20 things I’ve learned in 20 years

IMG_5204.jpegIMG_5206.jpeg1. Your body is a machine. Whatever you feed it – food or information – it will react accordingly. If you feed it junk, you’ll be junk. If you feed it with crappy reality-shows and celebrity-news, you will become like them, talk like them. If you don’t refill your battery with exercise (endorphins) and stimulating thought-processes, you will be depressed and fatigued. It takes a lifetime to find the perfect pattern that will tell you how and when to refill your battery properly and with the right portions. So start now. Don’t take this machine for granted.

2. Decrease your options in life – and you will eventually realize that it gives you MORE, not less. Don’t say yes to every event, don’t spend time with a million friends, don’t follow people you don’t care about on Social Media. Eliminate everything that doesn’t define you, lift you up or leave you feeling satisfied – and you will find where you need to be. 

3. Everyone is religious. Even atheists. Some people devote their lives to depression or anxiety. Others focus their energy around facts and figures. You might be religious about your phone – or your craft – or a God. But you ARE religious because none of us can actually survive without being submissive. We need something to guide us. Find out what your religion is, then decide whether it’s helping your life or destroying it.

4. In life, we will all suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Choose wisely. 

5. Human beings tend to inhale the very thing that kills them, only to feel more alive. That’s why we smoke, drink heavy alcohol and do drugs. We don’t necessarily like the substance in itself – but we enjoy the feeling of having done something we know is wrong. It doesn’t give us a “high” – what it gives us is a sense of PURPOSE. But it’s a short-term one, and it’s only attained by those who are too scared to take the big leap – too scared to finish that manuscript, go to those auditions or try something only to realize they’re bad at it. That’s why drug addicts are generally interesting people – they once had an intention to do something great with their lives. But when fear got the better of them, they relapsed and decided to drown their souls in short-term pleasures. And for the rest of their lives, they’ll continue fooling their body (with this substance) to think that they’ve done something great – to think that they have a purpose in life. 

6. Most of what you see and believe are human constructions. The city you’re born in, the border that divides yours and your neighbor countries, the name you’re given, the institution you’re forced to stay in for ten years (also called school), your hopeful parents – expecting you (or forcing you) to go to college and get a degree and become a doctor. Time, money. They’re all just abstractions that human beings – who are not smarter than yourself –  have created to put you into a box so that you can be a robot and serve a functional society, just like the rest of them. When you actually start playing around with these ideas, you’ll discover that everything is meaningless. Why should you care? You can break out of these constructions. You can make your own little island,  live by your own rules. A couple of people will be disappointed in you, but so what? You have one life. Don’t waste it on public formalities that changes every ten decades or so. 

7. Books will make you more tolerant. When you read a lot, you come across a lot of villains. Kidnappers, murderers, rapists, corrupt politicians, heartless bastards … the list goes one. Now, if you’re lucky, you might find yourself reading about these villains from a narrative perspective – meaning you’re in their lives now. YOU ARE THEM. And somehow, you discover the villain’s weak side. You begin to sympathize – and that’s when you’ve managed to put yourself into another person’s shoes – a person you never thought you’d be able to relate to. This will make you more mentally mature and it will strengthen your character in ways you never thought was possible. That’s why reading is so magical. 

8. If you want to change yourself, start with your environment. You are on average the five people that you spend the most time with every day. So choose your friends carefully. Whatever they talk about the most will enter your subconsciousness and become a part of YOU. If you’re an aspiring writer, find a group of writers. If you’re a painter, find a group of painters. Never underestimate the power of social influence. 

9. Being angry at someone can actually hurt YOU more, than the person you’re angry at. 

10. The first seven years of a human being are years in which the child will download ALL the exterior information into the unconsciousness. In fact, 95% of what we do in life, derives from those programs that we have ALREADY stored in our subconscious mind. In a way, we are living a life that has already been lived for us. What we watched our parents do – how many times they doubted themselves – what decisions they made – when they had success – all these things are ideas and choices that we unknowingly carry with us and use in times of decision-making. THAT is why it is SO SO important how you raise your child during these first years. And that is why the poor stay poor and the rich stay rich. Children of poor families (from age 1-7) have watched their parents struggle, doubt themselves and lose courage – this is why those children usually tend to have problems with this later in life. Whereas rich parents – they can have a stupid child who does stupid things and is stupid with money – but they will still be able to make money and live a decent life?! Why? Because they’re doomed – they’re already programmed to make these unconscious choices because of their parent’s success. This can apply to many other things. The trick is to ask yourself – where do you struggle in life? If you know the answer, it will likely be something you were NOT exposed to as a child from 1-7. How can you fix it? By repetition. Just like when we’re kids, we learn by things happening before our eyes over and over again. You need to practice, every day, and it will eventually stick to your subconscious mind. Only 1% of the world’s population find out about this and fix their flaws. The rest of the 99% continue living the life that is already (subconsciously) set out for them to live. 

11. We complicate our lives way too much. As human beings we are inclined to seek destruction – we tell ourselves, no, it can’t be that easy! “My life is complex and messed up and I’m never going to be like … happy. I’m just here and I hate the place I’m at right now but I can’t change it because life is just more complex than that.” No! It’s not! if you open your eyes – you’ll come to realize how easy things are. You either make a change, or you don’t. You either work on that task every day and become great at it or … you don’t! There’s no magic formula out there – that only SOME people are lucky to get in life. Life is not that complex. It really isn’t. It’s not that hard to be content and it’s not that hard to enjoy the little things. There is so much of life to enjoy already – hell, the very fact that you woke up this morning is a miracle in itself. If you take a look at the big picture, nothing really matters except that life is beautifully chaotic, filled with opportunities and YOU are more than lucky to have been born because the very fact that your parents met each other and fell in love was a coincidence. Stop complicating things, please. 

12. If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it. Seriously. Just don’t. 

13. No matter how “talented” you are, your talent will eventually fail you if you don’t practice your skill. Repetition and a hard work-ethic come first. Always. 

14. For a relationship to work, you both need to be free, independent individuals. You both NEED to have your inner home. You need to be able to make yourself happy, even in the worst of times. You need to have your own hobby, your own “cave” – that place you escape to when you just want to be alone – and you need to have your own friends. This might sound cynical and very anti-love, but it’s not. It’s highly crucial for the love, the chemistry, and the fire to still have a spark, even after many years. Perhaps your hobby or your activity is something that doesn’t resonate with your partner at all. Perhaps they don’t even like it. That’s okay! In fact, that’s better! Then you have something entirely for yourself, which is kind of awesome. Because being dependent on someone is not love, that’s an obsession. You should only ever need YOURSELF. Period. 

15. Your friends are not there to be changed or fixed – or to change/fix you. They are there to love you in spite of your differences. Dolly Parton once said: “The best friends have everything and nothing in common, all at the same time.”. Focus on your common grounds, don’t meddle with your differences. It will only ruin the relationship and create complications. You can give them guidelines, but you can’t fix them. 

16. You need to embrace an emotion before you can let it go. Go all out. Lie in your bed and cry. Scream. Talk to people about it. Analyze why you feel this way, how and why it arrived in your head and what you can do to diminish it. You need that closure because if you don’t have it, it will stick to your brain and slowly eat up your soul. Do yourself this favor today. 

17. Any bad situation can bring out something positive. Because in life, you are always the student: The abusive boyfriend that you held onto for too long was your teacher – he/she was teaching you every day what NOT to look for. Your terrible boss taught you how to handle terrible people. Your economical failure taught you what NOT to invest in next time. 

18. Treat yourself with respect and other people will start respecting you. 

19. Your life can ALWAYS, ALWAYS be rearranged. We are ever growing, therefore, ever-changing. If you think you’ll never be able to get out of your current situation, you are wrong. The reason why you haven’t done anything is just lack of courage. But this can easily change. The first step is always doing something. 

20. You’re not a writer unless you do it every day. The same rule applies to every craft. 



Aftur S. Nerdrum

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