50 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

I’m turning 50 in a few days and felt like sharing some of the things that I’ve learned along the way (ht Kevin Kelly for the inspiration):

  1. Develop a good swagger. Let the world know what you will and will not accept from it.
  2. Your background, path, history, family, community, crazy relatives and the whole tangled mess of your upbringing with all of its trials and traumas was and is a gift.
  3. If you want to go forward you have to go back & integrate your past into your present. And, while you’re doing this, know that your wounds are where the wonder is.
  4. Seek out your Vader and ask “Where does it hurt?” Your demons are meant to be met not defeated.
  5. Read poetry (it helps with the above).
  6. In life, we’re all playing hurt. So, be kind.
  7. In life, you will fail. It will hurt. But you will learn.
  8. Be the one who tries opening the lid to the pickle jar first. You’ll most likely fail and those who try next will succeed. However, you’ll get practice laying the foundation for another’s future success. And, that’s how this world becomes a better place.
  9. Say “I do not know” and let others to teach you.
  10. Say “Thank you” to those who have helped you.
  11. Say “I forgive you” to those who have hurt you.
  12. Ask “Why?”
  13. Negativity is contagious. Don’t spread it. Be the person that others are happy to meet.
  14. There’s what you are doing with this life you’ve been given and there’s what you should be doing. It’s your job to match them up. It’s your most important job.
  15. If you ever realize that what you’re doing is not what you should be doing, quit what you’re doing and go do what you should be doing. Sometimes quitters win.
  16. Never eat the food that’s put out at a kid’s party (ever).
  17. Limit your desires, wants and needs. Strip away the unnecessary. Simplify. Eat the same lunch. Eat the same breakfast. A life of constraints is a life of liberation.
  18. Know that the grass is only greener where no one gets to play.
  19. Get a dog.
  20. The desire to be known (famous) only leads to darkness and self-diminishment.
  21. Give a good handshake.
  22. Give even better hugs.
  23. Get some guns. Not those guns. Biceps. Give your someone something to hold onto.
  24. There are those who wear gloves while working out. There are those who don’t. Don’t.
  25. Hollywood screens and glossy magazines may say otherwise; however, you can still live a fulfilling life without a six-pack.
  26. Be suspicious of power tools and other labor-saving devices. The body needs to work.
  27. Know how to sweat.
  28. Know how to do hard things. Know how to do hard things the hard way.
  29. Manual labor (applying yourself against earthly, material things that will not yield easily to my presence) is a form of meditation.
  30. Soil deprivation is real. So, always keep a bit of earth under your fingernails.
  31. Pay your bills on time, spend less than you make and stay out of credit card debt.
  32. Pack your lunch. It saves you money, your waistline and the environment. And, if you pack it the night before, it mentally prepares you for the day to come.
  33. Be wary of our distraction-engineered consumerist society. And, know that it is has one mandate: to place each and everyone of us into a comfort-induced coma of do-nothingness via convenience, ease and empty calories.
  34. Be wary of pretty people selling you things. They’re the foot soldiers of our consumerist society.
  35. Pursue purpose. Not pay. Invest in people. Not possessions.
  36. It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you make (and then give away).
  37. If you don’t like Bob Dylan (except when he’s singing with Johnny Cash), then you don’t have to like Bob Dylan. And, that goes for Mother Teresa too. 🤭
  38. It’s okay to be disliked.
  39. Sing this song in the shower: Shake You Down by Gregory Abbott.
  40. Your obstacles are the architects of your destiny. Embrace them.
  41. Learn how to take power naps (between 12-15 minutes). Learn how to take them on a hard surface. And, learn how to take them unabashedly in front of other people.
  42. Once a year, live on two dollars a day to remember that one of the ways we humans express our love for the ones we love is by putting food on the table.
  43. Awards, Ribbons and “Certificates of Excellence” are nice to get. But they’re earned by conforming to another’s standard for excellence. Define your own.
  44. When your mind is screaming “Give Up! Give Up! Give Up!” but your heart is whispering “Keep Up. Keep Up. Keep Up”, listen to your heart.
  45. When you’re feeling held back and tied to a post, don’t blame people and powers outside of yourself. You’re the one holding the rope.
  46. Those worth knowing keep their promises. Keep yours.
  47. The world is both/and not either/or. Grey. Not black or white. Hold fast to the center.
  48. Choose five this-is-how-I-want-to-live-my-life-adjectives, write them down on a piece of paper and carry it around in your pocket.
  49. Seek questions not answers.
  50. Choose to be better today than you were yesterday. Now, this is not always an easy choice. But, it is a choice. And, each and every one of us has the power to choose. Yes, this choice may be harder for some than others. But, it is always and forever within our purview to choose. Never forget this.


If you enjoyed this list, here are some others:

Thanks. – shawn