“Life is a bridge, cross over it, but do not build a house on it.” ~Indian proverb
1.) Focus on what you can control, let go of what you cannot:
“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” ~Steve Jobs
The only thing that never changes is change itself. But that doesn’t mean there are not things you cannot change. You can’t change where you were born, how you were raised, or who you were raised by. But you can change how those things affect your worldview. You can make the best of what you get despite not getting what you would have liked.
Stop worrying about what you cannot control. Start focusing on what you can control. Let go of your need for things to be a certain way. Crucify your expectations. You cannot be fucked with if you’re consistently staying out of your own way.
2.) Use fear as fuel for the fire of doing what you love:
Leave something of sweetness and substance in the mouth of the world.” ~Anna Bella Kaufman
Fear is real. Fear is necessary. Repress it at your own great peril. Own it at your own great triumph. Transform it into passionate courage. Use it as fuel for the vehicle of discovering what you love. As Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
Fear is not an obstacle; it is a doorway. Have the courage to open the door. Have the nerve of a gambler. Have the audacity to challenge any and all threshold guardians. The treasure you seek is on the other side of your fear. It is the thing that makes you come most alive in this world.
3.) Discover what makes you come alive and build a world out of it:
“The thought that we must die, is the reason we must live well.” ~Pico Iyer
Whatever it is that makes you come alive, do it with gusto. Do it with your whole heart. Do it with uncommon fierceness. Be unapologetic. This is your life to live. This is your world to build. Build it into an unconquerable dream.
You won’t live forever, but you are alive today. Spend it doing what you love. Spend it doing more of what makes you come alive. Make that your bedrock, your lodestone, your existential compass. Let it guide you into a new way of being human in the world.
4.) Stay as close to the edge as you can without going over:
“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.” ~Kurt Vonnegut
Take risks. Turn tables. Flip scripts. Push envelopes. Do it despite the tiny-hearted. Do it despite authority. Live dangerously. Live fleetfooted and free. Challenge the gods. Disobey the Powers That Be. Push your comfort zone over the edge. Push it until it hurts. Then come back and heal.
Choose to live life to the fullest, knowing mistakes will happen; rather than merely existing, fearful of making any mistakes. Make more mistakes if need be. Make bigger and better mistakes that you can use as building blocks for something greater than anyone could have possibly imagined.
5.) Fall in love with life by being Love itself:
“To love is to suffer and there can be no love otherwise.” ~Fyodor Dostoevsky
Choose unconditional love over conditional love. The only way to do this is to fall in love with all of life. The ups and the downs. The twitterpations and the tribulations. The summit and the abyss. Dive into tragedy and triumph, disaster and laughter, calamity and comedy. It’s all yours for the taking.
Go all in on experiencing life to the nth degree. Feel the pain and the pleasure, the hunger and the sate, the lust and the loss. It’s all one giant shitshow of absurd destiny anyway. Embrace it. Amor fati!
6.) Stay ahead of the curve by keeping curiosity ahead of certainty:
“All that exists is the seed of what will emerge from it. You think the only seeds are the ones that make plants or children? Go deeper.” ~Marcus Aurelius
Certainty is a tripwire, an intellectual brambles, an existential briar patch. Rise above it. Remain curious despite your urge to be certain. There is always a way to dig deeper, to question further, to go above and beyond. Don’t let the shiny ring of your “precious” distract you from greater discovery.
Become a forerunner, a fountainhead, the tip of the spear. Transform boundaries into horizons. Renovate stagnate routines. Stretch your comfort zone to the point that it snaps back on you. Use it as a wake-up call and a herald for heightened awareness.
7.) Keep the Truth Quest ahead of the “truth”:
“Wisdom sets bounds even to knowledge.” ~Nietzsche
Be violent toward your apathy, certainty, and resignation. Take an existential sledgehammer to your sacred cows. Be circumspect. Absorb what is useful and discard what is not. It is only when your naïve beliefs have been shattered upon the hard concrete of reality that you’re finally free to distinguish between what is healthy and what is not. As you piece things together, you become undeceived.
Remain undeceived by destroying the faulty compass forced upon you by the profoundly sick society that surrounds you. Smash it into a million little pieces on the hard ground of Truth. Murder your expectations. Kill the ideal. Be the outlier. Destroy the cultural compass that led you into ill-health, disorientation, and misalignment with universal laws.
8.) Keep courage ahead of comfort:
“As fire is the test of gold, adversity is the test of men.” ~Seneca
Don’t avoid adversity out of fear of discomfort. There is no greater sharpening stone. It will test your mettle. It will sharpen you into a finer instrument. It will forge your character into a robust force of nature. Use it to your advantage. Challenge yourself. Live on purpose, with purpose. Live dangerously if need be. Life is too short to live it cooped up.
Comfort zones are not a place to dwell, but to heal. They should only ever be a place for regrouping and licking wounds after a test of adversity. Real life is lived outside your comfort zone. Get out there. Take risks. Adversity is the only real test of unfuckwithability.
Adversity is mere kindling for a greater fire. Gather it. Become your own crucible, your own dojo, your own whetstone. Practice death in favor of life. Practice life despite the inevitability of death. As Kenshin said, “Those who cling to life die, and those who defy death live.”
9.) Don’t seek happiness, seek meaningful experiences:
“I've never met a strong person with an easy past.” ~Atticus
Happiness is never a given. It is a biproduct of self-discipline, health, and doing what you love. It’s not a cure or a salve or the thing that will save you. It is a symptom of meaningful experience. So get out there and discover new ways of being human in the world. Find beauty in impermanence. Find luminosity in loss. Learn how to live and how to die.
Seek solitude and meditation. Bask in otherworldliness. Wear eccentric masks. Wield centering energy. Connect the finite with the infinite. Discover the difference between healthy and unhealthy. Then return and share your magic elixir with the "tribe." Happiness will come by the wayside.
10.) Allow the journey to be the thing:
“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” ~The Buddha
Focus on traveling well. “Arriving” will take care of itself. Adopt an attitude of radical acceptance. Absolute vulnerability trumps naïve invulnerability. You can’t be fucked with when you’re all in on the journey being the thing. Because whatever happens, good or bad, it’s all a part of the beautiful fate of it all.
So, fall in love with the journey itself. Let the chips fall where they may. If the chips should fall in favor of triumph and fortune, so be it, enjoy it, make the best of it, use it as fuel to continue the journey. If the chips should fall out of favor and lead you into tragedy and misfortune, so be it, learn from it, make the best of it, use it as fuel to continue the journey.
Carpe punctum (seize the moment) leads to carpe diem (seize the day) leads to carpe vita (seize the life) leads to carpe fati (seize your fate). Which leads to amor fati, Eudaimonia, and the art of living life well.
About the Author:
Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.
This article (Ten Rules of Unfuckwithability) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and self-inflictedphilosophy.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.