A Teen's Guide To Life
A Teen's Guide To Life
To all those who helped guide me home.
This one’s for you all skeptics!
Hey guys. I personally have just started reading self-help books and I feel that they have helped me a lot (which is kinda obvious at this point. I mean, why else would I be writing this book?) and I think it can help others, too, in living life the right way. Here we go!
Reason number 1 : They help bring us closer to “the answer”.
Isn’t finding “the answer” what most of us are striving for? Seriously though, I encourage you to stop here and go ahead and read my article: finding purpose of life so you can understand the gravity of my words.
Reason number 2: They help us develop phenomenal coping skills.
I know what you’re thinking : what a bunch of baloney.
See, it’s all a matter of knowledge. If you figure out (with the help of the books) how to respond to which situation in which way, then you will act in the right way and bingo : you are leading the life the way you are supposed to lead it and are able to cope with basically everything.
Reason number 3: You start being a good human being.
Now, hush. Let me finish. Look, if you know all the right ways of thinking, then you know that everybody has it just as bad as you. So you develop humanity and voila: you start being a good human being.
Reason number 4: You get to start living life to the fullest.
Since you are thinking in the right way, you are prioritizing the right things, and all of a sudden : you are living the ideal/dream life. What I mean by dream life is not the kind of life where you have to do no hard work or have to go through no adversities, but it means giving your best in all of life’s problems and as a result being subjected to a glowy kind of happiness. Now, it may seem like I am repeating the same points over and over again, and this is because all these things are the consequences of thinking in the right, positive way.
Reason number 5: You get to communicate more efficiently.
Your language improves, your communication skills get better, yada yada yada.
Basically, self-help books help develop the right kind of thinking and the right kind of thinking is what is the root cause of living the perfect, ideal sort of life.
CHAPTER 1: WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT LIFE, ANYWAY?
What is life? If you try googling it, you are gonna find yourself swarmed by weird, philosophical quotes with shady origins (cough quora cough) and I am not about to subject you to the same, so, chill out.
But, like, seriously, what is life?
Everybody has their own philosophy of life. I am willing to bet most of these philosophies are wrong aka negative. To know whether or not your philosophy is correct, you can perform a simple test: have you ever had a suicidal thought? Have you been able to dismiss said thought? Okay, seriously, though, in today’s day and age, who hasn’t had a suicidal thought? But what is uncommon is the ability to dismiss it with ease.
So, if your answer to my latter question was no, no worries. You are in the right place. Like, I can tell you the right approach to life. And that alone-I am willing to bet-will solve most of your problems.
Like I always say, self-help books can only get you so far. Like, they can help you get closer to the truth, but you have to work out the final clues and pieces for yourself to figure shit out.
So, here’s how it’s gonna go: I am gonna explain to you the right approach to living life, then, honestly, I dunno. I am going to wing it. So, we are going to figure this out together. The point of this book is to help you live your life to the fullest, because, honestly? We don’t know what’s in store for us after this, and we do know this: life is kind of full of happiness with some sprinkles of sadness. So at least we have some happiness!
So, now that we both agree that we need to utilize whatever we have- that’s life- to the fullest, we might as well get to it.
CHAPTER-2: THE POSITIVITY CRAP
Now, I am assuming that you guys, like me, need to know the logic behind everything, including this positivity-negativity stuff.
So, I am going to put a scientific explanation in here.
Those of you who seriously couldn’t care less- how dense are you? - can go ahead and skip this chapter.
We all know that everything in the world is made out of atoms and atoms possess electrons- which contain negative energy by convention- and protons- which contain positive energy. Now, it just so happens that the negative energy impacts us negatively and the positive energy impacts us positively. Now, electrons and protons are equal in number, but obviously there is some exchange of electrons which cause more negative energy to be associated with something. So, that’s the whole science behind negativity and positivity.
CHAPTER-3: BUT I CAN’T DO THIS SHIT!
Okay, guys, confession time: I wasn’t always this person who had things figured out so well that she was writing a self-help book. In fact, I was a hot mess. I had questions popping out of my head in no order whatsoever and whatever question it was, I would stash it away in one of my junk drawers in my brain ‘cause I was too afraid to deal with them and hide away behind the excuse that it wasn’t the right time to deal with them. And for a while, it worked pretty well. It took me a really long time to accept that my stubbornness and fear had become my biggest enemies. The questions started bothering me so much, that I was unable to do daily activities properly ‘cause I was too busy been traumatized by the immense amount of fear- fear that my questions had the negative answers- that life has no meaning, that we are all specks of dust floating around in space-all the stuff you can expect from an extremely negative person.
So, why am I telling you this? I am telling you this to let you know that if me – an extremely average- albeit, extremely cute- girl- can make a 360 degree turn and become this awesome specimen of humanity that I am, so can you!
And no worries if the questions above stated have granted you that weird feeling in your stomach- it’s actually quite normal. And, don’t worry about dealing with them questions on your own ‘cause by the time this book ends, all the statements would have been converted to positive ones
CHAPTER-4: THE COMFORTABLE TRUTH
So now that we have got all the trust issues sorted- either you weren’t ready to believe in yourself or you weren’t ready to believe in me- we can start.
So, we are gonna start with my version of Mark Manson’s The Uncomfortable Truth- I call it “The Comfortable Truth”.
The term “the uncomfortable truth” has been coined by the star blogger turned writer Mark Manson.
The Uncomfortable Truth is: One day, you and everyone you love will die. Beyond a small group of people for an extremely brief period of time, little of what you do or say will matter. Everything you think or do is but an elaborate avoidance of it. We are inconsequential cosmic dust, bumping and milling about on a tiny blue speck. We imagine our importance. We invent our purpose – we are nothing. *¹
Mark Manson has done a marvellous job in writing the book “Everything is Fucked: A book about Hope” but he is a human and humans make mistakes. So, what he did was explain the Uncomfortable Truth – for which I am extremely grateful – but he failed to provide the right way to actually deal with it so I am gonna type down the counter argument to each argument of the Uncomfortable Truth.
1. One day, you and everyone you love will die.
So, cherish the time you have for yourself and the time you have with your loved ones instead of wasting your time crying over this.
2. Beyond a small group of people for an extremely brief period of time, little of what you say or do will matter.
This teaches us to live our life fully while making sure you allow others to do the same coz they have as much right as you do. It also teaches us that we shouldn’t care what others think, excluding the people from our inner circle, who do care for a really long time. *²
3. Everything you think or do is but an elaborate avoidance of it.
Wrong way to think.
4. We are inconsequential cosmic dust bumping and milling about on a tiny blue speck.
How can we be inconsequential? Since we matter in our scale, and a thing, no matter how small, makes all the difference. Why would differentiation exist then?
5. We imagine our importance. We invent our purpose – we are nothing.
We don’t imagine our importance. It’s there. We don’t invent our purpose. For more on this, refer to my article, “Finding Purpose of Life” in the self-help section of my blog: asktheperfectionist.wordpress.com.
1. *¹ – see Mark Manson’s book “Everything is Fucked: A book about Hope”.
2. *² – the term “inner circle” was coined by Stephen Covey.
CHAPTER-5: DEALING WITH EXTREMELY STUPID THOUGHTS
This one’s for the self-harming thoughts.
Ask yourself this question next time you get what I call extremely irrational and stupid thoughts : do you think another human deserves such crap? What did he/she do to deserve/not deserve it? I know most of you are gonna say a firm “no” to the first question. But the second question must have gotten you thinking. GOTCHA!
Look, I think that nobody deserves death or self-harm or any bad thing happening to them, including you. I don’t care what you have done, how bad you have messed up, because you know what? You are still alive, you are still breathing and that means that you have got time- time to fix things- and by fix, I don’t mean “fix” fix, I mean, like, you have still got time to give it your best shot. So, go ahead and give it your best shot, because that’s what is most important in life. And now I know what you’re thinking, my pessimistic acquaintances, that doesn’t the end result and the end result alone matter in life? I can refute that claim by making a scientifically proven gambit: the only thing that matters in life is you, because you are the goddamn life. And you is your rational brain, and your rational brain can be happy through only one way: BY GIVING YOUR DAMNED BEST.
Now, even if you feel like you deserve pain, then be a dear and don’t be the provider of it ‘cause, sweetheart, the world’s gonna make sure you pay penance of your crimes. Also, if you are not on your team, then who is?
CHAPTER-6: WHO CARES WHAT OTHERS THINK? YOU DO.
Don’t you try and deny it. I know you do. But, hey, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s only human nature to care about what others think. But, hey, what are we called the smartest animals for? We figured out a way to beat this irrational thinking through a scientifically thought out way: we all are toast. Nothing- and I mean nothing- in this world is permanent.
I know I mentioned this in chapter 4, but I felt like this topic needed a separate chapter. After all, so many of our decisions are influenced by people.
But, hey, don’t take the wrong meaning out of this: people outside your inner circle aren’t fair game for killing or whatever weird scheme you are baking in your mind right now. Everybody-including you- deserves to live their lives to the fullest so it’s one’s duty to ensure that we are not obstacles in others’ paths.
And it also doesn’t mean you screw society’s laws and stuff ‘cause they are there for a reason. They are scientifically thought out plans made by geniuses to ensure everybody’s happiness, so it’s vital to follow them.
So, basically, do whatever the hell you want to do, as long as it doesn’t disturb the others.
CHAPTER-7: INTROVERT? OR EXTROVERT?
Okay, so this is one of the most debated topics of all time.
Look, humans are social animals and they were always known to hunt in groups. We have been wired to make friends. We were just not made to be introverts. Do I need to say more?
It’s no surprise that researchers have found introverts are more prone to depression compared to extroverts.
Now, before the introverts start crying, I have a solution: we are wired to change and we can simply wire ourselves to be an extrovert. Of course, the process is anything but simple, but, hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Now, here’s the process: choose a time of the day to stand in front of a mirror and state confidently “I am an extrovert” *3. And, this one’s a cliché (bear with me)- try to make as much interactions with people as possible. Try to get to the bottom of the problem: why do you not like hanging with people? Is it ‘cause you are afraid of being vulnerable, or ‘cause you think people suck, or you think “that’s just how you are”? Start dealing with them issues, people! I have faith in you! You know why? Science.
*3- for proof of this, refer to the book, “You are the placebo by Joe Dispenza.
CHAPTER-8: I BELIEVE YA PAL, BUT I WANNA FIND PURPOSE OF LIFE ON MY OWN
Have you ever found yourself wondering what is the meaning of life? Even if you haven’t, now you are. Fact of the matter is, many suicides can be traced back to a sense of helplessness that their life holds no meaning.
Let’s cross check the truthfulness of this helplessness feeling from a logical viewpoint, rather than applying religious reasons, or adhering to vague reasons like “life’s special!”. Why is life special? What makes it so special? Is it the metaphorical rollercoasters of life that make it awesome?
Well, the truth is, yes, the metaphorical rollercoasters are what make life special. Even the Dalai Lama agrees.
But, if you still don’t want to accept it, Dr Frankl, has declared that there are 3 ways through which a person can find the purpose of life*4: -
1. By creating a work or doing a deed i.e. by achieving something
2. By experiencing something or encountering someone
3. By the attitude we take towards unavoidable suffering.
Now, some of you may be content with the way things are going, and are not really anxious coz you don’t know the exact purpose of you being born. For you guys, I would like to quote Nietzche: “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” See, if you want to survive any difficulty, including the extreme conditions of a concentration camp, you need to equip yourself with something solid that you can fall back on later. This “something solid” is the reason of why you want to live, heck, why you need to live.
*4 – for more on this, refer to “man’s search for meaning” by Dr Frankl.
CHAPTER-9: THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TO TAKE TOWARDS UNAVOIDABLE SUFFERING
Suffering is unavoidable and we need to accept that.
Some suffering has meaning, for example, cramming for an exam will result in a good score in the test. Basically, all kinds of suffering has meaning, unless it ends in your demise. As the famous saying goes, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. To that saying I would like to add mentally or physically before “stronger”.
It’s best not to think about the suffering that has no meaning, the kind which people who were gassed up in concentration camps, the people who were paralyzed just before their death, etc. experienced for the simple reason that there is no point wasting energy in the negative, is there?
And it’s a good idea to avoid suffering which is self-inflicted. That kind of suffering is also unnecessary.
In life, we experience meaningful sufferings only, excluding the last suffering of life. But we have decided to ignore the last suffering, coz we agreed to focus on the positive. So, we can say that all suffering has meaning.
Now, you might be wondering, how can all suffering have meaning? Was the suffering that the people at concentration camp underwent meaningful? Yes. Now before you start throwing rocks at me and calling me a sick, sick, sicko, Victor Frankl himself stated in his book Man’s search for meaning that for those who survived the camps, it had immense meaning coz now their life felt more meaningful.
So, be prepared to endure the suffering, coz it’s always worth it. It’s worth it coz the happiness part more than makes up for it.
Don’t get me wrong. Life is not all about suffering. Life is an endless cycle of suffering and then happiness. After all, everything has a price, so why won’t happiness have one?
Remember, focus on the happiness part, not the suffering part.
Plus, things would be pretty dull if there were no ups and downs in life, wouldn’t they?
CHAPTER-10: FASHION ADVICES!
1. Wear whatever you like. It's in if you say it's in.
You might be thinking, what the fork? Let me clear things up for you: who sets up trends? People. Who are you? People. So, who sets the trend? You. So, who's gonna go strut their stuff? That was a rhetorical question. The answer was you. It's you.
2. Take inspiration from everywhere, including your uncle Ned.
Use the films, tv shows etc that you watch for inspiration, if you need any. For example, I always refer to Rachel in Friends and Lara Jean in To All The Boys I Have Loved Before, among others, for all my fashion crises.
3. It doesn't always have to match.
Wearing your blue watch with your blue dress and your blue bag sure is fun, but, shaking things up is important, too. That means match stuff using the VIBGYOR theory (patent pended)! Match your stuff while making sure you're following the VIBGYOR order of colours, that is, no wearing green top with pink pants.
There you have it: 3 fashion advices to live by! Go, my acquaintances, go live your life!
CHAPTER-11: DECIDING WHAT TO STUDY
Okay, so deciding on a major is, like, seriously hard.
But through these simple steps, you can figure out how to deal with the all-consuming confusion.
Let’s get some things straight first: you can do anything. I mean it. Anybody can do anything. Look, I can even prove it: same aged people are made to sit in one class, because their level of understanding, i.e., IQ, is more or less the same. However, there are some exceptions, like Albert Einstein. So, my point is, all of us can choose any subject we like and be assured that we are just as likely to succeed in the subject as the rest of the people.
Here’s another fact: you will like the subject you understand. And since we have equivalent IQs, it’s safe to say that one will like all the subjects there are.
In such a case, what should you choose? You should choose what you like the most.
If you have trouble figuring that out, don’t worry! Some people are unable to figure out their passion even at age of 100 or something. Even I am one of those people who are still looking for their passion. Here’s what you should do in case you are unable to figure shit out: find the subject that when you are studying it, you don’t notice the time flying by. If you have found multiple such subjects, then just choose one randomly and stick to it ferociously until you find your true passion.
CHAPTER-13: DRUGS AND DRINKING?
Now, many kids do this shit ‘cause of peer pressure shit. But I think we have ruled that possibility out.
Seriously though, should one do it?
Well, no. I feel that you don’t need drugs and alcohol to achieve the highs. You can achieve them on your own just fine.
And I am not trying to throw shade at alcohol drinkers. I am just expressing my opinion- rest is upto you.
And when it gets to drugs, I have no idea why a sane person would willingly put poison in their body.
CHAPTER-12: NOT EVERYBODY CAN BE EINSTEIN AND THAT’S OKAY
Now, before you go dump this book in order to find a corner to bawl your eyes out, hear me out!
Every one is granted a different life. Some people’s life is full of materialist shit, while one is-you know- not. Be glad you were granted a life at all.
Also, technically, the average joe lives the best life there is because he has the correct balance of money and time.
Like, for example, extremely rich people have money, but no time while extremely poor people have time, but no money. Sometimes the poor souls don’t even have time!
So, be glad you are what you are.
CHAPTER 13: DEALING WITH OLD AGE AND WORRYING ABOUT HOPELESS SITUATIONS
All of us are one day gonna grow old. Now, instead of getting depressed over it, you should celebrate what time you have. Like, I cannot stress this enough: you only live once!
Now, let’s talk about the right approach to thinking about old age: Dr Frankl states in his book, “man’s search for meaning” that old people should actually be objects of envy for they have fulfilled their goals and lived their lives to the fullest, unlike the young, who are plagued by the woes of uncertainty.
Now, let’s get to the hopeless situations pickle. My advice? Don’t waste your precious time worrying about hopeless situations. They are called hopeless for a reason.
And be very careful as to what you call a hopeless situation. It’s never a hopeless situation as long as you’re alive. You just need some out of the box thinking. Like, some people consider failure as the end of the world as they know it, but that’s crazy! Hopefully you get me.
So, live your lives to the fullest and be happy. Until next time!