Five of Life’s Little Instructions
When H. Jackson Brown Jr. was sending his son off to school, he left him with a list of instructions. They were all little lifehacks if you will to help him be a happy and successful adult. There are a few of these instructions that are worth highlighting and if you enjoy this post feel free to purchase the book here. I highly recommend it!
The numbers denote where they are in the book. There’s 511 instructions in total.
164. Be punctual and insist on it in others.
One of the many criticisms students (and recent graduates) receive from old people is that we aren’t punctual. It’s not annoying when you show up fashionably late to a party but when you are late for class, particularly a small one it can disrupt the lecture and the focus of your fellow students. In the workplace it’s unprofessional and could lead to the loss of job.
Being late doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re lazy either. If you find that you’re late to things because you have so much to do, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your college experience. Follow the next instruction and you’ll be alright.
293. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Learn to say no quickly and politely.
There are a lot of people coming at you with different opportunities at school, especially during the first couple weeks of the semester. You’ll be asked to Rush, Pledge, go to meetings, sporting events among other things. It’s really overwhelming because you don’t want to miss anything…duh. But, the truth is you need to find out what extra curricular activities are the best for you. Trust me, those guys will be around next semester asking you if you want to rush.
186. Be insatiably curious. Ask why a lot.
This is probably the most important thing you could do in college. Having critical thinking skills is what propels change. People thinking outside of the box and realizing that the lense you are viewing something through is skewed one way or another. This is also applicable when thinking about how you are going about studying. Remember, work smarter not harder.
421. Take care of your reputation. It’s your most valuable asset.
In the era of starting a personal brand on the internet this couldn’t be more true. People in positions of (hiring) power want to make sure they are getting class acts; not some dope who gets black out drunk and runs around in their unmentionables.
It’s also important to keep tabs on your offline persona. How you act around campus could help or hurt your future. Whether you’re trying to be an RA, running for president of student government or are in need of help picking your books up after dropping them all over the hallway.
326. Remember winners do what losers don’t want to do.
In the context of effort, this is totally true. This isn’t instructing you to steal answers to a test. People who go the extra mile, tend to be more successful. Having technology and other shortcuts can substitute for a morning or night, where you buckle down and wreck a week’s worth of homework leaving room for a bit of well deserved partying. With that being said, go the extra mile and don’t cut corners.
Some parts of the list in the book are outdated. For instance in the introduction he mentions that his son Adam is took a typewriter to school. A lot of these “instructions” still hold true now when notebooks and smartphones are the go-to college accessories.