Very recent gratitude


What are you grateful for? List five things that have happened in the last five minutes that you can be grateful for. Don’t be surprised if this is hard to do, but stick with it. By the end, you’ll feel a little better.

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Golden rule


When in doubt, take care of yourself first. You won’t be much good to others if you have nothing left.

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Do they actually happen for a reason?


I don’t actually believe things happen for a reason - not in the cosmic sense. Maybe you disagree strongly, and that’s okay - I have no evidence that I’m right and am willing to concede the point if it’s that important to you. I bring it up now because I’ve claimed before that some things happen for a reason. What gives?

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Nobody else in the world is as responsible for where your life is right now as you are. And even if that’s not true, nobody else in the world can possibly be as responsible for changing it as you are.

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An inch per day


One tiny thing per day is all it takes. It’s hard to remember because tiny things feel so insignificant. But it’s enough. All you have to do is move forward one inch per day.

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Defense against the future


Presence is your defense against the future and the past. Neither is happening now, but both somehow feel important enough to obsess over, especially in what would otherwise be a quiet and therefore wonderful moment, like the time right before you fall asleep, or when you’re showering. Obsession is never healthy, and when it gets in the way of peace it’s doing active damage.

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Buddhism, when shit hits the fan


When bad things happen, it’s okay to exert your control. Buddhism is basically an extended exercise in accepting that suffering is an intrinsic part of life, but even the most ardent buddhist won’t say that you should suffer for no reason. It’s good to have equanimity, it’s good to have a high tolerance, but when shit really hits the fan, obviously you should take action. Even if that action is only to take yourself out of the situation.

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Take out half


One of the best tricks for effective writing is to say everything that needs to be said, and then go back and take out half of it. Then take out half again, then do it again. Do it again and again until you have one sentence left. Then, finally, you have the essence of what you’re trying to say.

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A bad day (or longer)


It’s okay to have a bad day, a bad week or a bad month. But don’t let it throw you off track. Feeling bad doesn’t mean you have to make rash decisions.

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