45 bits of unsolicited advice

Some time ago I read 68 bits of unsolicited advice from Kevin Kelly, and decided I would write one for my birthday. I started in May, then life happened, lots of life happened, and my birthday was a few days ago and I did not really feel like I had much advice to give.
After talking with a friend, I decided to look for my old notes: I can agree with almost everything. It is nice to look back at something you wrote and go “yeah, that’s sounds right”.
So, here are my 45 bits of unsolicited advice. I added a couple from last few months, but that’s it.

  1. Spend some time dedicating yourself to something you really like AND aren’t good at. Join the communities, even try to make a living. Notice what you need to do for people to accept, even like you, when you are not very good
  2. Spend time traveling: live both as cheaply as you can, and in places that are very different, where you do not understand the language, and the culture
  3. Live abroad more than 3 months in a row
  4. Good communication is a skill that can be learned, and that is worth learning
  5. Help other by default, then learn to recognize the signs of when you should not
  6. Listen to people. Ask open ended questions. “Anything on your mind?” and “is there anything more?” work wonders
  7. Other people really exist
  8. Your identity (your “self” if you want) is both more fluid than you think/feel, and less adaptable than you will sometimes wish
  9. Good thinking is a skill that can be improved
  10. Be with people that push yourself to be your better self
  11. Show up
  12. Cultivate good habits. Notice good habits in others, tell them, ask them, try them for yourself
  13. Try to fill your life with activities that you both like doing and are worth doing
  14. Cultivate gratitude and a sense of wonder: be the person that goes “wow, this is great” and “thank you”
  15. Be as honest and open as you can. If there is something you feel you cannot be honest about, enquire with curiosity: something is not aligned there. You either do not agree with the people that surround you and that could find out, or what you are doing is not something you are proud of. In any case, if you can, something should change
  16. Start from the golden rule, then adapt as you learn the differences
  17. Learn about your sleeping habits: discover whatever you need to sleep well. It’s worth it
  18. Learn to be pretty OK with almost nothing. Then add only what is better than “I am OK with nothing”
  19. You and your mind will be together for a long time: find ways to be at peace with it. Meditation and meditation retreats are a possible starting point.
  20. Self compassion and self acceptance won’t make you weak
  21. Find the kind of movement you like and enjoy, then got for it. “I cannot believe this is so fun and it is good for me” is what you are aiming for
  22. Spend time in nature
  23. Learn to hug, touch, be touched
  24. Discover how to listen to your guts
  25. Get good at thinking, get good at noticing emotions, and get good at thinking starting from what you feel
  26. Some parts of your past, some models you had are either toxic, or not useful anymore: learn to identify that, and work on it. It will never be perfect, but it will be better
  27. Be around people you admire, that make you go “I cannot believe these people want me around”. Work hard so that they sometimes admire you
  28. Active listening is a superpower
  29. Therapy can also be useful for the kind of people that go “I don’t need therapy, there is nothing wrong with me”. Possibly above all for them
  30. Teaching and sharing what you know are great ways to meet people
  31. You can teach when you barely know something: after 3 months you are learning something, you can often help a complete beginner more than a master that has been doing it for 30 years
  32. Learn playful ways to ask for consent
  33. Surround yourself with people that will make you say “stop asking for consent, I trust you”
  34. You have limits and boundaries. Learn about them, and share them: they do not make you weak, they make you more trustworthy
  35. Sometimes everything falls apart, and everything you thought you were and needed is gone. If you are still there experiencing it, even if in pain, remember you were not those things, because they are gone and you are not
  36. Facilitating, managing, and allowing groups to run smoothly are useful skills, that can be learned. They are harder than it looks, because a good facilitator is like a taoist master: they seem to do nothing, and yet things are better because they are there. You miss them when they are not there
  37. Expose yourself to healthy relationships, and learn to be part of one
  38. Express admiration for the people you like, enjoy, admire
  39. Cultivate some skills that can pay your bills. Find an overlap between “I am good at this”, “I like doing this”, and “people will pay money for this”. Bonus points if you can add “this is good for the world”
  40. If you have something worth sharing, you will have to do some marketing. Don’t think it is about you: you do it for the people that could gain from what you are sharing
  41. Discover what kind of relationships you love and thrive in. Do not exclude what you learned from society, but do not exclude it could be something different. Get better at it. Find other people that want the same
  42. You are your most important tool. Get better at being yourself. Take good care of yourself. And use yourself to help others
  43. Plans are for getting started: consider them as excuses to get moving, not as something to be fixated on at the exclusion of everything else. Prepare to be unprepared: life happens, sometimes world changing pandemics, sometimes just the weather
  44. Creating and solving problems together is a great way to develop friendships as adults
  45. You are at times at your best, and wise, and sometimes lost. Share freely when you are your wise self, and have people be wise for you when you are lost. Trust your past wisdom when when you cannot feel it inside you, and feel like a fraud

Bonus one just for myself: learn the difference between sometime and sometimes.

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