16 Things (I hope to pass on to my kids)...

This one is for my girls: The following is a short (and incomprehensive) list of thoughts and ideas that I hope I am passing on to them (It's hard to tell, once you're in the trenches).  They are all based on my own personal experiences, and are listed in no particular order:

Note, I consider these above and beyond the usual things like being financially responsible, and looking both ways before crossing the street, etc...

Follow what you love. It will naturally balance out the rough parts through life, and could give you a head-start in your education and career.
[
Steve Jobs 'Find What You Love']

Accept and embrace reality, the good and the bad. Practice thinking about experiences from a neutral perspective. Question your own assertions, consider the opposing perspective, learn about and avoid
confirmation bias, as well as the other cognitive biases in human nature. 
[
Critical Thinking]
[
List of Cognitive Biases]

Let nature humble you. Appreciate the grandeur in storms and mountains.
[
Powers of 10]

Learn how you learn, and exploit it as early in life as possible.
[
The 3 Types of Learners]

"Why?" is the 2nd most beautiful question you can ask. Understanding causality in the behavior of others, yourself, and of everything around you leads to a fundamental understanding of  the world that pays big returns throughout your life.
[
Richard Hamming 'You And Your Research']

"How?" is the most beautiful question you can ask.  Complex systems are all around us, like the weather, our economy, the internet, the language we speak, and the cells in our body.  These systems are much greater than the sum of the parts they're composed of.  Try to think about the fundamental parts, and appreciate the beauty in emergence and synchronicity.
[
Emergence 1 of 2], [Emergence 2 of 2]
[Scale Free Network Images]

Accept and embrace your imperfections and shortcomings. Work to improve or eliminate them, but never pity yourself for them.
[
Self Actualization]

Don't judge others. Appreciate the imperfections and shortcomings of others, as well as your own. Remember that the things that guide them: their circumstances, experiences, physiology, and beliefs are very different than yours.
[
ZenHabits: 'A Simple Method to Avoid Being Judgmental']

Don't be manipulated or controlled. Marketing is the science of manipulating you, from billboards, commercials, to all other forms of advertising. There are people that are very good at controlling the actions of others for their own benefit. The earlier you learn to recognize these people and circumstances, the sooner you will be truly independent.
[
pickthebrain.com: 5 Ways to Develop Independent Thought]

Help people. If you see someone in distress, help them as if they were your child or loved one. 
[
World Vision Amazon.co.uk]

Always be improving. Your result is a success or a lesson, but never a failure. Remember your lessons as stories that you can share with others. These stories hold more value, and are more humbling than those of your successes.
[
Lifelong Learning]

Get out of your comfort zone. Read a difficult book. Listen to different styles of music. Learn to cook a different kind of food. Speak to a group of people.  Jump at opportunities, regardless of how far fetched they seem. 
[
Evolving Times: '51 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone]

Contribute. Join or start a community. Volunteer your skills and time somewhere.
[GiveCamp.org]

Don't be weakened by regret and guilt. These two emotions can wreak havoc on your mind. Learn from your experiences then put them behind you, learn to accept that "it is what it is." You have control over the present as long as you are paying attention to it.

Labels are full of assumptions. 'Republican', 'bi-polar', 'organic', 'nerd/prep/jock'... Labels are shortcuts. They are used as a way to organize things and identify patterns.  They increase the amount of information in language, but they also introduce assumptions that go with them. Be aware that labels are only generalizations, and that the implications that go with them may not be true.

Be conservative in what you send, but liberal in what you receive. Let people mis-speak, consider their intent before you assume the worst about their choice in words. Help them out of the hole they're digging. Conversely, there are a lot of sensitive people out there... think carefully before opening your mouth.  This principle provides recognized and celebrated benefits in technology, and it holds the same value when applied to people.
[Postel's Robustness Principle]

Print | posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009 12:30 AM

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