Life Is Hard and Other Non Trivial Truisms

If life is what we make it, I’m going to need more duct tape. – Nathan

I love a well-written “25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years” post.

In them, some brave soul attempts to distill a lifetime of experience into a curated list of lessons.

It’s a daunting task if you consider the experiences themselves count for only a fraction of what people take from life. There’s the entirety of their inner thoughts and emotions to consider. All the connections and meaning a person attributes to their interactions. Even if they find a way to synthesize and communicate these thoughts in a succinct way, it’s usually not enough to make a person stop and think, and even more rare for them to believe and take action.

Because single thoughts rarely impress us past grade school. What started as deep insights turned into tired clichés. And clichés make us believe we still know things we’ve forgotten. We hear a cliché, something we used to know, and brush it off because it doesn’t seem new or valuable anymore.

But true insights cut away the meaninglessness that’s grown on top of an important idea, revealing the value underneath. And sometimes this understanding, or reminder, can change everything.

The trick is knowing which insights are still sharp enough to get the job done. One woman’s trash is another man’s gold and what not. So sift through these little nuggets I’ve collected. Maybe you’ll be reminded of something you used to know.

I take no authorship of these thoughts. Like anything worth a damn, I paraphrased, misquoted and outright stole them in my quest for rhyme and reason.

For best results, pause to add thinking to each before continuing on.

1. There are two reasons why people don’t talk about things; either it doesn’t mean anything to them, or it means everything.

2. The biggest obstacle to the next great thing is the last great thing.

3. You either get better or you get worse; you never stay the same.

4. Day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.

5. We don’t see the world as it is. We see the world as we are.

6. If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.

7. So often travel elongates the conversation, not broadens it.

8. The people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.

9. Even disasters that strike those we are closest to only reach us filtered through our own colossal egotism.

10. Words are only symbols for the things they represent, often making the unreal seem real.

11. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

12. And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

13. We find our strength deep in the valley of our fears.

14. Discipline is remembering what you want.

15. You are not your thoughts.