Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Make memories.


You recently had a day, or even a month, that you can’t remember.
If I asked what you did then, you couldn’t say.
There was nothing unusual about it.

What if you have many more of those?
What if, when you’re older, you can’t recall entire years?
If you can’t remember something, it’s like it never happened.
You could have a long healthy life, but if you can’t remember it, it’s like you had a short life.
What a horrible way to live.

When you’re young, time goes slowly because everything is new.
When you get older, time flies by, forgotten, because you’re not having as many new experiences.

You need to prevent this.
Monotony is the enemy.
Novelty is the solution.

Go make memories.
Do memorable things.
Experience the unusual.
Pursue novelty.
Replace your routines.
Live in different places.
Change your career every few years.
These unique events will become anchors for your memories.

Remember them all.
Document everything, or you’ll eventually forget it.
Nobody can erase your memories, but don’t lose them through neglect.

Journal every day.
Write down your activities, thoughts, and feelings for future reference.

Video everything.
Compile and edit them, so they’re appealing to watch.

To enjoy your past is to live twice.
Nostalgia links your past and present.
Nostalgia protects against stress and boredom, and improves your mood.
Nostalgia makes you more optimistic, more generous, more creative, and more empathetic.
Nostalgia is memories minus the pain.
Being nostalgic makes you less afraid to die.

Turn your experiences into stories.
A story is the remains of an experience.
Make your stories entertaining, so people like to hear them.
By telling good stories, your memories can last longer, because people will echo them back to you occasionally, or ask you to tell them again.

Make a story for the things you want to remember.
Never make a story for the things you want to forget.
Let those disappear with time.

Your memories are a mix of fact and fiction.
Your story about an experience overwrites your memory of the actual experience.
So use this in your favor.
Re-write your past.
Embellish adventures.
Disempower trauma.
Re-write your stories into whatever works for you.
Remember only what you want to remember.
You have the right to reframe.

Summarize a painful time into a tiny story — under a minute.
Tell this belittled version a few times to make it stick.
This is the version you’ll remember — stripped of pain and power.

How you feel about anything is based on how you look back at it.
Your memory is influenced by how you feel now.
In a bad mood, you might see only the dark side of events that are actually neutral.
In a good mood, you might see the bright side of trauma.

The more something means to you, the more you’ll remember it.
Give moments meaning to remember them.
Take away meaning to forget.

You remember what’s important.
The first time you were burned, you didn’t try to remember that fire is hot.
It hurt, so your brain remembered it effortlessly.
When you make a big mistake and want to learn its lesson, deliberately amplify the pain, the deep regret, and the consequences.
Keep the bad feelings vivid and visceral.
Make the lesson memorable, so you won’t do it again.

Without memories, you have no sense of self.
You have to remember your past to see your trajectory.
You use your past to make your future.

Making memories is the most important thing you can do with your life.
The more memories you create, the longer and richer your life feels.
Making memories is how to live.