Advice for Jessica and Madison

I don’t claim ownership of these words. They’re processed from whatever I’ve been exposed to. I try not to use direct quotes, but where I do, I’ll annotate. Updated infrequently.

Have fun.

Try hard.

Be nice to other people. And yourself.

Your time is very important. Use it to gain joy and wisdom.

When someone tells you a secret, they are relieving themselves of a burden and passing it on to you.

Miserable people (toxic) want to infect you with their misery. Be cautious of them. Seek out happy people instead.

When a piece of egg shell falls into an uncooked egg, fish it out using one of the shell-halves as a spoon.

To get the skin off a whole garlic, put it in a pot and shake it like a you’re a bartender with a cocktail shaker.

Ferment vegetables using salt and water.

When you have a sore stomach, eat a piece of fermented vegetable.

When arguing, step back and try to see things from the other person’s point of view.

Always ask yourself ‘why?’ Always consider what someone’s motivation is when they ask you do do something.

Try to limit synthetic stuff – drugs, plastics, et cetera. Find a natural alternative where possible. This includes clothing. Wear wool (non-mulessed). Go organic. Conventional (and GM) cotton is terrible for the environment.

Try to find common ground with people. To work in partnership is always better than to be in combat.

Communication is better than silence.

Be honest.

Ghee might be the healthiest cooking oil for high temperature cooking.

Use a cast iron skillet.

Don’t be burdened by having too many possessions.

Write. by hand.

To move your body is to celebrate it. The brain might be primarily intended to enable movement. Move often. Get a sweat going.

There are many truths.

The answer you are ultimately seeking more than likely doesn’t lie with someone else.

Spend time in nature.

if you think about work when you are in bed, you are probably stressed. Think of something else. For example, things you are grateful for.

Eat healthy, organic, wholefoods.

Be in competition with yourself, not others. Your best is always good enough, IF it’s really your best.

Your main priority should be to enjoy or ‘live’ the present. Don’t sacrifice your present for an uncertain future. Sacrificing your present also ruins your past, for your treasure chest of good memories will be sparse. But do plan for the future. Learn about compounding interest. Own what you can instead of renting from someone else.

You are never too old to do start something new. Unless you want to be pitch perfect. If you want your kids to be pitch perfect teach them before they are 4.

From birth to 7 years old is of huge importance for the formation of a child. Be careful in how you interact with them. Your goal should be to limit the damage. Any action or teaching you give them will stick like glue. Jessica, I hope when you read this you have stopped biting your nails. You have me and your dad to blame for that habit. Madison, I hope you haven’t developed it.

Crying as a kid might help you get what you want. Crying as an adult never will. If you want something you need a strategy and tactics, or in other words, a plan and milestones.

Break a big, overwhelming problem into small manageable ones. Fix the small problems one at a time and the big one will disappear like an effervescent tablet dissolving in water.

Being selfish and disagreeable repels people. Nobody wants to be told they’re wrong. Be generous and diplomatic.

I think there are two types of happiness. The happiness that comes from enjoying your present moment, and the happiness that comes from working towards a goal. Balance them.

Don’t rush. Speed kills.

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Your granny told me: “If you’re soft the world will eat you.” Your dide told me: “Greed is the nature of the beast.”

Balance your ego. If your ego is too big you’ll be blind to your weaknesses (but others will see). If your ego is too small you’ll never realise your strengths (and nobody will know you have any).

Things are rarely black and white. More likely they are grey.

You’ll know when someone doesn’t value your time and effort. So don’t give it to them.

Your opinions are formed on what you have learned up to now. Do not let them set. Keep them flexible so they can change as your learning continues.

You have the right to live whichever way you want to as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. You have no right to tell someone else how to live if they are not hurting anyone else.

Be proactive.

Wherever possible give people solutions instead of problems.

Learn how to lose gracefully.

If you can’t adapt to changing environments you are doomed to fail.

Give people full attention when they are speaking to you. Don’t be messing around with your phone.

Sleep from 7-8 hours a night. Have a regular bed time. Put your phone to airplane mode when you do.

Eat breakfast within a couple of hours of waking.

When you have done something wrong to someone, apologise.

Break open a boiled egg from the round side. There’s an air pocket. It makes it easier to peel the shell off.

Try to get at least three different quotes for any work you need done.

Where do you spend most of your time? Does it bring value to your life? If not, figure out how to spend less time doing what doesn’t add value and more time doing what does.

Don’t force your beliefs on anyone else. They are free to believe what they want. At the moment, I’m vegetarian. I don’t go around telling people who eat meat that they should stop. It’s none of my business.

Cut out as much background noise as you can.

The free-thinker’s mind has no limits. Her thoughts can take her wherever she chooses and return her unscathed, and possibly wiser. The mind loyal to a religion, political party or single philosophy is not free. Its thoughts are held within a net. Yes, it can pass through it, but regardless of what it finds beyond, it will return with guilt. Be a free thinker.

When you think you only have two choices, aways try to come up with a third.

Your parents want what’s best for you, but how they express that might cause conflict when important decisions for your future have to be made; what school subjects will you choose? Will you go to university or not? Can you go travelling for a year or two? Ultimately those decisions belong to you. It is your responsibility to listen to your parents concerns and opinions, and use them along with your own acquired knowledge and considerations for short/medium/long term gains and losses, to come to the decision that satisfies you. You must live your own life, not someone else’s. (Read Kahlil Gribran’s The Prophet ‘on Children’)

No one should have to suffer for someone else’s ideology.

To criticise someone to their face is brave. To criticise them to their back is cowardly. Be brave.

Saying ‘Yes’ to one thing means you are saying ‘no’ to another. Make sure you give the thing you are saying ‘no’ to proper consideration (paraphrased Peter Mallouk from interview with Tim Ferriss).

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About stevenjohntait