It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one, meaningless life of yours. Good luck.

A brilliant commencement address which, like most things genius, requires not one listen but multiple. And, while I don’t expect you to watch it over and over, my request is that you revisit this in about a month. Tim’s bio and background are here.

A few of the highlights and at the bottom is a link to his personal blog and you can read the entire transcript if you’d like. Enjoy!

Highlights:

1. You Don’t Have To Have A Dream.
I never really had one of these big dreams. And so I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up. Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye.

2. Don’t Seek Happiness!
Happiness is like an orgasm: if you think about it too much, it goes away. Contented Australophithecus Afarensis got eaten before passing on their genes.
>>NOTE: if we’ve said it once we’ve said it a thousand times in this blog ; )! Happiness is a choice, it’s a responsibility it’s what the Buddha meant when he said, “there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” see post)

3. Remember, It’s All Luck
You are lucky to be here. You were incalculably lucky to be born… I suppose I worked hard to achieve whatever dubious achievements I’ve achieved … but I didn’t make the bit of me that works hard, any more than I made the bit of me that ate too many burgers instead of going to lectures while I was here at UWA.

Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate. Empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on, intellectually.

>>Comment: Taking credit for even your hard work is fool’s gold. Everything and everyone have helped you to forge that work ethic — take NO credit, remain humble!

4. Exercise!

I’m sorry, you pasty, pale, smoking philosophy grads, arching your eyebrows into a Cartesian curve… You can’t be Kant, and you don’t want to be.

Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run… whatever… but take care of your body. You’re going to need it. Most of you mob are going to live to nearly a hundred, and even the poorest of you will achieve a level of wealth that most humans throughout history could not have dreamed of. And this long, luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed!

But don’t despair! There is an inverse correlation between depression and exercise.

5. Be Hard On Your Opinions
A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this… but I would add that opinions differ significantly, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.

We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs…Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.

Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies, then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions…

By the way, while I have science and arts grads in front of me: please don’t make the mistake of thinking the arts and sciences are at odds with one another….If you need proof: Twain, Adams, Vonnegut, McEwen, Sagan, Shakespeare, Dickens. For a start.

6. Be a teacher.
Please be a teacher! Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. You don’t have to do it forever, but if you’re in doubt about what to do, be an amazing teacher.

7. Define Yourself By What You Love
… We have tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff; as a comedian, I make a living out of it. But try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank-you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.

8. Respect People With Less Power Than You.
I have, in the past, made important decisions about people I work with – agents and producers – based largely on how they treat wait staff in restaurants.

9. Don’t Rush.
You don’t need to already know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life… I said at the beginning of this ramble that life is meaningless…

You will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, god, it’s tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you’ll be old. And then you’ll be dead.

There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is: 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 then there’s love, and travel, and wine, and sex, and art, and kids, and giving, and mountain climbing … but you know all that stuff already.

It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one, meaningless life of yours. Good luck. Thank you for indulging me.”

Hope that provides you a sense of guidance and strangely comfort ; ) (comfort in the meaningless of it all). In many ways it’s a recipe for happiness and a fulfilling life…

Set goals. Work hard. Go after it. Be humble. Exercise. Assess your own beliefs and opinions regularly. Be a teachers —share your genius. Define self by what you love not what you hate. Respect everyone. Slow down.
(you can find the entire transcript here).

Thanks Tim!

Until next time friends,

One Day To Live, The Immaterrial and an Exercise of a Lifetime

It’s great to hear that you have your “dream” list of goals and material “toys”. It’s pretty exciting to think about the big house you will own and the 4 high performance or luxury cars, maybe even that ridiculous 135 ft yacht, etc. And, there is no reason you shouldn’t have that list. But, there is a different list…

Do me (and you) a FAVOR right now. Consider for a moment, what you would do if you found out you had only ONE day to live. Do you have any idea how you’d spend it? And, here’s the kicker, with WHO would you spend those last precious hours and minutes?

You see, as unfortunate a scenario as that might be, it takes the often muddied waters of our priorities and values and bring them to the fore with pristine clarity. The fact is, your dream mansion would be worthless, your luxury cars or yacht would all have no redeeming value as you said your final goodbyes.

My guess is this; upon finding out you had only A SINGLE DAY TO LIVE, you’d be immediately reaching out to the one’s you love the most. You’d be sharing your deepest feelings of gratitude for their love and friendship and support over the years.

In short you’d dive into LOVE and GRATITUDE. Love for all those who’ve supported you throughout the years and gratitude for the opportunities and relationships that enriched your life.

One day to live would mean
No BullSh*t….  No wasted time
No fake gestures… little to no concern about what other people think

One day to live would mean:
Focusing on the people you love. Sharing your most meaningful thoughts and ideas.
You’d probably identify some regrets and missed opportunities for time squandered—for losing focus on what was truly important in your life. You’d probably even do some last minute mending of fences and going out of your way to reconcile— to leave this world in peace.

The Reward?
If you have truly processed this mental exercise for all that it’s worth you will have a great idea of WHO and WHAT is most important to you and WHY

Create that list now. Who are the people? What are they experiences and why are they meaningful. Have there been opportunities lost? What are they, can you re-write the outcome. It all begins with clarity.

Loser!?

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photo: courtesy Flickr – by Ingorrr

Excerpt from “The 3C’s” The Ebook
by Mitch W. Steel

“There are two ways to live: You can live as if nothing is a miracle; or, you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein

Either everything is a miracle or nothing is. So which is it?

That is a question you ought to dwell upon for a good, long while. For, it suggests that if you consider ANYTHING a miracle – then, everything ought to be considered such. And, since you don’t have answers to everything – this would suggest then that everything is indeed a miracle. Taken one step further then – you (my brother or sister) are part of everything. Therefore, you are a miracle! You are NO loser!

As reviewed earlier with the second “C” character, your self image/self esteem must be high enough for you to believe that you are a miracle–that you are indeed a worthy contributor to society. This high self-esteem will help you to finish your projects and overcome any “FEAR.”

A great place to start with that self-concept is to ensure your Master Belief Record (internal), as reviewed earlier is in proper working order. It helps greatly to recognize the series of fantastic events that had to take place just for you to “arrive” on this planet at this time!

Don’t think your life is a miracle?

Here’s another perspective – don’t take my word for it, consider for a moment… how many ridiculous circumstances and events had to occur in just the right sequence for you to be here right now–to even exist. What had to happen for YOU to exist? What events transpired?

If you can’t already site the bizarre series of events that led to your parents meeting then go ask them for the story. They’ll probably tell you that “had it not been for the traffic” . . . “had I never taken that job offer . . . “ “taken the trip out of town … “ they never would have met–and you (yes you my friend) would never have been “CREATED”! Conservatively stated, that is indeed a minor miracle!

Now let’s take a few steps back–or should I say way . . . way back. Let’s take a look at our very planet, Earth. Do you realize that at the very moment that you’re reading this, our planet is spinning on its axis at approximately 7,000 miles per hour? I recommend you stop and consider that statement one more time. Then, just for fun, consider at the very same time, we’re rotating around the sun at nearly 67,000 mph.

Simply based on either of those two remarkable facts alone, how can you think your existence is anything but extraordinary? A remarkable gift indeed – an unexplainable miracle. This is what Einstein is referring to when he suggests that you can either look at everything as a miracle or nothing. There is no in-between. You are no mistake. Again, you are NO loser.

Yes, the interesting thing here – this is a MBR – a master belief record – so if you caught that congratulations. As you can see, sadly, there are people who believe they are a “mistake” or a “loser”. The incredible thing is that is their “choice”. THEY have elected to BELIEVE they are a “mistake” or a “loser”. So, my friend, if this is your choice… why not choose the “miracle” – you chose the belief and the meaning that directs every other related belief.

This is the sort evidence you ought to use to bolster your belief system and help you battle through your daily challenges to ensure you stay the course and complete your mission. And, as any “miracle” might suggest you therefore have a moral imperative and obligation to follow through—to complete your creative desires – to fulfill your ideal future!