You can not tell people how to be happy, but you can tell them how they will become miserable. If we avoid paths to misery, we increase our chances of a happy life. “I wish I knew where I was going to die, and then I’d never go there.”
Below are 7 paths for guaranteed misery in life, from Charles Munger’s 1986 Harvard Commencement speech, from the book “Seeking Wisdom” by Peter Bevelin. What surefire paths to misery would you add?
#1 Ingest chemicals in an effort to alter mood or perception
#4 Be unreliable
#5 Learn only from your personal experience
Avoiding to learn from the mistakes of others will surely bring you to misery.
How little originality is there in the common disasters of mankind – drunk driving deaths, […] conversion of bright college students into brainwashed zombies as members of destructive cults. […] “If at first you don’t succeed, well, so much for hang gliding.”
#6 Stay down when life knocks you to the floor
There is so much adversity out there, even for the lucky and wise, that [staying down when life gets tough] will be permanently mired in misery.
#7 Do not think backward
Approach the study of happiness by studying how not to be happy, in other words:
Approach “How to be X?”
By asking “How not to be X?”
This video is part of Charlie Munger’s commencement speech at USC. Find the transcript of the speech here.