Tim Minchin (@timminchin) accepting an honorary degree from University of Western Australia. Smart and funny. It’s worth listening to all the way through, but I’ve excerpted my favorite parts of his Nine Life Lessons below.
1. You don’t have to have a dream.
I never really had one of these dreams and so 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’ll 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 the corner of your eye.
2. 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.
3. Remember, it’s all luck.
Well done you for dragging yourself up by your shoelaces, but you were lucky, you didn’t create the bit of you that drags you up. They’re not even your shoelaces. 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 it’s also something you can work on intellectually.
Take care of your body, you’re going to need it.
5. Be hard on your opinions.
A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like assholes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this, but I would add that opinions differ significantly from assholes in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.
6. Be a teacher. Please.
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’re not a teacher, be a teacher.
7. Define yourself by what you love.
We have a tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff. Try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous of your praise of those you admire. Be “pro”-stuff, not just “anti”-stuff.
8. Respect people with less power than you.
I don’t care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you by how treat the lease powerful. So there.
9. Don’t rush.
You don’t need to already know what to do with the rest of your life. Don’t panic.