With all the bad news that came in 2015, it’s tough to see any good.
From Syria to San Bernardino, the past year is difficult to reflect on without shaking your head. But in times of despair, we must recall one of life’s most overwhelming truths: “it takes sadness to know happiness.”
An earthquake in Nepal left 8,000 people dead and another 20,000 injured. Paris suffered two devastating terrorist attacks in 2015, killing 135 innocent people in total. And around this time next year, chances are that either Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton will be typing their inauguration speech.
Life, however, is all about perspective.
You cannot control the evil around you. Either choose to let the negatives affect you, or extort them to find the positives.
Over the next 12 months, there’s sadly no doubt that more terrorist attacks, police shootings, and riots will occur. And at some point, you’ll be convinced that the world is ending.
Just remember, it’s not.
Only you control you. And thus, only you control the world around you. In 2016, you can be one of two things: the victim of your own fate, or the master of your own destiny.
Should you choose to become the latter, I hope the advice below will help you get there.
Happy New Year, and thanks for reading.
How To Survive 2016
1. Walk before you run.
Life is overwhelming.
You have overdue bills, relationship problems and a raging sinus infection that you’re too broke to buy medication for. In times like these, you have no choice but to put first things first.
Around this time last year, I made the wise decision to read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. If you haven’t read this book yet, I recommend doing so.
Whether you’re a miner or a millionaire, this book taught me what “responsibility” means as an adult.
“Our life doesn’t just “happen.” Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure.” – Stephen Covey, 7 Habits Of An Effective Person
In 2015, take things one at a time. Responsibility is your human ability to choose a response, so don’t be afraid to step back once-in-a-while. And remember, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.
2. Go offline.
My jaw dropped when I heard Robert Sarver’s hot take on millennials.
The owner of the Phoenix Suns attested one player’s poor development to harassment on social media. And according to Sarver, “the only thing people put online is good things that happen to them or things they make up.”
First off, Robert Sarver should feel stupid and naive for using “millennial” in such a comment. It’s borderline asinine for anybody, even marketing experts, to single out this demographic as one type of person anymore. Because in reality, “being unique” is likely the only trait that all millennials strive to have in common.
That said, Robert Sarver is correct about one thing: cyber-bullying is real.
If you can’t stand someone’s Facebook status, maybe you shouldn’t be on Facebook. If you’re saying things you wouldn’t say in person, stop saying them. You think you’re being tough by purposely offending someone behind a computer screen, but you’re just making yourself look stupid.
Nobody is forcing you to use social media, and I don’t want some 7th grader to commit suicide just because you decided to be an asshole. Let people have their opinions, and allow social media serve its true purpose.
If you’re not willing to play nice, we’d all just prefer you stay offline.
3. Put friends before politics.
On that note, don’t talk about politics with friends.
I disagree with so many of my friends and family members when it comes to politics. In fact, my thoughts on gun control couldn’t be further away from most of my college buddies. Instead of becoming a negative, this experience has taught me a valuable lesson.
No matter how much I disagree with this, or that, my friends are my friends. They grew up in a different house. They were raised by different parents. And just like me, they have a different set of values.
Does this mean I don’t love them? Not one bit.
In fact, these discrepancies are relieving. They call me hippie; I call them fascist. But at the end of the day, we all know this straightforward humor is the healthiest way to address our differences.
This year, keep in mind that politics can be complicated. But fortunately, friendship is pretty simple.
4. Go to dreams with a suitcase.
On New Years Day, my sister made a great point: “Your new years resolution should always make you laugh.”
You know what? She’s right. Aside from being the only sane way to think of a goal for 2016, a smirk-worthy goal is the only one worth striving for.
Being determined is easier said than done. Since I started this company, my life has become filled with grueling decisions, all-nighters, and personal sacrifice. And despite all the headaches and head-scratching, I’ve never thought twice about what I’m doing.
Determination will make your life more difficult. You will piss more people off, and let more people down. But in the end, there’s no greater pleasure than doing what others say you cannot.
5. Chill out.
As Kevin Costner once said in Tin Cup, life is like swinging a golf club. It’s about gaining control of your life, and letting go at the same time.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. As an example, be more like this guy:
I originally found this photo on Halloween, which somebody tweeted while walking through Union Station.
You might see a nerd that took the holiday too far, but I see a guy that knows how to live life.
When this guy woke up (assuming this is a guy), he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew he would eventually walk through The Loop in an authentic Storm Troopers outfit, becoming the butt of many jokes and Snapchats. But still, he didn’t care.
He didn’t care that he’s weirdly obsessed with Star Wars, because he likes who he is. And thus, he is able to be himself.
In 2016, take a page from this guy’s book.
If you like drinking beer, go drink beer. If you like shoes, go buy shoes. And if you like going to Petco and staring at the fish, by all means go to Petco and stare at some fish.
After all, life is too short not to be happy.