I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life. I’m sure everyone can say the same. Recently Tucker Max wrote an article where he illustrates what he learned in life and I thought it would be a good idea to do my own, if only for my own edification.

So what have I learned?

Well, for starters, I learned that you actually have to play the asshole from time to time. If you just let everyone walk all over you and never set boundaries, you’re gonna have a bad time. Now you don’t have to be an asshole to set boundaries, but when you are learning to I’d say yes you do. I feel it’s better to error on the side of being too aggressive or confrontational than too timid. One lets others get what they want and the other gives you what you want, at least ideally. You can learn to tone it down as you practice, but you gotta practice! If that means being an asshole, so be it. They’ll get over it just as you have to so many assholes in your life.

What else?

Well, you gotta learn to enjoy the little things in life. It’s totally trite and cliche but it’s true. If you can’t enjoy a soft breeze; birds flying over the water; trees swaying in the wind; the sun rising for another day; you’re gonna have a much harder time than otherwise. There’s plenty of times throughout the day something will catch my eye – a bird swinging low, or the smile of someone beautiful – and it will brighten up my mood completely. But you have to be open to these moments. Initially you have to look for them. The next time you’re at work just sitting around waiting for something to do, look around and try to notice something or someone you haven’t really payed attention to before.

I guess that’s the key word – you gotta be able to pay full attention in the present moment. This is what meditation is supposed to achieve – the ability to stop thinking for a moment (and it’s only for a moment) and pay attention. The difference between experienced meditators and novices is that the experienced one can achieve this state more frequently. Or at least that’s how I assume it works. I’m still a novice but several times throughout the day I’ll remember to focus on my breathing. And when I do that I cease thinking about whatever nonsense was in my head. Most of the shit you think (or hear, rather) in your head is just noise. Data that your brain is computing and sending your way. Unless you’re in the middle of a crisis or problem, you can safely ignore it. You can get by on intuition and feeling alone. And the more you can quiet that mind and pay attention, the less depressed you’ll be.

That was a bit long and maybe I’ll have to go back and edit it later but for now I’m just going to leave it be. That’s another thing I’ve learned lately. Often times it’s better to just keep moving and not look back. This can apply to many areas in life, but I find it to be true in writing especially. If you’re constantly going back to edit, your mind can’t generate new ideas as quickly. It’s looking for grammatical errors, synergies, mistakes. But if you just keep writing, your brain seems to use a different skill set. I could be wrong in my analysis, but the results are fair. When I type without editing, I seem to produce better material and much more efficiently. This is how you should look at the world – what is the result of your actions. Intentions are meaningless.

You gotta learn to admit when you are wrong. Own up to your mistakes. If you are constantly hiding behind the fear (and that’s what lying is) then you are never going to grow. Only by exposing yourself to the light of truth can you ever fully mature. And life becomes much more enjoyable as you mature. You’ll just have to take my word on that for now. But judge it on your own. Test everything. Your life should be an experiment. If you are always letting fear hold you back you will never experience newness. That’s what fear actually hides – new ideas. So go out on a limb once in a while. Expose yourself to danger. I’m sure you’ll find that it’s almost never as bad as you had imagined it. Who knows, you may even end up liking it.