Its subtitle is "27 conflicting answers and one weird conclusion". And these life lessons truly are conflicting, but that makes them all the more real.
I read most of this book/pamflet on a sunny day on my balcony, whilst smelling the approach of spring fresh in the air. It feels blissfully meditative. It inspires me to forego limitations and doubts that only live inside my mind, and got out and do stuff in this world. Derek's thoughts definitely fit into the process of enlightenment concerning the fact that it is actually really easy to completely change your life. Going in a radically different direction is often not much more than a conscious choice you make (of course this is not as easy for a large share of the world's population being exploited by whatever power structures hold sway over them).
The distribution of this work is also fascinatingly in line with its own messages. You pay once for the "contents/text", and then only for all marginal production cost. Be the change that you'd want to see in this world.
How I want to go about this review for its remainder, is to first list all twenty-sevenchapter headings and then write down some of the paragraphs I marked.
1. Be independent
So true, especially in romantic relationships. Love is something conscious that you choose to nurture everyday anew.
Your time is thinly spread. Indecision keeps you shallow.
Trust helps your happiness more than income or health. Trust and show you can be trusted.
3. Fill your senses
4. Do nothing
Your whole experience of life is in your mind. Focus on your internal world, not external world.
5. Think super-long-term
Not like the Long Now foundation, but more on the scale of your own human life and direct descendants.
6. Intertwine with the world
Culture is often historical.
(often surprisingly recent history)
For example, farmers in the Netherlands now are defending and nostalgic for their current way of farming (intensive, large-scale, systemic animal-torture). But Dutch farmers ended up in this mode of production by nudges and stimulation from government and banks over the course of the last couple of decades. If you'd ask a farmer from fifty years ago, I bet he'd find the current state of affairs appalling. Why do farmers still defend their current way of doing business so fiercely then? Culture seems to develop very rapidly.
7. Make memories
8. Master something
You can do anything, but not everything.
This is something I struggle with surprisingly often. Often doubting my choices and life paths. I wish I could live a thousand lives.
Imagine getting to a mountaintop after a long hike through a gorgeous forest. Achieving your goal would feel like taking off your backpack. That's all.
As an analogy for the journey is the destination.
9. Let randomness rule
10. Pursue pain
Be absolutely honest with everyone. Stop lying, completely. You lie when you're afraid. You lie to avoid consequences. Always say the truth. Take the painful consequences.
11. Do whatever you want now
12. Be a famous pioneer
13. Chase the future
14. Value only what has endured
16. Follow the great book
17. Laugh at life
18. Prepare for the worst
19. Live for others
20. Get rich
21. Reinvent yourself regularly
People say everything is connected. They're wrong. Everything is disconnected. There is no line between moments in time.
Something happened. Something else happened. People love stories, so they connect two events, calling them cause and effect. But the connection is fiction.
Nature changes at regular intervals. So should you. We can't prolong one season. Never stay too long. Knowing something is going to end gives you more appreciation for it.
Be together by choice, not necessity or dependence. Love you partner, but don't need your partner. Need is insatiable. Need destroys love.
Stay in situations where you're forced to show your work to others.
Collect ideas in a crowd. Create in silence and solitude. Like your bedroom, your work space needs to be private. This is where you dream and get naked.
24. Don't die
Most of eating healthy is just avoiding bad food. Most of being right is just not being wrong. To have good people in your life, just cut out the bad ones.
25. Make a million mistakes
Take on big challenges. While everyone else is nervously preparing, you jump right in, unafraid to fail.
26. Make change
Begin by righting what's wrong. Look for what's ugly: ugly systems, ugly rules, ugly traditions. Look for what bothers you. If you can fix it, do it now. Otherwise, aim lower until you find something you can do now. Make it how it should be. Don't complain. Just make the change.
How? By using the techniques of lobbyists. Set up a company or foundation to act through. Make institutional change anonymously from behind the company, so your personality is not distracting the point. Call it something generic and impossible to oppose, like "Better World LLC". Keep your public profile small. Be humble and likable. Prevent the straw man attack. For each change you seek to make, find someone effective to be the face of the campaign. Let the company and its contributors make the change. Stay behind the scenes and quietly pull the strings.