Nine life lessons from Australia’s Tim Minchin

Tim Minchin is a highly regarded Australian musician, composer, songwriter, actor, comedian and writer.   I’d never heard of him until I came across this summary on the Inspired Acceptance web log of Minchin’s nine life lessons.  They are from an address he gave to the University of Western Australia in Queensland on receiving an honorary degree.

1.  You don’t have to have a dream.  Work on whatever is in front of you.  Be careful of long-term dreams.  If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out of 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.  Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy and you may get some as a side effect.

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

4.  Exercise.  Take care of your body, you’re going to need it.  Most of you Mob are going to live to nearly 100 and even the poorest of you will achieve a level of wealth that most humans throughout history could never dream of.  And this long, luxurious life of yours is going to make you depressed.  But don’t despair.  Tthere is an inverse correlation between exercise and depression. Run!

5.  Be hard on your opinions.  We must think critical and not just about the ideas of others.  Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out on the verandah and hit them with a cricket bat.  Be intellectually rigorous.

6.  Be a teacher.  Teachers and the most admirable and important people in the world.  Even if you’re not a teacher, be a teacher.  Share your ideas.  Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn and spray it.

7.  Define yourself by what you love.  We have a tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff. But try to also express your passion for things you love.  Be demonstrative in your praise of those you admire.  Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff

8.  Respect people with less power than you.  I don’t care if you’re the most powerful Cat in the room. I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful… So there!

9.  Don’t rush.  You don’t need to already know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.  Most people I know who were sure of their career path at 20 are now having mid-life crises.

Click on Tim Minchin – Occasional Address to read the full text.

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