great things I read, hear, or see. It’s full of some of the best health, wealth, and fulfilling tips I’ve come across over the years. Whenever something inspires me, I write it down in my little green notebook. If I lost it I’d be pretty devastated, but luckily this site provides me an opportunity to put it down on the record digitally and share it with all of you.
I group this “advice” into two different buckets. One bucket is focused on philosophy, meaning, and how you approach life. The other is more practical – things you can do today to make your life better. They’re more actionable than ethereal advice like “Do what you love.” These have been taken from websites, blogs, movies, TV shows, podcasts, Reddit, bathroom walls, and any other surprising sites of inspiration – some of them you may have seen somewhere else. I never cited my sources but I wish I did. I have no idea which, if any, of these tips are of my own or taken from an anonymous source. Enjoy.
1)Humans are made to walk. Set up your life to encourage walking by acquiring soft-soled shoes, curating good podcasts or audiobooks, or getting a dog.
2) Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation.
3) How you spend every day is how you spend your life. Deficiencies do not make you special. The older you get, the more your inability to cook will be a red flag for people. Keep your identity small. “I’m not the kind of person who does things like that” is not an explanation, it’s a trap. It prevents nerds from working out and men from dancing.
4) Bad things happen dramatically (a pandemic). Good things happen gradually (malaria deaths dropping annually) and don’t feel like ‘news’. Endeavor to keep track of the good things to avoid an inaccurate and dismal view of the world.
5) Spend more time on things you never regret (and less time on things you do). Call your parents, have dinner with your spouse, exercise for 30 minutes, go for a walk. @SahilBloom
6) You are not a machine. You are more like a garden. You need different things on different days. Sun today, a little water tomorrow. You have underdeveloped seasons and fruitful seasons. This is not a design flaw. This way of living is much better than constant sameness. @FourFourths
7) When in doubt, write it down. If you’re feeling stuck, upset, or not quite yourself, grab a pen and start writing down your thoughts. I don’t know why, but it works. It works every time. As writer Ted Chiang writes, “Writing lets you look at your thoughts in a way you couldn’t if you were just talking, and having seen them, you could improve them, make them stronger, and more elaborate.”
8) If a street performer makes you stop walking, you owe him a buck
9) Never lie to your doctor. And be nice to every medical professional. Chances are they’re having a rough day. Double that for wait staff at restaurants.
10) Everyone is shy. Other people are waiting on you to introduce yourself to them. Go ahead.
11) Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
12) Your time returns substantially more rewards when invested in high-impact activities than when invested in low-impact activities. Spend more time in the former. Human beings are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging. Spend less time distracted by shiny objects and more time doing what you know you should be.
13) When you give you get back tenfold. It’s a cliché for a reason.
14) Mood follows action. If you’re upset, you aren’t going to magically change your mood. Only through direct action does your mood change. No one’s ever felt worse after a good workout.
15) A handshake beats an autograph
16) Make a rule for vices when you’re out to dinner. Alcohol, bread, or dessert. If you’re going to pig out, pick one vice – not all three.
17) Make time for your mom on your birthday, it’s her special day too.
18) Thank the bus driver.
19) No phones at the dinner table. That includes going out to dinner. Keep them on silent and keep them in a coat pocket.
20) Know at least one good joke.
21) Dance with your mother/father.
22) Always thank the host.
23) You won’t always be the strongest or the fastest, but you can be the toughest.
24) Your dance moves might not be the best, but I promise making a fool of yourself is a hell of a lot more fun than sitting on the bench alone
25) Smile at strangers.
26) Wear sunscreen, even in the winter. I once got sunburn on an airplane. That’s not a typo… True story.
27) Anybody who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
28) Always accept an outstretched hand.
29) Be brave, even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
30) Lend only those books you never care to see again.
31) Be romantic.
32) Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
33) When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
34) Wave at children on the bus.
35) Once in a while, take the scenic route.
36) Trust your gut. If you think he/she likes you, you’re probably right.
37) It’s only embarrassing if you’re embarrassed. If you’re going to be weird, be confident about it
38) Do it to do it, not to have done it
39) Have happy reminders. Make your phone’s screensaver an image that brings you joy, stick a post-it note with a great quote on your desktop. Give yourself more opportunities to smile and be grateful throughout the day.
40) Everybody worships something
41) “Be on the mountain.” When you get to the top of the mountain, don’t immediately plan your descent. Enjoy the view. Live in the present.
42) Karma is real. Be nice.
43) You are a combination of the 5 people you associate with most. Make them good ones.
44) Compliment her on a date. She put a lot of effort into looking good for you.
45) Wave to crosswalk patrol mothers.
46) Have some knowledge of three religions other than your own.
47) Record your parents’ laughter. Keep old voicemails just to hear their voice.
48) Be early, value other people’s time
49) Boxer briefs are better than boxers, or briefs.
50) Keep $40 cash hidden in your wallet for emergencies.
51) When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.
52). Everyone has a vice
53) People care about 10% as much as you think they do.
54) You can tell the true character of a man by how his dog and his kids react to him.
55) What we fear doing the most is usually what we most need to do
56) Don’t lecture someone after they’ve already apologized
57) Drink an 8-ounce glass of water within 10 minutes of waking up. Pound another after your shower.
58) Say “nice job” to a new person at work.
59) Turn the TV off at 10 pm. Pick up a book
60) Smile like you mean it, even if you don’t. Because then you will.
61) Take one piece of trash out of your car every time you get out.
62) When you’re in a mental rut, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it actually true? How do I react when I believe that thought? Who would I be without that thought? Turn it around. What if that thought came true? Find 3 reasons life would be better if it came true
63) Living below your means is widely ignored advice that’s actually incredibly valuable. You can go out to eat 3-4x per week or buy groceries for nearly two weeks with the same $100 bucks
64) After 30 years of eating cookie dough, I’ve never gotten sick. Take the risk.
65) Who you know is more important than what you know.
66) There’s no particular way to do things. Most people are just taking their best guess. When someone gives you advice confidently, remember this.
67) When speaking to others, try and notice the color of their eyes. This will maintain eye contact without you feeling awkward, and they will automatically feel heard since you are alert.
68) Don’t try to remember anything – write it down, put it on your calendar, create a to-do list, or use a notes app. We over-estimate our ability to remember things!
69) Always address people by their names, whether in passing and saying hello, or in an email. You will never forget and they will feel loved!
70) Write angry letters and throw them in the garbage. Whenever you’re angry at someone or something, write down everything you are feeling. If you don’t like writing, make a voice recording. Give your emotions an outlet. And then, discard them.
71) The world will always keep you in the news if you do the unexpected. No one covers the expected. No one cares.
72) Working out teaches you discipline and patience like few other things do.
73) You’re not stressed because you’re doing too much. You’re stressed because you’re doing too little of what makes you feel most alive.
74) Be consistent to wake up and go to bed at the same time on weekdays and weekends. Your body will thank you.
75) Have one health habit that makes a major impact on your wellbeing. This could be as easy as going for two twenty-minute walks every day.
76) Focus on your #1 priority for fifteen minutes in the morning.
77) Do one wealth-building action step each day.
78) Have a NOT to-do list to keep you out of trouble
79) Try to make one room in your house as beautiful as possible. The world presents itself as a series of puzzles. Some of which you’re capable of solving and some of which you are not. If you want to change the world, you start with yourself and work outward. – Jordan Peterson
80) Treat yourself as if you were someone that you are responsible for helping. When I have an injury, I’m always stubborn and think I can just plow through the pain. Yet, when my wife is injured I tell her not to my stupid and take some rest. Follow your own advice and treat yourself like you would your loved one.s
81) Be grateful in spite of your suffering. There’s some real utility in gratitude. Gratitude is the process of consciously and courageously attempting thankfulness in the face of the catastrophe of life.
82) Often the best (and most difficult) decision in life is to simply do nothing.
83) Shorter sentences with smaller words make more powerful points.
84) Keep your desk and workspace bare. Treat every object as an imposition upon your attention, because it is. A workspace is not a place for storing things. It is a place for accomplishing things. – From Ideopunk’s 100 Tips for a Better Life
85) Share what excites you. I mulled over launching Observe and Rapport for months because I was worried about what other people would think. But eventually, I realized that even if no one reads it I still love every minute of it because I’m sharing what excites me. All you need is a few loyal fans who make it all worth it.
These next few come from one of my favorite yearly columns – Kevin Kelly’s 103 bits of advice
86) The biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I don’t need to write this down because I will remember it.”
87) When public speaking, pause frequently. Pause before you say something in a new way, pause after you have said something you believe is important, and pause as a relief to let listeners absorb details.
88) You will be judged on how well you treat those who can do nothing for you.
89) To rapidly reveal the true character of a person you just met, move them onto an abysmally slow internet connection. Observe.
90) If you repeated what you did today 365 more times will you be where you want to be next year?
91) Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
92) In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
93) Run a marathon, climb a mountain, or give a public speech. It doesn’t matter what the action is, but do something you don’t think you can do in your current state. You’ll amaze yourself at what you can accomplish and it will set a benchmark for anything difficult you confront for the rest of your life.
94) Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
95) There’s always another level. Just be content knowing you are better off than most who have ever lived.
96) Take more pictures. With a camera.
97) Avoid the sidewalk shuffle by looking intently over the person’s shoulder, or between people’s heads in a group. Your gaze shows them where you’re going. They’ll drift toward the opposing side / create a gap to avoid you.
98) Of all the life hacks, not drinking is the most impactful.
99) “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs
100) Have faith – your moment is coming.