Shitty experiences don’t justify shitty actions

Often people justify doing bad things based on bad things that have happened in their lives.
They blame their past for their actions.
They act as if they had no choice.

But the truth is, there’s always a choice.
What you do and who you are ultimately is a decision – your decision.
If you choose to do good, you will do good, no matter how bad things might have been for you.
And vice versa.

Don’t go bad as a result of your pain.
And suffering
And anguish.
And anger.
No matter what happens in your life, never let them influence you to do bad things.

Yes bad things happen.
It’s unfortunate, but they don’t have the power to turn you into someone you don’t want to be – unless you let them.
Don’t let your struggles create a dark version of you.

Let your light shine, no matter your struggles, or challenges.
If anything, let them make you stronger.
Use those experiences to make a difference, and do better.
Who better to know what not to do and what to do better than someone who has suffered?

Be you, and better.
Not worse.
Do not let what happened in your past make you a worse version of you.

Like they say, life gives you lemons…

You have a choice.
Choose good.
Do good.
Be good.

What (ultimately) does not make you happy

Being selfish doesn’t make you happy, ultimately.
Unless, of course, you are a narcissist or a sociopath…

When you are the only person you think about, everything you do is to only benefit yourself.
That’s a very narrow-minded, and short-term view of life.
That’s a mindset that doesn’t benefit the world, and won’t even benefit you in the long term (even though you might think it will).
And that certainly is not how you make the world a better place.

If you want to make a difference, and leave the world a better place, you can’t just focus on taking, you’ll need to give as well.
Being selfish is a bad decision even from self-preservation and self-benefit point of view because if you don’t give, you will stop getting.

Take care of yourself, absolutely, but don’t just focus on yourself.
Give more than you take.

Make politeness the default

“Life is too fucking short to be an asshole.”
If I remember correctly, that’s something I heard from Louis CK.
It’s a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

I’ve written about the importance of politeness before.
Growing up, the importance of good manners, respect and politeness was emphasised – respect more than others.
I vividly remember the plaque my grandfather had on politeness…

In my linear brain and black and white thinking, politeness takes up quite a bit of import.
That’s the default position as far as I’m concerned.
At the end of the day, what’s the point of not being polite, and why won’t you be?

It doesn’t take much to be polite.
It’s an easy thing to do, and has huge upsides.
It makes your, and everyone else’s life, better.
Life is short, so why not make politeness your default response?

That said, I do have exceptions, namely if someone is being an asshole.
Then I’m often the biggest asshole they’ve ever come across.

I can be better though.
I’m working on being more patient…
But apart from those instigators and stupid situations, politeness always is my default.
I’m in no way perfect, but I do try, and will continue to do so.

Politeness is a great default response to have.
Life gets better for everyone when politeness is the default.
So make it your default.

Above all, don’t be an asshole.
Life really is too fucking short.

Choosing between auto and manual

Our mind operates on two gears:
Auto, and manual.
Like cars…

Most of the time we do things in autopilot.
And that’s actually very useful, even necessary, because there are far too many things to consciously make decisions about.

That said, there are things that require manual piloting.
Times when you need to be in the driver’s seat (as opposed to having your mind do the driving).
Times when you should, and need to, think for yourself.

It’s easy to delegate the thinking and the decisions.
Because thinking is hard work.
It takes effort.
It can be uncomfortable.

But having all the thinking delegated to autopilot (be it just resorting to our old beliefs, or just believing what someone said rather than questioning it) comes with challenges.
That is how people become narrow minded, judgemental, prejudiced, bigoted, and stupid.

Don’t just accept something because it’s the commonly held belief, or it’s easy to go with it.
Exercise that incredible computer in your head.
Think for yourself.

Understanding your caveats, and limits

I really enjoy walking.
But only if I’m exploring something new (mainly when I’m travelling).
Even that I sometimes don’t like much if I don’t like the company.
Otherwise, I don’t like walking.
Walking just for the sake of it never appealed to me.

I love learning things.
But only if it’s something new.
And/or it’s something particularly interesting.
And/or there is some point to it.
If it’s boring, or dry, or I have no interest in it, then I hate it.
That’s one of the reasons why I’ve always hated exams.

I love doing (lots of) things.
But only if they intrigue me, and I enjoy them.
And/or I’m helping someone.
And/or it’s something new.
If I’ve already done it before and/or it’s mundane, I have absolutely no interest in it, and will hate every second I spend doing it.
This is why I lose all interest in a piece of work once I’ve completed it. Once it’s done, I don’t want to see it anymore. Onto the next thing.

I love reading.
But subject to my curiosity parameters.

I absolutely love helping people.
But not if they’re ungrateful.

I am always polite.
Unless the other person is rude.

I’m always kind.
Until the other person is not.

And so on…

It is good to know your caveats, and limits.
We all have them.
The sooner you accept them, the sooner you will get out of your own way.

What are your caveats, and limits?