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As life progresses, those who claim to understand the world carelessly throw pieces of advice around. On the surface, these quips of knowledge seem to be legitimate. But after thinking about what is actually going on, the flaws become increasingly apparent. Don’t let the following pieces of advice ensnare you in their trap.

“Live life on the edge.”

If I were given a dollar every time I saw some cheesy graphic with this saying plastered on it, I would have enough money to build a Larger Hadron Collider. While the thought of living every day of life to its fullest sounds quite grand and glamorous, the actual implementation of such a motto would be disastrous in the long run. If every single day is a go, go, go type of day, not only will the more subtle niceties of life be completely blown over, but living in such a manner will put too much strain on the body. Mankind, while quite resilient, was not built to sustain high levels of stress for prolonged periods. That said, take a break, smell the roses. Don’t live life on the edge. Instead, live life how you want to live it. And, more importantly, be more sensible than the fourteen-year-old girl who boasts this advice on her MySpace icon.

“If it’s meant to be, then it’ll happen.”

I know that the universe favors entropy, but if the human populace were to limit what it could do based on the biases of the universe, then mankind would be nowhere near its current level of scientific advancement. Not only would abiding by this lovely nugget of knowledge stunt growth, but it also doesn’t make much sense. Say, for example, that I am hungry. If I’m not meant to be hungry, then food will somehow make its way to my stomach. Unless the millions of neutrinos passing through my body nourish me, I don’t see how this could work. While this example seems rather silly or contrived, the same logic can be applied to anything that anyone wants in life. Want that UROP position? Well, if it’s meant to be, then it’ll happen. How about that summer internship? Yup, same thing. An A on the midterm? Just let the ether of knowledge flowing through the universe take care of that. Instead of quelling any thoughts of responsibility by hanging onto this piece of advice, just go for it. Keep trying different things, keep pushing on. If the effort seems to be more than the worth, then perhaps it is the goal that needs to be altered.

“Don’t be angry. Life is too short for that.”

I find this piece of seemingly insightful advice about the human condition to be ironic since it tends to make me mad. Don’t be angry? Don’t be sad? Don’t be anything other than a plastic Barbie Doll with a perpetual smile painted on the face? Yes, life is short, but how does anyone know what it means to be happy if there is nothing else but happiness? If the only emotion that mankind were capable of experiencing were happiness, then the whole concept of being anything other than happy would not even exist. As a result, this construct of only being cheerful would effectively destroy emotions — in essence, people would no longer feel anything. I am unsure of the rest of the populace, but as for myself, I would much rather experience all aspects of human feelings — such a range of emotions makes those happy moments that much sweeter. So feel sad when the occasion arises. Be angry when life is infuriating. Experience life as it’s meant to be — a colored spectrum of human emotions.

While these common recommendations of how to lead one’s life give a great first impression, the true meaning behind the words actually, and quite frankly, stinks. In order to avoid being suckered by the pleasant sounding pieces of advice, question what is being said and don’t take any sayings at face value. If not, then you might end up like Facebook, changing the layout for no apparent reason because the alterations sounded like a good idea. Please, just don’t.