Make Your Life Easier

4:19 AM Amer Bekic 0 Comments

1. Never, under any circumstances, forget that the other people around you (bus drivers, bums, tech support, cashiers, even those pesky people on the other side of that political issue you love arguing about) are human beings with about as much thought capacity as yourself. Not only does treating them well reflect well on you and make life less stressful for them, it also makes it a lot easier to understand how to approach problems that involve other people by giving you better insight into their minds.

2. Newton's First Law applies to a whole lot of things, not just physical objects in motion or at rest. If you are trying to change something big, the first step is not allowing it to stay totally motionless; making a change in your lifestyle doesn't happen all at once, you have to change the little things first. If you want to go from having almost no routine to having an organized one, you have to start by getting your available time set, i.e. having a regular sleep schedule. This starts with setting an alarm clock and not hitting the snooze button too much. Changing a smaller thing will make it much easier to change the larger thing; you've gotten the ball rolling. Once it has a bit of momentum, it will be relatively easy to keep it in motion.

3. Anger has few uses. It's only human to become angry at something, but the fact is that it rarely solves the problem in a satisfactory way. If you are debating a problem with someone, and they disagree with you, anger will only make you speak louder, not think straighter. Plus, it's much more likely that the other person will also get angry, and when was the last time an argument between two angry people ever got anywhere? Anger can be as justified as anything, but anger being more justified does not make it more useful (it doesn't help that people will often use anger as an excuse not to listen to you). Sometimes you just can't help it, but putting some effort into reigning it in a bit is worth it.

4. Honesty is a very important thing, for a few reasons. First, people will notice it, and you will get a reputation for honesty, and that's probably going to help you more than telling the truth about something negative will hurt you; when people trust you, they're likely to be more forgiving for something that's your fault, because they know you recognize it as a problem. Second, being trusted has plenty of other benefits; people like you more in general, and are more willing to be honest with you in turn. Third, when it becomes absolutely necessary for you to lie about something, if it happens at all, you're more likely to be believed. In short, if you sweep dirt under the rug all the time, it's going to be obvious if you ever have to move the rug. If you really clean it up, then you have more practice keeping things clean, and then when that thing that's too big to hide comes along, you're better prepared to deal with it.

5. Being intelligent is not going to win you arguments. Being right, in addition to knowing how to talk to people, is what wins you arguments. I've encountered very intelligent people who are very, very wrong about some things because their highly logical, valid arguments are based on faulty information. Even if you're very good with logic, and very smart, you can still be wrong about things if you don't know the real facts; this has happened to me on here, and it's how you learn new things. Don't be afraid of being wrong.

Now for the more pragmatic tips:

6. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy wasn't lying when it said towels were among the most useful things in the universe. You can use it as something to lie/sit on, folded up as a pillow, as a garment if you have no others, to tie things, as a makeshift bandage, a hand covering, carry things in it, as an umbrella if it rains suddenly, as a shield for small projectiles (it absorbs the force, and they just fall down), as a moderately effective brush (may damage or dirty the towel, but there are always more), and anything else you can think of to do with a flat, rectangular, absorbent, highly flexible piece of cloth. Similarly versatile/useful items (and especially good if you have more than one): metal wire or cable, scissors, crowbars/hammers, poles, rope/string/twine, bottles; don't try to emulate MacGyver, but if something is small and useful, it never hurts to have a few with you. Pen and paper pad is also good but its uses are a bit less versatile, if no less practical. Remember that raw materials are valuable because they have unresolved potential that you can make use of. You can also deconstruct things you can't use into those materials sometimes.

7. Take a CPR class. You don't have to take it again (unless it's required for a job or something, but you'd already know that). All you have to do afterward is refresh your memory of it now and again. Good. Now you're much better prepared to save a life than you were before.

8. Relating somewhat to #6, carry a sharpie (or washable marker, or both) with you everywhere. If you lack paper, a washable marker could be used on clothing, or a permanent one on skin, for when you need a reminder but don't have anywhere else to write it.

9. Keep your alarm clock out of reach of your bed. If you put it across the room, or better yet, somewhere else entirely (but still easily audible), you are forced to get out of bed and get moving to turn it off. Once you're out, it's easier to stay out, and then you can get started with your day.

10. If you want to make something secure, don't bother investing in heavy security (unless you're talking about something big; you can't use this tip for your house, car, or furniture); hide it. There's nothing more secure than something that isn't seen at all. Take keys for instance; you want to have a spare key for your front door, and don't want to just have it under the mat because it's too obvious (and only that because people figured out that hiding was a good tactic). Tape it to the underside of your mailbox; paint a pill bottle brown or black and hang it from a twig in a hedge; put it on top of the doorframe; there are a million places you could hide this thing where nobody but the hider would ever find it, especially if they were looking for it. If you were a burglar, would you want to spend more than a few minutes at the scene? The same goes for valuables in the house (the ones you didn't want to display, at least): it'd be pretty simple to make a false bottom for a nightstand drawer just thick enough to hide a laptop or some jewelry in; then it'd be safe whenever you left it at home, and it'd be no more difficult to access than before. You could hollow out a book or two and keep it on a shelf with real ones, or gut an old VHS tape and store it with other old ones. You could probably keep an old shirt or two in your closet in the back, and hide things in the pockets or sleeves (you could alter it a little, it wouldn't be very visible). For things you didn't need frequent access to, you could put a bit more effort into, making secret compartments under/behind tiles or bricks, or in any suitable empty space that could be accessed without having to break anything; you could have a few large stuffed animals or cushions that had zippers to allow access to the stuffing.

Any of these strategies would make stealing your valuables harder to do without time or some prior knowledge of the interior of your house, and all would be exponentially more effective if you got cheap decoys (a cheap safe filled with rocks or bits of metal or a softer material to give the impression of money; an older, broken laptop or other piece of tech; maybe even an expired credit card or two (it wouldn't be a hard trick to miss at first in a hurry); maybe a fake spare key, hidden poorly, that didn't work in your lock, which would both frustrate them and waste their time). These tricks may not work against more intelligent or careful criminals, but it would at least make their work a bit harder. These could also be used to keep dangerous or restricted items out of the hands of children, even the resourceful ones who might figure out a way to climb on top of the fridge or reach that highest shelf somehow.

To make your own life easier in general, make a habit of stopping before you begin on a common course of action (if you have the time or energy to spare) and think on what the other options are, and see if there's one that might be quicker, easier, or yielding of better results.