103 bits of advice

I'm not usually a fan of bulleted blog posts dispensing koans with the intention of helping you squeeze the juice out of life. A lot of the time (like 95%-plus), these are just limp bids for Thought Leader stardom—with such bland and directionless highlights as "clean your room" that are meant to veil and gesture towards deeper truth without actually paying off. Half of people who re-share lists like this just approve of the writer's outlook and want to pat themselves on the back for already following the advice; the other half want to improve their lives but don't know what an improved life actually looks like, for them.

This one, from Kevin Kelly (one of the founders of Wired) isn't so bad. There are a few items in here that feel a little obvious ("make stuff that is good for people to have") or hand-wavey and inactionable ("dont [sic] bother fighting the old; just build the new"), but a lot of good ones.

One thing I like to do when reading these silly things is try to figure out what qualities the author wants to cultivate more of in the world. Kelly's ideal world is un-precious ("buy used books") and un-self-interested ("no one is as impressed with your possessions as you are"), full of deliberate people ("let your words pass through three gates") who marvel at beauty ("the chief prevention against getting old is to remain astonished") and take time to reflect on the things that bring them joy ("throw out things in your life that dont spark joy").

103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known, The Technium by Kevin Kelly



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