Most of what makes people happy, healthy, and successful is boring. It’s trite. It’s things you’ve heard a thousand times before. The sad truth is that if you or I wrote down a list of all the things going wrong in our lives and allowed an average person to watch what we did day and night for a few weeks, they could probably tell us exactly what we’re doing wrong that’s causing us to fall short. An appalling percentage of life is no great mystery to a well-read person with a bit of life experience.
Want to be muscular? Go to the gym consistently and lift weights. Do progressively more weight each time you go in. Get a trainer.
Want to get good grades in school? Show up for class, pay attention, do your homework, study with friends, and get a tutor if you need it.
Want to get a raise? Show up early. Leave late. Work hard. Kiss the boss’ behind.
There are still plenty of mysteries, big debates, and unanswered questions in the universe, but there are also an awful lot of places where we KNOW the answers.
Dealing drugs? Bad idea. Trading out chips for fresh vegetables? Good idea. Finishing high school? Good idea. Living paycheck to paycheck? Bad idea. Starting smoking? Bad idea. Following a police officer’s instructions when he pulls you over? Good idea. Getting blackout drunk? Bad idea. Learning to drive a stick shift? Good idea. Getting into a fistfight on the subway? Bad idea. Tipping a waitress that gives you good service? Good idea. On and on it goes.
Success requires virtue, but sometimes (often?) virtue can feel boring. Important to live virtuously anyway.