9 Life Lessons I learned from Tim Minchin

Adam Personal Improvement Leave a Comment

A friend sent me a fantastic graduation address by Tim Minchin from 2013. I he had a lot things to say that were both hilarious and really resonated with me. I thought I would talk about what the 9 life lessons I learned from Tim Minchin

1. You don’t need a dream. If you have one great. If not, that’s ok too. Passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be “micro-ambitions” and work with pride on the task at hand.

I think that’s a very smart thought. While long-term goals are important, sometimes they don’t work out. When we’re in our teens and twenties we sometimes believe we’re going to quickly become the next CEO, pro-athlete, or billion dollar startup. It’s a beautfiul thing to shoot for, but we often forget that the way to get there is to focus on the task at happen. Oftentimes if we do the right things each day, the long-term will work itself out.

2. Don’t seek happiness. “Happiness is like an orgasm. If you think about it too much, it goes away.” Stay busy and try to help others.

While at first this sounds a bit counter intuitive, it’s really not. We often associate happiness with this fleeting feeling that we’re never going to be able to hold on to long term. It’s always momentary. As research shows, long-term “happiness” is much more about being content and satisfied, which is often found in meaningful work and helping others. Focus on that and happiness will follow. As we all know, more money doesn’t equal more happiness.

3. It’s all luck. We are all incalculably lucky. To be born. To be born here. To get good genetics. You can’t take all the credit for your sucesses or failures and that makes you more empathetic.

I don’t totally agree with this one, at least how its worded, but I understand the sentiment. The real point is that recognize there are factors out of our control that lead us all to our current circumstances and your much more likely to show empathy and compassion for others.

4. Exercise. You’ll feel better.

5. Think critically. Be hard on your opinions. Opinions are different from assholes, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.

6. Be a teacher. We need them.

7. Define yourself by what you love. Don’t talk about what you don’t like. Sub-cultures build around dislike or hate are not useful. Express passion for the things you care about. Compliment. Be a pro stuff.

This isn’t one I think about often, but it really struck a chord. I don’t know why, but we really do tend to define ourselves by our dislikes rather than our likes. Are you ever around someone with a real passion for something and it’s infections? The next think you know your as excited as they are, even though its a topic you don’t feel strongly about? Kids make us feel this way more often than anyone. Their unabashed enthusiasm for even the mundane makes us all smile. I should try this in my own life more.

8. Respect people with less power than you. People notice you how you treat the waitress and the valet.

9. Don’t rush. Don’t panic. Life throws a lot of curveballs and your 10-year plan is bullshit. You will end up somewhere completely different and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t have a mid-life crisis because you haven’t hit some line in the sand you set for yourself.

Bonus: You’ll soon be dead. Life is meaningless. It sounds a bit depressing, but it really means, you have 1 life to life, so live it and fill it the best you can. I think a quote by Hunter S. Thompson best sums up the sentiment.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!




Tim Minchin has a lot of wisdom to share. I hope you enjoy.

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