Don't Die Unhappy - learn these 9 life lessons | Tim Minchin

Transcript:

I’m not an inspirational speaker. I’ve never lost a limb on a mountainside, metaphorically or otherwise. I’m certainly not here to give career advice, ’cause, well, I’ve never really had what most would consider a job. However, I have had large groups of people listening to what I say for quite a few years now, and it’s given me an inflated sense of self-importance. I will now, at the ripe old age of 37.9, bestow upon you nine life lessons. One. You don’t have to have a dream. Americans on talent shows always talk about their dreams. Fine, if you have something you’ve always wanted to do, dreamed of in your heart, go for it. After all, it’s something to do with your time, chasing a dream. If it’s a big enough one, it’ll take you most of your life to achieve, so by the time you get to it and are staring into the abyss of the meaninglessness of your achievement, you’ll be almost dead so it won’t matter. I never really had one of these dreams. I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you. You never know where you might end up. Just be aware the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery, which is why you should 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. Two. 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 might find you get some as a side effect. We didn’t evolve to be constantly content. Contented homo erectus got eaten before passing on their genes. Three. Remember, it’s all luck. You are lucky to be here. You are incalculably lucky to be born. Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures, will humble you and make you more compassionate. Empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on intellectually. Four. Exercise. I’m sorry, you pasty, pale, smoking philosophy grads, arching your eyebrows into a Cartesian curve as you watch the human movement mob winding their way through the miniature traffic cones of their existence. You are wrong and they are right. Well, you’re half right. You think, therefore you are, but also you jog, therefore you sleep, therefore you’re not overwhelmed by existential angst. You can’t be Kant, and you don’t want to be. Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run, whatever, but 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 not have dreamed of. This long, luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed. Five. Be hard on your opinions. A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like assholes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this, but I would add that opinions differ significantly from assholes in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined. We must think critically and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the veranda and hit them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privileges. Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies and then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions, like two tennis players trying to win a match by hitting beautifully executed shots from either end of separate tennis courts......

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    Science adjusts its views based on what's observedFaith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved

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    I am no nihilist. I am not even a cynic. I am, actually, rather romantic. And here’s my idea of romance: You will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, god, it’s tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you’ll beold. And then you’ll be dead

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    Arts degrees are awesome. And they help you find meaning where there is none. And let me assure you, there is none. Don’t go looking for it. Searching for meaning is like searching for a rhyme scheme in a cookbook: you won’t find it and you’ll bugger up your soufflé

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    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 might find you get some as a side effect. We didn’t evolve to be constantly content. Contented Australopithecus Afarensis got eaten before passing on their genes

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