Need life advice? Read stories

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.

The issue with content today is that there are too many individual pieces of advice, tips, and suggestions all over the internet. Twitter is filled with clever one-liners. Instagram is brimming with quotes set upon a hustle-porn background. Books are getting shorter.

The problem with brevity is that it’s impossible to remember atomic pieces of content in a way that can enhance your life. I think that’s why children (and adults) don’t respond well to advise in the form of “don’t drink” or “drugs are bad for you” or “just say no”.

There’s a certain condescension with atomic pieces of content. It’s as if the author knows better than you and doesn’t care to bother convincing you of why what they’re saying is true.

I recently watched Zindagi Na Milega Dobara for the seventh time. The thing is, I’ve seen tweets and quotes saying exactly the same thing—” You only live once”. But this message strikes me on a deeper level when I watch the movie. When I watch the characters experience the beauty of nature, the kindness of strangers, the fleeting nature of emotions, the callousness of relatives, the vastness of the world around us, I truly believe that life is only lived once. I am convinced.

The best way to internalize an idea is to learn it through your experiences. The second best way is to learn it through someone else’s story. There’s something about a story—it’s one of the most effective ways to involve someone in a journey without them being physically present.

So, reading fiction and short stories will give you more memorable mental models than Twitter.

One of my goals in 2022 is to spend more time reading books and almost no time on social media (unless I’m creating content). I’m hoping to increase the amount of time I’m “involved” rather than “taught” or “told”.