For the thousandth time, I stopped today and thought,
"Wow! I have a great life!"
When I was young, I thought it would be really depressing to be old. I wouldn't be able to compete any more, I would be slower, wrinkled, guys wouldn't notice me ... all the good stuff in my life - dating, parties, being an athlete, it would all disappear and the only thing I was good at that would be left would be -- studying.
Don't laugh, I actually really thought that way.
Now I am old and I have discovered that with age comes perspective. The people that post nasty things in comments sections around the internet, it never bothers me, I just think,
I wonder how you have so little going on in your life that you post insults to people you have never met, never will meet and who laugh at you. How sad!
When something doesn't work - and everyone has proposals that don't get funded, tests on which they do poorly, tournaments they lose - I don't get stressed out about it.
I try my hardest to do my best and then, whatever happens, happens. I might sulk for a few minutes, or an hour or two, but then I pick myself up and try again.
Several years ago, I was at a company where the catch phrase was "At the end of the day ..."
As in, when you add it all up, have you been a success or a failure?
I found this rather silly because, at the end of the day, there's another day. That's how time works. Several people have asked me for advice lately on various topics, so, for them and anyone else who is interested :
1. At the end of the day, there's another day. Don't rest on your laurels or cry over spilled milk. Every new day is a gift from God (or the universe, if your beliefs tend that way). You get to start anew. That is wonderful.
2. Success is the best revenge. The world has more assholes than necessary, in my opinion. People will insult you, belittle you and let you down. Go on and be successful and don't give them a thought. You'll get the fun of being successful and the fact that they are in the corner seething with resentment and envy is just icing on the cake.
3. Follow the most brilliant stress reduction plan ever. Ask yourself two questions: "One, can I do anything about this?" If the answer is ,"No", quit worrying. Maybe the planet is going to fall into the sun tomorrow but unless I develop superpowers, I can't change it, so I may as well enjoy life until then. If the answer is, "Yes", then ask yourself, "What step can I take right now to fix this?" Then do that thing.
4. Realize that whether it is writing a computer program (there is a reason they call it 'hacking') or running a marathon, life is a series of small steps that add up. Just take one and then the other. That is the secret to success (see #2). You'd be amazed the number of people who don't take those steps and are then bitter when life passes them by (see #1).
If you want more advice, leading up to my birthday this year, I wrote a series on my company blog of 55 things I have learned in (almost) 55 years.