Share the Life Lessons You Wish You'd Learned Sooner

Here are some of mine:

  1. Do it now.

No, it won’t go away if you ignore it. In most cases, dealing with it will get harder. In all cases you will waste much time and emotional energy dreading and stewing over ‘it’ – and then when you finally steel yourself to actually do it…it turns out to be not nearly as bad as you feared. So just do it already.
2) Never put anything down in the wrong place, even if it’s ‘just for a minute.’

Take the extra ten steps and 20 seconds and put the whatever back where it lives. This will A) prevent the whatever from becoming clutter, B) enable you to find the whatever again the next time you need it, and C) might even protect the whatever from being destroyed. As in, brand-new $350 glasses set down on the deck ‘just for a moment’ when…crunch!
3) Never drink your calories.

Eating a medium orange (64 calories) takes much more time and is much more satisfying than drinking a cup of orange juice (110 calories.) And teach your taste buds to accept artificial sweeteners in soft drinks/coffee/tea and you can take off ten or more pounds of fat over a year, without any dieting or added exercise.
4) There is never any reason to buy pens.

You can always steal, er, borrow one from someone. :smiley:

  1. Forget the new car, plasma tv, boat and other expensive toys…save that money for a downpayment on a house. Good investment, great tax breaks and something called equity.

  2. Before you buy a house, get a “good job” or get married - get your ass off the couch and travel…learn about the world, learn about yourself, and do what you can only do while you are young. I have never heard anyone regret going out and seeing the world on their own terms.

  3. If you are young and Gay, come out as soon as possible and be safe. If you are young and hetero, use birth control and be safe.

  4. Never burn a bridge. Leave jobs on good terms, leave relationships (if possible) on good terms. You never know how karma is going to come back and punish you for that fleeting feeling of joy in being cruel or stupid when things end.

  5. Never marry, or partner yourself, for money. Go where the money is, meet someone, and be happy for love.

  6. Nothing is free. You will pay - oh how you will pay.

Drinking alcoholic beverages do not make you:

  1. More intelligent
  2. More attactive
  3. More pleasant to be with.

Also, Alcoholics Anonymous is pretty cheap when compared to loss of jobs, property, license, and respect. And you really don’t have to believe in God for it to work.

BUY as MUCH rental properies as the bank will allow you to; then leverage yourself and BUY MORE.
-Live on a shoestring till age 35; save/invest your money.
-buy a cheap used car; big car loans and new cars are for suckers!
-Plant to retire at 40!

No matter how you plan your life, there will be curveballs that change everything. Deal with it no matter how nasty or good the curveballs will be. The fact is, whatever happens to you is the best thing because it is the only thing.

So says I. [Case in point, my entire life I have always believed that I would have maybe one and possibly two kids. I have been blessed with one execptional daughter. China Wife is pregnant with number two, and on Friday we learned to our considerable surprise that China Wife is actually pregnant with numbers two and three. It’s great, but man is that going to change our lives in unintended ways.]

Learning to speak foreign languages well pays infinate dividends your entire life.

Taking care of yourself is important.

Some relationships are toxic and must be severed completely.

True love really does exist.

Doctors aren’t always right.

  1. Follow your gut;

  2. Confidence makes up for a lot, trying is it’s own reward;

  3. Susan C. is a nut job and you shouldn’t live with her while you’re trying to finish grad school;

  4. Always break big problems down to their components, figure out what the first steps are, the rest will fall into place;

  5. No one else knows what they’re doing either;

Start investing now. Today. Walk away from the computer and set aside some money. Compound interest is a beautiful, magical thing, and the earlier you start investing, the more money you end up with.

Invest in yourself. Start exercising more. Stop eating all that crap.


  • Good-looking people are really good for looking at. It doesn’t mean you have to love them, or they have to love you, or that you are really soulmates and he/she just doesn’t know it yet.

  • Actions speak louder than words. Someone who tells you he/she really loves you and then tramples all over you doesn’t really love you. At least not in a way that’s useful to you.

  • If your boy/girlfriend sits you down one day and says, “I’m not good enough for you,” don’t argue. He/she is right. Don’t prolong it.


Look out for yourself. Nobody else is going to look out for you. I don’t mean step on your coworkers, I mean make sure you get what is coming to you.

Everything that exists in this world was done by people. Just like you.

Make sure you have what you NEED before getting what you WANT.

Life is made up of three things: money, possessions and people. Money is all alike, possessions are 99.99% replaceable, but people are unique.

Never have a relationship with the idea you can “change” the person. People change when they want to change, not for your convenience.

The world and other people are not here for your convenience. Never treat them like they are.

If what you say you will do, what you actually do, and what you said you did are all the same, you have a lot less to remember. If anyone obeyed this rule, the world would run a lot smoother.

  1. You do not need expensive cheese, bread or milk. But pay an extra dollar or two for washing powder, shampoo and pasta sauce. Trust me, it’s worth it.*

  2. Talk to your friends. Bottling up emotions isn’t helpful in the long run.

  3. It doesn’t hurt to be polite. Don’t be a doormat, but don’t be rude, either.
    *I’m poor and flatting. Luxury is a loaf of Vogels

Never sacrifice your time with people, especially children, for your job. You can get another job.

Employers exist for one reason – to make money. This is fine, but do not ever think they will act in your interest unless it advances that primary goal.

Don’t work on a problem for more than at most 8 hours. After that you’ll just keep making the same mistakes over and over. Stop. Sleep. After that you’ll solve it in a fraction of the time.

Don’t impose drastic punishments on children until you’ve thought about it a good long time.

We’re not supposed to constantly drink sugar water. Go without soda, “fruit” drinks and sweetened tea.

Vegetables can actually taste good if you find the kind YOU like prepared the way YOU like.

Your opinon of the opposite sex will change drastically between the ages of eight and thirteen. Treating the girls in your neighborhood and school nicely will have unimaginable benefits five years later.

Get a job. And not just one-shot lawn mowing and leaf raking jobs either. Get a steady job, even if it’s only one hour a Saturday at first. And don’t spend the money on candy and gum. In two months you can buy something worth getting you’d never have otherwise.

Someday, you will actually wish you had the time to learn more about history, religion and mathematics. Don’t waste those six years of high school.

The secret to getting your kite to stay in the air is to make sure it has a long enough tail, even if it’s not “supposed” to need one.

Put all the bolts in and the washers and nuts on; THEN tighten the nuts.

Don’t use too much glue- a little dab is usually enough. Let the parts you’ve glued together dry first before further assembly.

[li]Freedom, afterall, is living with the consequences of our decisions. (Jefferson)[/li][li]When you stop learning, you stop growing. [/li][li]Never be afraid to ask a question, but be damn sure you are ready for the answer.[/li][li]If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.[/li][li]If you can’t laugh while everything is collapsing around you, then you truly do not understand the seriousness of the situation.[/li][li] People change not because they see the light, but because they feel the heat.[/li][li] Everybody makes mistakes. All flowers need manure.[/li][/ul]

You are allowed to have your own opinions. You are not allowed to have your own facts.

If you have a right to live your own life the way you want to, you have to allow other people that right. “As long as you stay out of my boudoir, I don’t give a fck who you’re fcking.”

When people try to share their life experiences and share the life lessons they wish they’d learned sooner, sit up and pay attention instead of just nodding and saying “yes, mom, I know” while watching television.

When you write code, comment such that if you suddenly got amnesia, you could pick up where you left off.

When you write code, use source control.

People who appear ugly, sad, annoying, obnoxious, stupid or not like you can be really great when you get to know them.

But some people just aren’t worth it.

Make friends with your parents if possible.

Be civil to rotten people. It confuses them, and they’ll often forget to be nasty to you.

When you are young and can’t imagine ever retiring, that’s the best time to invest for your retirement. $100 this year will be worth a lot more than $100 when you’re 43.

If you think you are boring, and nobody would want to talk to you, you could be wrong.

Proving yourself right is highly overrated, and it’s not worth pissing off your friends. I still forget this one sometimes. :smack:

Give to charity, even if you’re not rich. It’s simply the right thing to do.

Lessons I learned while in graduate school. Some of them I learned through first-hand experience. Others I learned by observation.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You know you don’t know what you’re doing, so why are you pretending otherwise? Don’t be too timid to knock on a committee member’s door and ask for advice. Shyness is a lousy excuse for mediocrity.

  2. Get a good statistics book and memorize it. Don’t be afraid of math because it’s not going away. Ever.

  3. Learn something besides what you’re “supposed” to learn. Be an expert in your field but not to the exclusion of other worthwhile information.

  4. Don’t judge people based on what universities they attended. Dumb people can graduate from ivy leagues. Smart people can graduate from no-name schools.

  5. Make friends with your lab mates. You will be the subject of many behind-your-back shit fests if you don’t. Plus, when you graduate everyone will throw you a party.

  6. Don’t start experiments that you don’t really care about. Don’t start experiments without doing all the background research first. Don’t start experiments without having all the right equipment. Don’t start experiments you know aren’t going to work.

  7. Don’t be the lab/office gossip.

  8. Don’t predict someone’s failure on their qualifying exam before you’ve taken yours. Karma is a bitch.

  9. Don’t make up data or plagarize term papers. The chances of you being found out aren’t as low as you think they are.

  10. Finally, back up all files. Do not rely on just a 3.5’’ floppy disk that will inevitably malfunction two weeks before your term paper in systematics is due.

Avoid debt like the plague.

Don’t get a credit card if you need one. Only get one if you have enough money that you DON’T need one.

Cut out all negative people in your life.

Be nice to everybody in high school. It’s no skin off your teeth to treat everyone like a human being, and you just never know when your kindness is keeping someone from going off the deep end.

Never go against your intuition. If someone seems “off” to you, they probably are.

Your friends deserve as much from you as your family does. Your friends choose to hang out with you. Your family’s stuck with you.

Always use liquid laundry detergent and don’t bother with the cheap stuff. Spring for the Tide, it’s the best on the market. Sometimes the name brand stuff really is the best.

Never loan money to friends or family. GIVE it to them, no strings attached, if you can afford it. If they pay you back anyway, good. If not, you still have the relationship.

People who are either rude to waiters in restaurants, mean to animals/kids, or bullies on the internet aren’t “just having a bad day.” They really are bad people.

Are you sure? I feel like I have no clue All of the Time. One of my most often uttered comments is “Just who authorized me to become an adult?”

That said, I do know a few things.

  1. You deserve Joy. Take it in everything possible.

  2. Figure out what you value most, then go after it. If you are most fulfilled by hearing your children laugh, don’t pursue a 80 hour work week. If you like the big bank account, don’t expect to get there by working at Wal- Mart.

  3. Focus on constant growth. Non growing things are already dying.