1. Self-determination

The choice is not whether or not to go, but the route to take and where to stop along the way.

Most gains are not attained without a comparable amount of effort.

While it is possible to avoid or ignore a problem, a problem unsolved continues to exist. Apply this strategy too much, and when it becomes necessary to face facts, they are overwhelming. It is thus usually better to deal with problems earlier and steadily, when they are simpler and fewer.

Social pressure: a feedback mechanism that that tells us we can best express our individuality by conforming to the way everyone else behaves.

Language and finding the right word to describe yourself is for communicating with others. But words will always be an approximation, because a single word is always general-purpose to multiple users, and never fits exactly an individual’s nuances. Chosen words should follow from who you are, but beware—it’s easy to let the reverse happen, and once you’ve chosen a word to then try to conform its meaningr, so as we grow and evolve the words that we once chose can become inaccurate, misleading, and/or confining.

2. Problems & Difficulties

Everything is easy—until you find out how hard it is. Usually that’s when you try to do it.

Corollary: It’s always easy for a thing to be done, when doing it is someone else’s job.

Corollary: Everyone else’s job seems easier than yours, until you try them.

If the problem was simple, it would have been fixed already. Since it’s not fixed, it’s not a simple problem.

Those that have not done something but think they know how, often underestimate its difficulty because they don’t know the subtleties and nuances. Consequently they underestimate the value of whatever is produced.

That things go wrong is not important; things go wrong for everybody all the time. How you handle difficulties is what matters.

The problem with rushing is that it almost always takes longer than the methodical approach.

3. Fixing Things

If it takes longer to notify the responsible party to address something than do it yourself, just fix it.

If you want to fix something that’s someone else’s job, tell them that unless they object by a deadline, you’re going to fix it. Then, when they don’t object, fix it. If they complain—they had their chance.

It’s often better to fix deteriorating things proactively, before they are damaged by failing completely.

Wisdom is knowing when to fix something proactively, when to leave it alone, and when to stop investing and buy something new.

If something breaks and you don’t know how to fix it, but it’s not worth having it repaired, then you might as well try to repair it yourself. If you manage to fix it, you’ve saved money. If you break it, you’re no worse off and you gain knowledge of how it’s built and how it works—meaning you will be better equipped to choose a replacement. And, you gain skill toward fixing the next one when it wears out.

4. Finances

Beware credit.

5. Finding things

When you can’t find something, rather than looking for it, start tidying up and putting things away. This locates the missing item surprisingly effectively, byfixing the problem preventing it being found easily. And you get a tidier house.

6. Household chores

Cleaning the kitchen is best done earlier, before food dries and sets hard.

7. Proof & Arguments

Disproving one thing does not prove the validity of a different thing.

Corollary: My being wrong does not necessarily make you right, nor does you being wrong necessarily make me right.

8. Understanding people

Although many people may be doing the same thing, their motivations probably vary.

Often, there is a complexity of reasons of varying importance for why people do what they do. However, when you ask, they only tell you the one or two major motivations—and even those are often warped in favor of “popular” social answers, that aren’t really accurate to the individual without a deeper discussion.

Social conventions: a haphazard set of defacto behavioral expectations which nobody will list or explain for you, which defy analysis, and yet will be used to judge your worthiness for friendships, determine whether you are welcomed into or shunned from group activities, and choose veneration or persecution based on your level of compliance.

9. Religion

Christianity: a cult that by virtue of incumbency evades examination.

10. A variation on the fishing proverb

It is said, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

But what if the man doesn’t want to learn, or simply won’t do it? You can try a few times to show him, then explain and harp on him about its importance, but you can’t keep catching him fish everyday without sacrificing your own needs and opportunities.

Although it’s uncomfortable, what else can one do but let him starve so he will realize the importance of feeding himself?

He may say you are unloving because you are unwilling to bring him fish any longer, but is that true? He may cry and wail about his hunger to others, and how he is starving because he is despised. And those others may also feed him, and try demonstrating how to fish. But others similarly can’t go on indefinitely.

And eventually the day arrives where everybody has realized his hunger is his own fault, and all watch in pain as he either starves, or finally is forced to take responsibility and start feeding himself.

We all have our bad days, and I think it’s good to be there for friends during their hard times: if a friend broke an arm, supplying them fish until their arm was healed. But helping with every trivial problem is not the same; at some point, our happiness is our own responsibility, not something others have to provide us.

Some friendships are worth keeping, others better let go. It feels bad cutting someone loose, but being a permanent emotional crutch imposes on and drains one’s own happiness in time. For both to grow, sometimes, one needs to be left to their own problems, even when that means pain or sorrow.

I find this parable describes how I’m separating friendships worth keeping and friendships that are better to let go. I still feel bad cutting someone loose, but I can’t be someone’s permanent emotional crutch without it imposing on my happiness either. For both of us to grow, I need to let them starve.

We all have our bad days, and I try to be there for friends going through a hard time. If a friend broke an arm, I’d do what I could to supply them fish until their arm was healed. But at some point, our happiness is our own fault, not something others have to provide us.