A video post featuring Tim Minchin kept popping up in my Facebook feed today. You know, this guy:
Not being much of a fan of stand-up comedy myself, I didn't know much about him, and I'd assumed he was kind of Australia's answer to Russell Brand (which is not necessarily a bad thing, at all).
This short video was an entirely unexpected surprise. In between musing on the critical importance of the Arts and Sciences together to communicate scientific knowledge despite the "recent, stupid and damaging idea" that the two areas are opposed, Tim taught me 10 life lessons, which I've paraphrased for you below:
1. You don't have to have a dream. It's very American talent show. If you don't, try micro-ambition - passionate dedication to the pursuit of short term goals. And keep your eye out for the next thing to capture your attention...
2. Don't seek happiness. Keep busy and try to make someone else happy and you might find you get some as a side-effect.
3. Life is all luck. Understanding that you can't truly take credit for your success nor truly blame others for your failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.
4. Exercise. Your long, luxurious life is going to make you depressed but there is an inverse correlation between depression and exercise.
5. Be hard on your opinions. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices and your privileges. Most of society's arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknlowledge nuance.
6. Be a teacher. Even if you're not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don't take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn.
7. Define yourself by what you LOVE. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Be PRO stuff, not just ANTI stuff.
8. Respect people with less power than you.
9. Don't rush. Don't panic if you don't know what you want to do with the rest of your life. There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence - FILL IT! Life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you're doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running, being enthusiastic. (And love, travel, wine, sex, art, kids, giving, mountain climbing...)
10. This one doesn't come from Mr Minchin, but from me. Absorb inspiration and wisdom from all possible sources, because you can learn something from every single person in the world, even a musical comedian with crazy hair from Perth.
The awesome thing about this, is at the ripe old age of 27 (for another few days at least) I reckon these would be exactly my handy hints for life too. Glad someone else has gone and put them out there for me, and in a much more clearly and simply articulated way. Now to go and live by this advice...
Watch the full video here: