9 life changing lessons from comedian Tim Minchin

When someone finally comes along and tells it how it is, it can be a real pain in the backside.

But if you want to get the most out of life, you need to by-pass “feel-good” advice and cut right to the chase of what really matters.

Here are 9 brutal life lessons shared by comedian Tim Minchin in the video below that no-one wants to admit, but will benefit you tremendously if you do.

1. You don’t have to have a dream

Americans on talent shows always seem to talk about their dreams, as though that’s what really matters.

The truth is that dreams often get you thinking long term to the detriment of living in reality.

Minchin explains that rather than chasing your dreams, it’s better to passionately dedicate yourself to the pursuit of short-term goals. It means you’ll be more open to new and unexpected opportunities.

You don’t need to give up on your dreams, but you can make sure you’re not being fooled by them and focusing on the here and now.


2. Don’t seek happiness

Happiness is like an orgasm. If you think about it too much, it goes away.

Instead, Minchin urges you to keep busy and aim to make someone else happy. Along the way you may find that you get some happiness as a side effect.

We didn’t evolve to be constantly content. We are meant to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, experiencing stress and anxiety.

Contented Homo Erectus got eaten before passing on their genes.

3. It’s all luck

It’s time to accept the brutal truth that you’re lucky to be here. You’re incalculably lucky to have won the lottery of the gene pool and been given life.

You can’t truly take credit for your successes, and in the same way you can’t really blame anyone for their failures.

Instead, practice having empathy and compassion. While empathy is usually practiced intuitively, you can also work on it intellectually.

4. Exercise regularly

Our life expectancies are increasing, and research shows that people who exercise regularly experience less depression and anxiety, and have happier and more fulfilling lives.

Keep your body in good condition. It will serve you well throughout life.

5. Be hard on your opinions

Think critically about not just other people’s ideas but also your own. Examine your biases, your prejudices and your privileges.

Minchin explains that most of society’s arguments are kept alive by society’s failure to acknowledge nuance. Often, people are disagreeing because they’ve been unable to unpack the core assumptions forming what they’re arguing for.

Carl Sagan offers similar advice, suggesting that people shouldn’t become too attached to their own ideas. Instead, compare your idea fairly with others and see if you can find reasons for rejecting it.

6. Be a teacher

Teachers are the most admirable people on this planet, according to Minchin. If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, consider becoming a teacher.


Even if you don’t want to become an actual teacher at schools, you can still teach people in life. Share your ideas widely. Try to help fellow humans around you.

There’s real nobility in helping others, and teaching is a great way to do it.

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7. Define yourself by what you love

We have a tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff. For example, if you like grunge music you define yourself as hating Coldplay.

Try to define yourself not just by what you hate but also by what you’re passionate about and truly love.

Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.


8. Respect people with less power than you

Minchin, a highly successful comedian, says that he has regularly said no to big deals based on how someone has treated the wait staff at the restaurant where they’re trying to do a deal.

It matters how you treat the least powerful person in the room. It shows whether you are living with compassion or more interested in advancing your own interests.

Have respect for everyone, especially people with less power than you.

9. Don’t rush

You don’t need to already know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.

Don’t panic, because you’ll soon be dead.

Life will sometimes seem long and tough, and other times it will be easy and you’ll be happy.

There is only one thing to do with this empty existence called “life”, and that is it fill it.

Fill your life by learning as much as you can in as many areas as you can, taking pride in whatever you’re doing, living with compassion, sharing ideas, doing exercise and being enthusiastic.

It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this meaningless existence of yours.

Good luck!

RELATED ARTICLE: 10 no bullsh*t ways to manifest positive energy in your life


9 Life Changing Lessons From Tim Minchin

'Put your head down and work with pride on what's in front of you. You never know where you might end up.'

Posted by UNILAD on Thursday, November 9, 2017

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Written by Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibility.

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