After a seminar about creative thinking I gave, I found that someone had slipped a sheet of paper into my pile of notes. I was never able to identify the author or find out why he or she slipped it to me. The sheet was titled “What I have learned about life” and listed several thoughts, some of which I found fascinating. Following is the list:
- This is it!
- There are no hidden meanings.
- You can’t get there from here, and besides, there is nowhere else to go.
- We are all already dying, and we will be dead for a very long time.
- Nothing lasts.
- There is no way of getting all you want.
- You can’t have anything unless you let go of it.
- You only get to keep what you give away.
- There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
- The world is not necessarily just. Being good does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune.
- You have a responsibility to do your best none-the-less.
- It is a random universe to which we bring order.
- You don’t really control anything.
- You can’t make anyone love you.
- No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
- Everyone is, in their own way, vulnerable.
- There are no great men.
- If you have a hero, look again, you’ve diminished yourself in some way.
- Everyone lies, cheats, and pretends. –
- All evil is potential vitality in need of transformation
- All of you is worth something if only you will own it.
- Progress is an illusion.
- Evil can be displaced, but never eradicated, and all solutions breed new problems.
- Yet, it is necessary to keep on struggling towards solutions.
- Childhood is a nightmare.
- Each of us is, ultimately, alone.
- The most important things, each man must do for himself.
- Love is not enough, but it sure helps things.
- We have only ourselves and one another. That may not be much’ but that is all there is.
- How strange, that every so often, it all seems worth it.
- We must live with the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial powers, and partial knowledge.
- All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
- Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
- No excuses will be accepted.
- You can run, but you cannot hide.
- It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
- We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
- The only victory lies in surrender to oneself.
- All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
- You are free to do whatever you like, you need only face the consequences.
- What do you know, for sure, anyway?
- Learn to forgive yourself, again, and again and again, and again and again and again and again and again.
What is your list of things you have learned about life during your lifetime?
(Michael Michalko is the author of Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques; Cracking Creativity: The Thinking Strategies of Creative Geniuses; Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck, and Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work. http://www.creativethinking.net)