Old Advice

blue birthday cake with candles

Kevin Kelly, one of the founders of Wired and now “Senior Maverick” for the magazine, turned 68 last week and felt like “pulling up a rocking chair and dispensing advice to the young ‘uns”. So, as bloggers are inclined to do, he wrote a post offering “68 pithy bits of unsolicited advice”.

As someone who started my 69th year on this earth a couple of months ago,1 my only unsolicited advice is that you read his list. It’s a great collection of down-to-earth wisdom, but here are my five favorite nuggets.

Don’t be the smartest person in the room. Hangout with, and learn from, people smarter than yourself. Even better, find smart people who will disagree with you.

If you are looking for something in your house, and you finally find it, when you’re done with it, don’t put it back where you found it. Put it back where you first looked for it.

There is no limit on better. Talent is distributed unfairly, but there is no limit on how much we can improve what we start with.

Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.

Acquiring things will rarely bring you deep satisfaction. But acquiring experiences will.

Especially that last one.

The picture “blue birthday cake with candles” was posted to the Flickr account of g4ll4is and is used here under a Creative Commons license.

1. I’ve never been one to “celebrate” birthdays, or other milestones that mark the passing of time. We should celebrate people and their actual achievements (big and small), instead of how many days/weeks/months/years it took to get from point A to point B.

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