“I don’t give advice on life, it takes too long.” Groucho Marx
I’m not surprised Groucho Marx couldn’t be bothered giving advice. He had a lot on his plate. Duck Soup wasn’t going to make itself now, was it? Most of us think busy people should give advice. They’re busy and that’s where life’s lessons are really learned. You don’t learn a lot watching television all day. You’re more likely to give advice on toenails.
Trouble is, busy people aren’t necessarily wise. As much as they know—or think they know— they also do silly things like run countries. Very few countries are successful. This is because busy people often make silly decisions. They don’t think they’re silly at the time, but they are considering most countries carry enormous debt. Debt is caused by silliness.
Most Rolls Royces are leased. Most countries are leased. We really only own a few trees.
Warren Buffett once said: “People on Wall Street go to work in Rolls Royces to take advice from people who take the subway.” That’s not to say subways somehow disqualify you from being smart, but it still seems a bit topsy turvy considering how much a Rolls Royce costs. If someone’s spending that much on a car, you’d think they could run a country—or at least a business. Very few Rolls Royce owners actually own businesses. Most Rolls Royces are leased. Most countries are leased. We really only own a few trees.
So who is it giving us advice? Mostly it’s people with degrees after their names. They write books. There’s nothing in their history that qualifies them to write books, but they do, anyway. It’s quite shameful how many individuals with degrees write books, especially self-help books. It’s even more shameful how many people buy these books. It’s the blind leading the blind.
Cookbooks have to tell the truth. One bad soufflé and you’ll be outed faster than Richard Simmons.
Millions of self-help books are purchased each year, all promising to set you on the right course in life. Some are quite long. It’s interesting that the longer books are usually written by people with long degrees after their names. We call these credentials, only they’re not. What these people write about has nothing to do with their credentials. If you check out their degrees, you’ll find their training is usually in sauces.
They’re frauds, in other words, except the ones who write cookbooks. Cookbooks have to tell the truth. One bad soufflé and you’re outed faster than Richard Simmons.
My point is, for all the self-help books out there, you’re really not learning anything new—and certainly not anything wise. So rather than repeat what you already know, I thought I’d just break everything down to 31 silly truths, since the three letters after my name (BAA) doesn’t even qualify me to write about sauces. I don’t know a thing about sauces.
If you aren’t willing to learn from your mistakes, become an atheist and cut out the middleman.
So here’s my 31 silly truths in no particular order other than they’re silly:
1) Stop asking God for wisdom. God doesn’t give wisdom, He gives mistakes. If you aren’t willing to learn from your mistakes, become an atheist and cut out the middleman.
2) Stop posting inspirational quotes on Facebook and LinkedIn. If they really meant that much to you, you wouldn’t share them. You’d keep them to yourself and become wildly successful and self-satisfied.
3) If you can’t believe in yourself, don’t expect others to do it for you. They’re just as insecure as you are, and probably more insecure knowing their friends are sucking the life out of them.
4) Misery doesn’t love company, it loves attention. Bugger off, in other words. Find a psychiatrist who’s popping more pills than you are.
5) Posting selfies makes about as much sense as posting pictures of your dinner. Eventually, the dinner’s going to get cold and so are you.
6) The number of “likes” is not a reflection of your popularity. It’s a reflection of how many times you ask to be “liked.”
7) Having someone love you doesn’t make you a good person. It makes you a needy person. You become a good person when you stop saying: “Do you really mean it?”
8) Stop saying “Money won’t by you happiness.” Wait till you’re rich and see if you can say it with a straight face.
9) Success isn’t defined by how much you have, but how much you’ve overcome. Failure is how much you’ve overcome without being a success.
10) Here’s the truth about normal: Normal people only feel good about themselves because they’ve never bothered to look up “ordinary” in the dictionary.
11) Time management: The shortest distance between two points is not speeding.
12) Good genes: When we say we’re the product of good genes, it’s because our ancestors fought disease, wars, pestilence and freezing cold, not because they wanted you to spend less time at the gym.
13) Wisdom: Three quarters of the world is under water, which makes a good argument for learning to swim.
14) Hair: The best way to deal with a “bad hair day” is to shut up about it.
15) Guns: We don’t need more guns in this world. We need more worlds where we can put people with guns.
16) Silence: It’s better to keep silent and let people think you’re stupid than to open your mouth and confirm it. Whoever said that was stupid.
17) Glass houses: People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones — unless they’re tired of living in a glass houses.
18) Feeling satisfied: The hardest goal to achieve is contentment — which is why we have upgrades.
19) Eating: We could solve world hunger by simply eating half of what we normally eat. The alternative is to increase immigration so they can eat twice what they normally eat.
20) Friends: The best of friends can still let you down, whereas the worst of friends rarely disappoint you.
21) Life: It’s true that one day your time will come. It’s called death.
22) Love: The easiest way to find love is to look for it. The easiest way to lose love is to ask for it.
23) Adversity: Never kick someone when they’re down. Wait till they’re unconscious.
24) God: Don’t count your blessings. God wants you to be appreciative, not go around taking inventory.
25) Reflection: The next time you say, “I wish I hadn’t done that,” remember, reflection makes about as much sense as unflushing the toilet.
26) Perfection: Neither you nor the universe is perfect. Both depend on the weather.
27) Happiness: Cheer up. Best Buys will not survive the next Ice Age.
28) Self-examination: You’re not a bad person. Anyone who says you’re a bad person hasn’t met a really bad person.
29) Success: How can anyone be an “overnight success” when the last place you look for something is usually where you find it?
30) Acceptance: You’re a good person until the police tell you otherwise.
31) Doubt: Never consider yourself failure. Let someone else do it.
Hopefully, these truths will see you through the trials and tribulations we all face. Either we master them or we head for the television sets. Most of us will head for the television sets. Warren Buffett, by the way, doesn’t own a Rolls Royce.
Robert Cormack is a freelance copywriter, blogger and novelist. His first novel, “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major book stores (now in paperback). Check out Yucca Publishing or Skyhorse Press for more details.