So, it appears I have wasted my entire life.
It was a challenge, and there were times I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but after a thorough inventory I am here to report that I have apparently frittered away enough of my time on this planet that there is no way I can salvage anything of value. Oh, well. At least you can benefit from my experience. Just read and follow these handy pointers.
#1: Be Born Into It
OK, this first one isn’t really a pointer at all — it’s just a sad fact of life. If your parents are underachievers, chances are good you will be, too. It’s not heredity. It’s environment. Nothing could prepare your young mind for failure better than growing up with people who aren’t focused on success, tuned into personal growth or interested in making it. It may not seem fair to you that some of us have this advantage, but get used to it: Life isn’t fair. If you really want to waste your life you can catch up by following these other tips.
#2: Be Afraid
Be very afraid. All of us have fear: the unknown, rejection, retribution, criticism and failure. Just make sure you don’t stand up and confront your fears. When facing a difficult or scary proposition, such as starting a business or asking for a date, remember: Your concerns are legitimate. The results could be devastating, the pain unbearable. Keep this in mind and you’ll never get anywhere. As an added bonus you will be able to go through your whole life virtually unknown.
#3: Screw Around in School
Where I come from you have to go to school until a certain age. This is the time of your life you will one day think of as “your youth.” Your mind is at its most fertile during these years, and school is an excellent place to stifle any creative thinking. Hang out with friends, cut classes, eat pizza and attend football games and dances. Remember: You don’t have to learn anything to graduate from high school.
#4: Go To School Forever
If you didn’t follow the advice in Tip #3, you may have graduated from high school and you could now be tempted to get started on some kind of productive career. Go to college instead. You’ll get nothing real accomplished there. Also, there is no end to it. You can take ten years to get your first diploma if you want to, and then there is no end to the number of additional degrees you can pile on. A growing number of people are stopping right here at Tip #4 and wasting all the rest of their lives in college.
#5: Avoid Successful People
It may seem self-evident, but don’t forget that if you get too close to people who are making something of their lives there is a danger that you will be swept up in that maelstrom of success. These people may appear friendly at first but don’t be fooled: They are scary people, they have an agenda and they are liable to suck you into their alien world.
#6: Try the Arts
A career in sculpture or music is almost as wasted as one in academia (See #4 above). There’s maybe one chance in a million that you’ll be any good at it, and even then you won’t be able to earn a living. If you really want to taste the waste, go into pop art, like movies or rock ‘n’ roll. In those fields you will be competing against other “artists” who may not even be as good as you and who have billions of fans. The odds of producing anything useful? Zip. (Bonus tip: Shooting for a career in sports can also be a monumental waste of time.)
#7: Experiment With Drugs
A lifetime addiction is best, but even if you find that you cannot make a real committment to drugs or alcohol, substance abuse can slow you down for years, often your most productive years. You’ll find a wide variety of recreational drugs, from pot to heroin and cocaine. Cocaine packs an excellent double whammy: It wastes your money as well as your life. Those who want to keep it legal will find liquor to be every bit the equal of the heaviest drugs, with a bonus: it can destroy your liver, too.
#8: Be A Team Player
In any enterprise, somebody does the work and somebody gets the credit. The work has to get done, and it’s always good sports like you who do the heavy lifting. But the acclaim — and the money — generally goes to someone else. Understand that these are two distinct skills: Doing the work, and being known as someone who gets things done. The latter lead lives of happiness and wealth. The former just waste their time.
#9: Play Fair
Treat people with dignity and respect. If you have an unfair advantage, don’t press it. Consider the feelings of others. Resist the urge to simply take whatever you want from those who are weaker, less experienced or ill-prepared. Crippled in this way, get out in the world and fight for your share of the action. But fight fairly. This will ensure a lifetime of failure and frustration.