12 Rules For Living

After reading Nate Meyvis' 12 Rules for living I realized a couple of things:

  1. Nate Meyvis is one of those people whose thoughts resonate with me immediately, in part because we are similar and in part because we are quite different. I'm going to be following his blog with interest.
  2. I should write my own list. It'll be fun! I read a few other lists; Tyler Cowen's had a quote that is going to stick in my brain forever:

The human condition seems to defeat our attempts to order it.

With that caveat firmly in mind, I present

Nate Dickson's 12 Rules for Living, Mid-2020 Edition

  1. It is better to be kind than to be right. Try to be both, but winning an argument isn't worth losing a friend or hurting a stranger.
  2. Be right, or be wrong, but be certain. When you make a decision commit to that decision fully. When you change your mind change it entirely. You can't edit a blank page, you can't steer a parked car. Get moving, get doing, and course correct as needed without looking back. Of course you'll make mistakes. Just keep making them and move on as best you can.
  3. Marry well. (I stole this whole cloth from Tyler Cowen, but I've been married for 18+ years to the woman of my dreams, so I can use it too.)
  4. Create in your chosen medium, all the time. Make time to write or paint or sing or dance or program or sculpt or invent a new art form for which there is no name. Create intricate RPG scenarios for your friends. Learn to love that tingly feeling inside your skull when something new is in the world because of you.
  5. Learn to identify logical fallacies. An idea can be logical and wrong, logic just proves internal consistency. But illogical ideas are rarely right, and logical fallacies are almost always traps. In software terms they are exploits for bugs in the human mind. Learning about logical fallacies is the patch.
  6. If you hate something, learn about it. Sometimes you hate things because they are bad, sometimes you hate things because you are ignorant. I have discovered many things I loved after studying things I thought I hated. I have also discovered that ignorance isn't bliss, it's a world of half-understood fears.
  7. Just keep at it. Whatever you're working on, just keep doing it. No matter how long it takes, no matter how many setbacks you have. Even if the last time you picked up this idea was 12 years ago, if it interests you now, pick it back up, dust it off, and add to it. There's a reason it called to you out of the past.
  8. Read more than you watch. There's nothing wrong with video entertainment, but binge watching is an effective way to destroy opportunities. Reading fiction is shown to develop empathy, reading non-fiction is shown to develop a wider understanding of the world.
  9. Diversify your musical tastes. There is a whole world of good music out there. Find many things to like. Listen to things you don't like and see if you can understand why you don't like them.
  10. Apologize easily. This might be part of number 1 above, but this is more about taming pride.
  11. Forgive easily and completely.
  12. Learn to use money correctly. Money is very boring, so don't let it become stressful. Stay out of debt and money will take up less of your mental bandwidth. Put some by and when you need money it will be there. Make yourself wait for a few months before buying a shiny toy to see if you still want it two months from now.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.

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