Credentials are the means by which the system convinces people of its legitimacy; don't be fooled.

Credentialism—the act of putting undue significance on degrees, titles, etc.—is one of the more common societal tricks that is used as a currency for credibility. If someone has X credential, without any need for investigation, we can trust that they’re correct (even if the opinion or suggestion being offered is outside of the scope of their credential).

Conversely, people who lack credentials are often discredited or ignored. This is unfortunate because the quality of a mind is not directly correlated with the credentials that mind has acquired. The quality of a mind is based on its thoughts and its outputs. What does it think? What does it say? How does it think? How does it say what it knows?

Avoid people and situations where the game being played is heavily rooted in credentialism. More often than not, the people who do this are the ones who know the least. The ones who truly know tend to lack “the stamp” and are unknown to most.

Be careful: acknowledging this annoys people because they’re emotionally invested in the system and its ability to mint success (even if this is an absolute lie and, ultimately, a marketing tactic).

Always base your opinion of others on what they do, not what they say

Self-explanatory. Someone may say one thing but then do a completely different thing. True intent is revealed in action, not speech. Be aware of how those around you mask their actions with fanciful language.

Know who you are

The world and society are more than happy to tell you what you are, who you are, and what you believe. Never, ever let another person define who you are or how you see yourself. Nobody knows you but you. Nobody knows what you do when no one’s watching. Nobody knows what you’re dealing with. Nobody knows what’s in your heart. Only you get to decide who you are. Know who that is, trust them, and respect them.

Protect your mind at all costs

It’s abundantly clear now, that, you can tell anyone, anything, from a position of authority and have them believe it, no matter how absurd. The fear of social judgment and ostracization is the ultimate tranquilizer for the common mind. Master control of that and you master control of the people. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you guard your own mind at all costs.

Don't entertain the delusions of others

In a psychologically troubled world, delusion—having a confused belief or understanding of reality—is rife. If you care about the environment you exist within—your family, your job, your church, etc.—it is of utmost importance to not entertain the delusions of the people around you. Delusion spreads like a rash, infecting anyone who starts to see it as a viable pattern of thought. Enabling delusions in time leads to madness and creates a mentally uninhabitable environment for you and others. Though painful in the short-term, identifying and entertaining only what is objectively true is the best means for creating long-term peace.

Respect moments of evolution

You don’t have to cling to who you were. You don’t have to keep being the same person, with the same tastes, with the same relationships. It’s okay to maintain relationships if you wish, but if you’ve mentally and emotionally moved on from something; that’s okay. Be willing to let yourself evolve whenever you want to evolve. If tomorrow you decide to live a different life, go for it. If you want to stay “this” way for 20 years, go for it.

Validate your own experiences

Don’t rely on others to tell you whether or not what you’re doing is right for you—trust your intuition and gut feel. If someone shares an opinion with “you should,” always interpret that as “I think you should.” If an idea doesn’t resontate with you, don’t feel obligated to follow it. This applies to everything in life. Validating your own experiences doesn’t mean you’ll always be correct, but it does mean you’ll avoid compromising your true spirit and desires in life—arguably, the things that animate us and make us feel the most happy.

Doing things purely for enjoyment is okay, if not preferred

Everything you do doesn’t need to be a thing. It can be done purely because you enjoy doing it. Because it makes you feel good. This can apply to what you do for work, for fun, etc. If it’s something you do to make a living, you enjoy it, and it pays the bills: consider yourself successful.

Get control of your fear

Because existence is inherently uncertain, some level of fear is a given. In order to succeed in life (by your own definition), though, you have to learn to overcome fear and accept it as an illusion of the mind. The degree to which you can limit the influence of fear in your life will decide how far you go. It’s okay to be afraid; it’s not okay to be controlled by fear or succumb to it.

Your lens dictates the quality of the world; focus it.

By “lens” I mean how you look at the world. Are you a negative person or a positive, optimistic person? Do you believe things can or are getting better, or worse? Speaking from experience, when you look at the world through a negative lens, it’s inevitable that you’ll see a negative world. The same applies for the company you keep. Negative people will muck up your lens and pull your energy down.

Once you understand this—not just know it, but understand it—your life will never be the same. Always be moving toward a higher state of energy and filtering out people and thoughts that pull you down.

Be the fun person

Past a certain age, a lot of people get into a rut; working a job they hate, in relationships that lack the spark they once had, spending their days wrapped in malaise. Because this is the rule rather than the exception, it helps to be the opposite (even if you don’t feel like it) to give folks a little boost and buffer social situations with ease. Even—arguably, especially—when it seems out of place: be the class clown. Most people will appreciate it even if they hate to admit it.

Do the thing that's emotionally difficult

I don’t recall where I heard this, but I’ve kept it with me and have practiced it for awhile. Emotion can account for a lot of the roadblocks in our life—how we feel about a situation dictates our decision making process more than logic. This can—and often, does—lead to situations where you’re left anxious, unhappy, and frustrated in the long-term. Choose in favor of short-term emotional pain for lasting peace and happiness.

Learn to navigate evil and not let it control you

There’s a lot of evil in the world, both inside and outside of yourself. What’s important is not letting that evil control you, preventing you from being a better person, doing what you want to do in life, etc. The weight of evil—negativity, hating others, poor decisions leading to severe consequences—is immense.

Understanding evil requires discernment. People who deploy evil love to gaslight others into believing they’re not evil themselves. Pay attention to how your body reacts around certain people; that’s your intuition speaking and guiding you.

When you see evil in yourself, correct it swiftly.

Attachment to any single person, situation, or outcome is a great way to limit yourself

While it’s easy and comfortable to emotionally invest in people and things outside yourself, it’s a guaranteed way to railroad yourself either temporarily or permanently depending on your emotional fortitude. A disconnected approach can be unsettling, but ensures you’re not thwarted by the inevitable losses in life. One caveat to this is to not allow this state of mind to make your outward appearance or treatment of others cold. Detachment needn’t lack warmth, but rather, a consistent comfort with the self despite current circumstances.

Make decisions for yourself

Not knowing how to think for yourself—essentially, being a puppet—is an incredibly dangerous position to be in. It means that your life is in the hands of the most convincing argument, not your own analysis of that argument. This doesn’t mean you should be arrogant or ignorant, but to never make a decision without considering information against your own point of view and values. Blindly following others is a guaranteed way to live a miserable, mediocre life.

Don't defer thinking

Putting other people in charge of your thinking means that you will continually find yourself in sub-optimal situations. Don’t just blindly outsource tasks. Only do so if not knowing first-hand won’t hurt you long-term (e.g., hiring an assistant to book your calls vs. teaching yourself finance—the latter could be disastrous long-term if outsourced). Pushing yourself to learn things not only makes you better, but gives you more control over your life. It’s harder, but ensures that you’re not as intellectually vulnerable, meaning you’re less dependent on certain people or ways of doing things.

Be willing to walk away

Indifference in everything you do is a great way to avoid unnecessary guilt and difficulty with others in your life. There’s zero reason to stay in a situation where you’re uncomfortable and unhappy unless you have absolutely no choice (e.g., prison—which is a direct result of your own behavior, not others). It’s worth considering before you embark: “will I be willing to walk away from this if I need to?” Work hard to make the answer yes and avoid situations where your answer is “no” at the beginning.

Temper your reliance on fashion

Whatever is fashionable today will be a faux pas tomorrow. There’s nothing wrong with consuming fashionable things—clothing, technology, attitudes—but know when you’re doing it and why. Blind adherence to fashion of any sort is a great way to lose control of your life and back yourself into a corner. Make sure that if and when you do partake in fashion, you do it for your own reasons; not because your friends, family, or “society” are doing it.

Avoid Segragation

Diversity of opinion is difficult. Though, it’s an essential skill to develop if you want to be a well-rounded person. No matter how much it hurts, make a point of seeking out and understanding alternative opinions. At the very least, understand what the other person believes and be empathetic toward why they might have those ideas. Be flexible in your own thinking, too, to form opinions that consider all sides—not just your personal favorite. Spend time with people outside of your common sphere (if you’re a computer geek, learn how to hang out with jocks). Pull folks up if they’re “below” you. Study and adapt their behaviors if they’re “above” you. Know how to hang with folks of all creeds and colors. Don’t be a sore thumb. Be neutral and care for everyone if they’re a good person—judgement over prejudice.

Know your demons

It’s irresponsible not to have vices—they provide a pressure valve to life—but being aware of your vices and the extent to which they introduce negativity into your life is imperative. Know the negative things that excite you and that you enjoy—e.g., drinking alcohol—and work to build your self-awareness around those activities. In other words, know what you’re doing when you engage with them (i.e., when you’ve had too much) so that you don’t fall down a rabbit hole that threatens your long-term well-being.

Be honest with yourself and know your delusions

Everyone is delusional about something in some way. How we look at certain groups of people, how we look at ourselves, or our general outlook on life/the world. At the very least, it’s important to acknowledge when we may be delusional about something and try to see how we might move away from that. It can be hurtful and painful to do so, but if your goal is to move beyond what’s holding you back, you need to be honest with yourself and start making the steps to move in a more positive direction.

You can only fix yourself

Despite your best efforts, more often than not, you will fail to fix or change the behaviors of others; even if it’s for their well-being. The best you can do is be a positive influence and hope that they see that and are encouraged to improve. Never feel bad or guilty for trying to help others if your intent is honest/genuine. Always assume that another person’s behavior is fixed and don’t be discouraged or disappointed if they don’t/aren’t willing to change.

Something, something, you can lead a horse to water…

Get what you want in life

If you ask someone to do or produce something and they don’t, ask them to correct it. Don’t pretend as though the incorrect or mediocre result is what you always wanted. You don’t have to be mean about it, but don’t be a pushover. Be polite and ask for mistakes to be corrected. You may intimidate some with this behavior but will always garner respect.

Be selfish before you're generous

This sounds incredibly cold, dismissive, and counterintuitive if you take it at face value. Instead, the point is that in order to truly help and care for others, you have to be at your best—otherwise you’ll quickly drain yourself and be of no use to anyone. What you’re selfish about depends on your situation; it could be your time, how you spend your money, or the people you associate with. If your health is fucked up, your mind isn’t right, your money isn’t right, or any other facet of your life that you deem important isn’t right: it’s your responsibility to take the time to correct those things before you give yourself (and your time) to others.

It's okay—and good—to change your mind

A direct path to failure is obsessive compliance with the human bias for consistency. It’s perfectly acceptable to change your mind later if you’ve come across new information, or, come to understand something differently than when you first started (e.g., the scope or cost of a project). Don’t box yourself into a situation that you know to be harmful just to remain consistent with what you said in the past.

Get comfortable with changing your mind and the sometimes inevitable frustration that may cause others. To buffer these situations, make your reasoning clear so others don’t get the feeling of having the “rug pulled out from under them.”

Don’t let folks rush you or tell you your priorities.

Take your time. Unless it’s life and death, it can wait. Ironically, when you slow down in the short-term, you tend to speed up in the long-term. Know why you’re doing things and do them well, even if that means taking some extra time (and poking at someone’s impatience) in the process. People don’t remember how fast you went, they remember what you produce.

Don't make promises you can't keep.

Unless you’re absolutely certain that you’re going to be able to do something when you say you’re going to be able to, don’t make the promise. There’s little benefit to making promises to begin with, so use them sparingly.

Your physical and mental strength are your most important assets

You only get one body and one mind, so make both a top priority in your life. Work hard to make attention to nutrition, self-education, and physical training habitual. Put an emphasis on becoming more self-aware about how you treat your body and mind. Make it a point to avoid any triggers or correct any mistakes soon after they’re committed to avoid slipping into negative patterns.

Channel your anger and distaste for inequality into learning how to surpass those at the top

Getting angry about what you don’t have, where you weren’t born, or any other inequality in life is an incredible waste of time. Channel whatever energy you’d waste on that into getting so good that you can’t help but surpass the people you view as “at the top.” Learn to focus and be patient as this strategy takes time. Make sure to eliminate people who whine from your life as they’re a negative influence and slow you down.

Watch out for and help people who are going through the struggles you went through

No matter what, always keep a close eye on people who are working hard but struggling like you did on your way up. Always be willing to take time out of your own life to help pull them up to the next plateau. If other people did it for you—and even if not—it’s your responsibility to give back to those on the path. This shit is hard; never forget what it took and what it takes.

Avoid people who only treat you well if you're well off—keep a tight circle of people who will stick around even while the ship is sinking.

Quality people are rare in this world so don’t expect to find many. The more successful you are, the more people will magically appear to help you enjoy that success. Look at these people for what they are and don’t make the mistake of misinterpreting their presence as meaningful. The people you can trust are the one’s who stick with you through it all and don’t question your character in the process. The others can and should be gleefully discarded.

You are wholly responsible for your life's outcome. We can't choose where we start, but most of us can choose where we end up.

The only people who have any right to complain about the cards they’ve been dealt are those with severe physical or mental disabilities that are out of their control (ironically, these same people usually overcome their shortcomings and persevere to the best of their abilities). For those members of society who have full control over their person, the only person or thing to blame for an unhappy life is oneself. This is difficult to accept because it means that you have to assume full responsibility for your actions.

If you consider life to be “bad,” it’s very unlikely that external influences are the culprit for that appraisal. Instead, it’s in a bad place because of your own poor choices. Learn to accept your faults and work to correct them. Using them as an excuse for not trying is a waste of a life. You don’t “have to” take those drugs. You don’t “have to” fuck that girl. Life is a game and getting to the finish line is predicated on making consistently correct choices.

Invest in others even if it has no immediate return to you.

Investing your time, money, and energy into other people is always a net positive. It either makes the other person better, you better, or both. Investments in others should be considered long-term and should have no expectation of coming to fruition.

Place bets often, but not hastily. Consider all of the consequences—positive and negative—before you lay down your chips. Be ready and willing to accept the negative consequences if your bet is wrong.

Everything in life is one form of a bet or another. Taking a safe job instead of focusing on your own ideas is a bet, no matter how much risk it removes. An interesting life is a balance of both safe and unsafe bets. Don’t let a fear of making a mistake stop you from doing something that excites you.

Never let another human being, especially yourself, disrespect you.

You may not always be in the right, but that doesn’t mean that you should welcome others to devalue your self-worth. Command respect from yourself and others, never inviting those who disrespect you back for another chance.

All rules were invented by human beings, therefore there are no rules.

Accepting that there are no rules but your own and that, unless you’re harming others or directly breaking the law, you can get away with far more than you assume. Most rules are social precepts that depend on psychological control of other humans, not cosmic law.

This doesn’t mean that you should wantonly break the law; quite the opposite. You should work to understand the laws that surround your life—both written and assumed—so that you can best understand how to navigate and circumvent them. Just because another human being “says so,” doesn’t mean you have to comply.