Meaning where there is none

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Internationally acclaimed performer Tim Minchin bestows graduates of the University of Western Australia with wise words. Here are his 9 life lessons, that we simply love.

Life lesson 1. You don’t have to have a dream.

Dedicate yourself to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up.

Life lesson 2. Don’t seek happiness.

Happiness is like an orgasm: if you think about it too much, it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy, and you might find you get some as a side effect.

Life lesson 3. Remember, it’s all luck.

Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.

Life lesson 4. Exercise.

Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run… whatever… but take care of your body. You’re going to need it. Most of you mob are going to live to nearly a hundred, and even the poorest of you will achieve a level of wealth that most humans throughout history could not have dreamed of.

Life lesson 5. Be hard on your opinions.

A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has one. We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.

Life lesson 6. Be a teacher.

Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. Even if you’re not a Teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn, and spray it.

Life lesson 7. Define yourself by what you love.

Try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank-you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.

Life lesson 8. Respect people with less power than you.

I don’t care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful. So there.

Life lesson 9. Don’t rush.

Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, god, it’s tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you’ll be old. And then you’ll be dead.

Life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you’re doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running(!), being enthusiastic. And then there’s love, and travel, and wine, and sex, and art, and kids, and giving, and mountain climbing … but you know all that stuff already.