Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Don’t die.


There’s only one law of nature: if you survive, you win.

Be paranoid.
Avoid failure to survive.

For something to succeed, everything needs to go right.
For something to fail, only one thing needs to go wrong.

Don’t try to be more right.
Just be less wrong.

Avoiding failure leads to success.
The winner is usually the one who makes the least mistakes.
This is true in investing, extreme skiing, business, flying, and many other fields.
Win by not losing.

Most people die of cancer and heart disease.
So yes, avoid that.
But those who die from accidents die younger, losing more years of potential life.
So try even harder to avoid accidents.
Reduce risks.

What do you want out of life?
That’s hard to answer.
What don’t you want?
That’s easy.

More than anything, we want a lack of negatives.
A life with no pain, no injury, no regrets, and no disaster is a good life.
It’s easy to find joy in everyday things, if you can just avoid the bad.

Bad has more power.
Insults affect you more than compliments.
Injuries affect you more than back rubs.
Poison affects you more than medicine.
A great relationship or reputation built over years can be destroyed by one bad deed.
An otherwise perfect meal can be wrecked by one cockroach on the plate.

But a lack of negatives is harder to talk about.
So people focus on having the upsides in life.
Instead, focus on avoiding the downsides.

Most of eating healthy is just avoiding bad food.
Most of being right is just not being wrong.
To have good people in your life, just cut out the bad ones.

Don’t waste a single minute.
Life can be long if you use time wisely.
But wasting time brings death quicker.
Time is the only thing that can’t be replaced.

Death reminds us that time is limited and precious.
Without death, there would be no motivation.
Death gives value to life — gives us something to lose.

Keep your eye on death.
Avoid the mistakes that end life.
Avoid the negatives that wreck life.
Avoid the time-wasting that brings death sooner.