Peter Smith

Publications, Lectures and Other Stuff

My Advice to My Younger Self

I just posted this on Facebook and am reposting it here — “My advice to my younger self (& anyone else who finds any of this relevant)”.

In no particular order::
1. Encourage and support your friends. The encouragement of friends is one of the main factors which helps people cope with their lives and many [most?] people face difficulties in their lives which they may not tell you about.
2. Being amiable and encouraging people you don’t know so well is also good, but don’t be naïve: some people may be difficult or dangerous to deal with.

3. Be true to yourself (and that includes the Socratic, ‘Know thyself!’).

4. Never lie to yourself – or to others (though you can be diplomatic with them  ).

5. Act as if you have free will, and be responsible for everything that you do (I am echoing William James here and agree with him that free will is a complicated philosophical question which may not be resolvable).

6. Learn from your mistakes, and as a matter of urgency try to do things better next time.

7. Remember two of my favourite movie quotations: [i] ‘Life is pain. Get used to it!’ (Long Kiss Goodnight); [ii] ‘Never give up! Never surrender!’ (Galaxy Quest).

8. Work out what your own ways of dealing with stress and disappointment are.

9. Try to make your life meaningful and useful.

10. If you have good opportunities (e.g. jobs, travel) when you are young then do take them: when you get older practical difficulties may interfere with your plans and hopes.

11. Be idealistic and practical.

12. Remember that we can only lead our own lives (for better or worse). We can’t live other people’s.

13. Accept that other people are weird.

14. Accept that you may die at any moment, but live life with as much zest as if you are going to live to be 156.

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This entry was posted on February 20, 2017 by in Peter Smith.

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