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Are you TOO long-term?

Yesterday I came across a speech on YouTube that Tim Minchin delivered to recent graduates in which he shared his nine lessons for life. They struck me as incredibly powerful, thought-provoking and well worth capturing.


He seems a generous enough soul so I'm hoping he'll extend forgiveness for my clumsy paraphrasing and be even more gracious about my interpretation of his meaning!


  1. DEDICATE YOURSELF PASSIONATELY TO THE PURSUIT OF SHORT-TERM GOALS

  2. KEEP BUSY AND TRY TO MAKE OTHERS HAPPY

  3. REMEMBER YOU'RE INCALCULABLY LUCKY TO BE BORN

  4. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY

  5. CONSTANTLY AND THOROUGHLY CHALLENGE YOUR OWN OPINIONS

  6. SHARE YOUR IDEAS

  7. DEFINE YOURSELF BY WHAT YOU LOVE

  8. RESPECT PEOPLE WITH LESS POWER THAN YOU

9. YOU DON'T NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE


My take

  1. The key phrase here is 'short-term'. I spent years focusing on long-term goals, not realising that life was what happened while I was busy making others plans.

  2. Seems a sound enough philosophy of life so not much to add!

  3. Life is full of light and shadow so, when darkness looms, I remind myself that I'd rather be here than the alternative.

  4. The body we're born with has to last our whole lives. Do I want to give it the best possible chance of supporting me for that length of time or not?

  5. Rather than rushing to challenge the opinions of others, maybe I could begin by exploring my own? I am - and always will be - a work in progress, so it makes sense for me to challenge my unconscious bias, learn as much as I can about as much as I can and be aware of how I may appear to others.

  6. This flies in the face of my mother's advice - 'Don't give your brains away' - which I followed far too literally for much of my career. Maybe if I'd been more generous with my ideas, I'd have become more aware of the aggressively competitive work environments and made a greater effort to escape them before I became a version of myself that I grew to dislike?

  7. How much more uplifting is that than joining the legions who align themselves to being 'anti'?

  8. This for me is the sign of decency. If we can be respectful of those in less privileged positions than us, then we are connecting as equal human beings.

  9. More and more people are developing portfolio careers. Young people know that they'll probably be working well into their 70s so they're choosing to take sabbaticals and challenging the myth that we have to focus wholly on earning more to spend more by reducing the hours they work.


So, if we can embrace the notion that, right here is exactly where we need to be, we can focus on squeezing the joy out of this very moment.



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