Life is not as difficult as people think; all one needs is a good set of rules. Since it is probably too late for you, here are some guidelines to pass along to your children.
1. Relax and take it easy. Don't get caught up in hollow conceits such as "doing something with your life." Such twaddle is outmoded and a sure formula for disappointment.
2. Whatever it is you pursue, try to do it just well enough to remain in the middle third of the field. Keep your thoughts and ideas to yourself and don't ask questions. Remember, the squeaky wheel is the first one to be replaced.
3. Size people up quickly, and develop rigid attitudes based on your first impression. If you try to delve deeper and get to "know" people, you're asking for trouble.
4. Don't fall for that superstitious nonsense about treating people the way you would like to be treated. It is a transparently narcissistic approach, and may be the sign of a weak mind.
5. Spend as much time as you can pleading and impressing others, even if it makes you unhappy. Pay special attention to shallow manipulators who can do you the most harm. Remember, in the overall scheme, you count for very little.
6. Surround yourself with inferiors and losers. Not only will you look good by comparison, but they will look up to you, and that will make you feel better.
7. Don't buy into the sentimental notion that everyone has shortcomings; it's the surest way of undermining yourself. Remember, the really best people have no defects. If you're not perfect, something is wrong.
8. If by some off chance you do detect a few faults, first, accept the fact that you are probably deeply flawed. Then make a list of your faults and dwell on them. Carry the list around and try to think of things to add. Blame yourself for everything.
9. Beware of intuition and gut instincts, they are completely unreliable. Instead, develop preconceived notions and don't waver unless someone tells you to. Then change your mind and adopt their point of view. But only if they seem to know what they're talking about.
10. Never give up on an idea simply because it is bad and doesn't work. Cling to it even when it is hopeless. Anyone can cut and run, but it takes a very special person to stay with something that is stupid and harmful.
11. Always remember, today doesn't count. Trying to make something out of today only robs you of precious time that could be spent daydreaming or resting up.
12. Try to dwell on the past. Think of all the mistakes you've made, and how much better it would be if you hadn't made them. Think of what you should have done, and blame yourself for not doing so. And don't go easy. Be really hard on yourself.
13. If by chance you make a fresh mistake, especially a costly one, try to repeat it a few times so you become familiar with it and can do it easily in the future. Write it down. Put it with your list of faults.
14. Beware also of the dangerous trap of looking ahead; it will only get you in trouble. Instead, try to drift along from day to day in a meandering fashion. Don't get sidetracked with some foolish "plan."
15. Finally, enjoy yourself all the time, and do whatever you want. Don't be seduced by that mindless chatter going around about "responsibility." That's exactly the sort of thing that can ruin your life.