28 important reminders to myself or someone like me

  1. You can learn what you need to learn when you need to learn it.
  2. Nothing is wasted.
  3. You can’t go backward.
  4. You do not want to do all the things. You want to do some of the things. You want to do them so bad, in fact, that they scare the shit out of you, so you avoid doing them by trying to do all the other things. This is called procrastination and it’s a waste of your time. Go ahead and fail at the things you really want to do. You’ll learn how to do them better, next time around. See #2.
  5. It’s okay to quit trying so hard. In fact, it’s probably better.
  6. What you think you want is probably just a disguise. Ask it some tough questions.
  7. You’d rather spend a little more time and effort on something you enjoy than get more results faster on something you don’t enjoy. Because the process is the outcome and if you like the outcome of a particular process, then once you have the outcome you’ll be locked into that process. Exceptions are possible, or you can buy your way out at a certain outcome point, but that tends to be a trap.
  8. Ownership, like all open-ended commitments, tends to be a trap.
  9. 90% of your email is unimportant. You can let it go, let it build to a mega pile in your inbox, and nothing in your life will change in any significant way. (And if the email you’re missing doesn’t have any measurable effect on your life – negative or positive – why are you giving it any time or attention in the first place?)
  10. More people care about you than you realize. And they’re willing to do things – extraordinary things – to help you and support you when you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t hide behind your barriers of privacy or independence or self-sufficiency. None of us are self-sufficient. Autonomy is a lie. We depend on each other, we create communities, and those communities sustain us… Or, if we refuse to take part in them, we wither, slowly but surely. Don’t try to be a lone wolf, don’t pretend that you always have to be the hero. Those are self-defensive reactions built on fear and ego mythology. Let ‘em go. Say, “I could use some help, and here’s how.” See what happens.
  11. 80% of the stuff you spend time on isn’t important. If you only had electricity for two hours a day, how would you use that time? If you could only access the Internet once or twice a week, what would you do? The few things that pop up as your top priorities – the items you would accomplish in your limited accessibility – that’s your 20%. That’s your Most Important Things list. That’s what you pay attention to, that’s what you give time to, and you let the rest slide off. It’s a distraction.
  12. You tend to overestimate yourself in some areas and underestimate yourself in others. It’s difficult to get a good, objective view of what you’re capable of. That’s okay. Go ahead and try whatever it is you want to try. Be open to your own potential. Maybe you can do more than you think. Maybe you need more help than you think. Maybe both.
  13. There’s enough time in each day for the work of each day, if you don’t pressure yourself into trying to do things that seem important but aren’t, really.
  14. You regret wasting time on many pointless things, but you never regret spending time on a book.
  15. You only need to know the next step.
  16. When you find a notebook you like, buy multiples. Also pens.
  17. You can step out of roles, obligations, or commitments that don’t work for you. Very few things are meant to last forever. Maybe you’ve already passed a good endpoint and you didn’t recognize it, and that’s why you’re so tired now.
  18. What’s in your head matters more than anything else.
  19. Getting up early is good.
  20. Solitude is important. Get some everyday. You’re cranky if you don’t.
  21. Going for a walk is good. Take a walk everyday.
  22. Your brain works a lot better when you free it from distractions and short-term urgencies. (News, internet, social media, dinging emails, phone calls and text messages, now now now now now items flooding in. Control the inputs.)
  23. Physical chores and activities are a natural counterpoint to the mental work you do. You need both for a well-balanced mind and body.
  24. A good rule for eating is a) mostly fruits and vegetables with b) some protein and good fats and c) a little grain (whole grain, not processed).
  25. If you want something sweet, drink a couple glasses of water first and see if you still want it. Sometimes what you’re craving isn’t what you’re really craving.
  26. You don’t have to force yourself into anything. Say no. Say not now. Say never. Say let me think about it. Say no thanks. Wait until you’re sure.
  27. Without fail, what you ask for will show up for you. You may not recognize it. It might come in a weird, unexpected way. Try to be open.
  28. Every possible scenario in this growth of life is good and acceptable and beautiful. There is no wrong way to go about it. Judge not anyone you encounter, but most of all, judge not yourself. You are doing fine.