What do you think when a plane you're traveling on hits turbulence? Maybe you pray, maybe you mentally recite the excellent safety statistics of flying, or maybe you distract yourself with daydreams. But chances are excellent you don't have the same reaction as author Ryan Holiday.
"When I am on a plane and the turbulence hits, when a car veers out into traffic, when I hear about someone I know who died suddenly: I don't get scared. I just think, 'If this is it, all right,'" he reported on Thrive Global recently.
That probably strikes some as odd, but you have to admit, it's a nice place to be. Holiday might be only 30, but when he's confronted with the prospect of life's end, he can honestly report he feels no regret.
How did he get to this happy point? In the lengthy post, he offers a whopping 76 rules that have helped guide him to a full and fulfilling life. It's well worth a read (as is what scientists and superachievers have to say about avoiding regret), but to get you started here's a sampling of some of Holiday's best rules.
1. Do ridiculous things.
"Some of the best decisions of my life came out of total irresponsibility and whim," confesses Holiday. "My wife and I got a dog because I was reading a book about how Pope Leo X had a pet elephant named Hanno. That'd be a funny name for a dog, I thought. A week later, we had a miniature dachshund puppy. One of the best things I ever did."
2. Choose the job that will teach you the most.
How do you choose a career that you won't regret? Ask which will teach you the most. "This is how I have evaluated my career and job opportunities (and book projects, too). There are lots of ways to make money, fewer real opportunities to learn," reports Holiday.
3. Steer clear of charlatans and the toxic.
All I can add to this bit of advice from Holiday is, Amen! "Regular friend purges are a must," he says. "So are influence purges (the sources of information you follow). You become whom you know. You conform to your surroundings. Make sure those two facts are taking you in a direction you want to go."
4. Value the quiet moments.
A well-lived life doesn't mean a life jam-packed with adventures and achievements. It means a life in which you take the time to appreciate what you have. "It's in the quiet, still moments that we feel what matters in life. Standing on the shore of a lake. Looking out over a canyon. Resting your head against someone else's. It's a shortage of these moments that give rise to the feeling that we haven't lived enough, that we have to keep going. Seeking them out, encouraging them is what makes you feel like you've done plenty," insists Holiday.
5. Have a philosophy.
No, life philosophies aren't only for the great and the learned. "Pete Carroll talks about his turning point as a coach, when he realized he was just winging it. So he stopped and wrote down his entire coaching philosophy. Now he has something to measure himself against. Well, what's yours? Don't wing it through your 20s. Focus. Live by something," Holiday instructs.
6. Don't compare yourself with other people.
Seriously. Just don't. It will make you miserable, no matter how outwardly successful you are. "Caesar famously wept at the feet of a statue of Alexander the Great," Holiday points out. Now they're both gone. You will be someday soon too. So, in the meantime, "who cares whether so-and-so did this or that earlier than you? Who cares that so-and-so had more?"
7. Think about death.
"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart," Steve Jobs famously said. Holiday agrees, advising: "Don't shy away from thinking about death. Think about it a lot."