“9–5 jobs are the way to go.”

“Jobs are a terrible idea, they are a way to keep you enslaved to a paycheck.”

“You live one life — live a life of adventure.”

“Why take risks? Play it safe.”

We hear such pieces of advice all the time. The people who give these advice believe strongly in their words. They believe their approach is the only way to go.

Life, on the other hand, doesn’t confine you in a box. Life offers you a variety of ways to live, based on your nature and preferences.

Which is good news — life would be pretty stale if there was just one approach everyone needed to follow.

Evaluate if The Self-Help Advice Applies to You

Self-help books have a bad rep.

Unfairly so, in my opinion. Way too many people live miserable lives because they are wedded to less-than-desirable mindsets. Self-help serves to show them better ways to look at life. Better mindsets to adopt. Better ways to act — with urgency. 

However, advice doesn’t come in one-size-fits-all pouches.

Advice that works well for me can be the last thing you need. And that is the way life operates, variety is the order of life. 

What does this mean?

You must evaluate if a piece of advice is right for you. 

Here is an example.

“Spend more time with family”. You must have seen this advice online, as well as in self-help books. This is excellent advice if you are a workaholic who makes six-figures and spend every waking minute focusing on your work. If you live paycheck-to-paycheck and constantly stress about money, “spend more time with family” is terrible advice. Your first order of business is to earn sufficient income for your family. The last thing your family will want is your presence when you should be elsewhere working to put bread on the table.

Derek Sivers Offers 27 Ways to Live a Good Life

Derek Sivers wrote a superb book in 2021 titled How to Live.

In 27 chapters, he offers 27 ways to live. In his description of the book, he refers to them as “27 conflicting ways”. 

The first chapter tells the reader that being independent is the way to live. Sivers goes into great depth to make a case for eschewing dependence from every quarter.

The very next chapter tells the reader committing to something is the way to live — directly contradicting the previous advice.

Well, which of these is right? 


Depending on the mindset and preferences of the reader, one person could prefer independence in its entirety, and another person could commit deeply to people, to community, to society. A third person could choose a middle path — commit in some areas, and remain independent in others.

And remember, these are just the first two chapters of the book. Sivers offers 25 other approaches to lead a good life. 

The point, of course, is there is no one way to live a good life.

Politics is a Prime Example of Narrow Thinking

Politics is a topic banned in several online forums.

For good reason. People are convinced of their points of view. So much so that they refuse to listen to the other person’s perspective. Stories about couples divorcing because of disagreements on political views are aplenty. 

The truth likely lies in the middle. 

If opposing parties can work together to objectively try and solve issues, the world would be a sublime place.

I’m allowed to dream 🙂

Ignore the Noise

People believe their way is the best way.

Even intelligent people.

This means that when people adopt an approach that is opposite to yours, they will tell you you are wrong. Because they genuinely think you are wrong. 

You want to ignore the noise and keep going your way.

What about the times when you are actually wrong? 

Well, if you keep an open mind, remain flexible, and evaluate their opinion objectively, you have a good chance to change course and adopt their advice. 

Live and Let Live

You’ve successfully shut out the noise.

Good for you. You’re living life on your terms, and exploring life in great depth. 

Now you must not fall into the trap of imposing your definition on other people. Let them do their thing. Let them make their choices. Like you made yours.


And let live. 

There is No One Way to Live Life

Let us celebrate the variety life offers us.

Let us encourage diverse opinions.

Let us make follow different approaches and respect one another.

Let us disagree respectfully and politely.

Let us live a glorious life.

Image Credit: Clay Banks on Unsplash