New Year’s Acceptances

Rather than resolutions, I want to come to terms with a few things in 2017.

Accept that people hide their skeletons, which requires blind forgiveness of their quirks and moods because you’re unaware of what they’re dealing with. We’d all be nicer to each other if our hardest problems weren’t the ones we were least likely to make public.

Accept that few people have bad intentions, but lots of people do bad things because of bad incentives. This isn’t an excuse for bad behavior, but it helps you feel a little better about humanity.

Accept that people who have lived different lives have different views about what the world’s problems are. I might think your priorities are crazy not because they’re wrong, but because they’re addressing issues I don’t see in my own life. This is the root of most internet arguments.

Accept that choosing your college major at age 18 means many people end up in the wrong careers, so people you don’t think much of can be brilliant and insightful at things you never see.

Accept that rest is a key component of hard work. If this were as obvious in business as it is in exercise we’d all be more productive.

Accept that people have vastly different desires, except for two things: Respect, and control over their time. Those are nearly universal.

Accept that in 10 years you’ll realize a lot of stuff you believe today is wrong. (Most stuff if you’re under age 30; all stuff if under age 20.)

Accept that there’s little correlation between hard work and success, but lots of correlation between solving other people’s problems and success. No one cares if you moved a mountain. They only care if they needed the mountain moved in the first place.

Accept that every product we love today started out as a crazy-looking solution to a serious problem, which means should be more hopeful about solving serious problems and more accepting of crazy-looking solutions.

Accept that history is a continuous chain of accident, regret, error, miscalculation, bad decisions, unintended consequences, surprise, and misinformation – but things still got mostly better for most people, and most people meant well along the way.

Happy New Year.