12 things the wise man taught me

The application in my life is indeed a work in progress

Douglas Kendyson
5 min readFeb 12, 2024

Today I’m taking a page from Nduka’s book of tweeting while buzzed and typing this as I nurse a never-ending come down from a very chaotic weekend — I swore I’d never do this, YET.

As someone that goes to great lengths to avoid seeing physical markers (somewhat successfully, I should add), I’ve been so surprised and shaken by the mental ones that keep flying over me like dementors.

It’s pretty common for me to randomly remember some of his lessons as I go about my day, but something might’ve shifted in the past week, because everyday seemed to have its own specific reminder of some lesson the wise man repeatedly taught me. It’s been truly something. While these lessons have my name all over them, they’re also universal, so it makes sense to share this so everyone gets a peice!

Only a few of these have been rephrased for clarity, enjoy!

  1. A good place to start is to make peace with the fact that life’s lessons will not always be novel. Sometimes they’re the same thing you already know but in a different packaging and yes, you have to scale through all the many different forms they will come in.
  2. Next, there’s a lesson for each season and it’s in your best interest to learn and apply it as soon as possible, else you’ll have to come back to it again, as many times as it’ll take for you to actually learn it, so please give your future self some peace.
  3. Somewhat like #2: You can’t get away from doing the work. Whatever interpretation of work you applied, you’ll still come to the conclusion: The work has to be done, someone has to do it and that someone is you.
  4. Lessons are a GREAT part of life, get into them. If you’re someone that takes a lot of pride in being right, lessons might feel like a failure or indictment on you, but they’re really not, please try to remember that. Also, what even is failure?
  5. You need to be patient with yourself first. If that sounds impossible to you right now, you’re not alone. The good news is, self compassion is a skill you can learn. In RuPaul’s voice: If you can’t be patient with yourself how can you be patient with others?
  6. Revolutionary, ground breaking, never ever been said before: Slow down and think. Mindfulness is also a skill you can learn. Who knew?
  7. If you relish in playing the devil’s advocate or you’re someone that brags about how quick you can spot a flaw in anything, this lesson is for you. Seeing the positive or silver lining in things is an intentional choice. They will not always come to you, it’s your job to identify them and in a lot of cases if you try there will always be something positive to count. The hope is, by focusing more on the positive, the negative won’t weigh so heavily on you. Can’t lie, for a while I considered that “choice” a character flaw but it’s apparently the right thing to do to live a happy life. Thanks Nimi for calling me out that day I was moving mad, I love you😩
  8. Speaking of the right thing to do, a quote from a book that has stuck with me lately is “Do you want to be right or be effective?” The first time I read that, I murmured “I want to be right” — yes, I will also be speaking to my therapist about that. I love the quote because it encapsulates the lesson of choosing to do what’s right over being right. Your ego called and they want some time off. It’s important to remember you will not be right all the time and that’s okay. If your sense of self is hinged on being right all the time this lesson might not go down your throat easily, lube up.
  9. A 2 for 1 special! 1) You don’t have to react 2) but if you do, it doesn’t have to be in the moment. You can always take some time to cool off and come back to it later. If you’re honest with yourself, you’d realize your immediate response is not needed in everything. Taking some time away gives you the opportunity to ..THINK.. and who knows, you might actually come to some new realizations. My latest attempt practicing this wasn’t the smoothest but that won’t stop me from trying again.
  10. Still on work, a common thread in a lot of success stories is simply the person waking up one day, saying they want to do X and going to do X. We’re usually the ones that tend to add a lot of extra meaning and pizzazz to these stories when we recount them. It’s very unlikely a sign will fall out of heaven with instructions on what you should do next, you have a say, you can decide and just go for it.
  11. Your old tools don’t work anymore, change them! As your life evolves, some of your old tools won’t work as they used to, some might not even work at all, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a normal part of life and it’s also an indicator you’re not the same person you were yesterday — a good thing. So it’s your choice to stay stuck because you’re trying to get incompatible tools to work or go pick up new tools that match the updated version of you and get to work!
  12. It’s important to apply some nuance to this final lesson: make peace with reality. There’s so much that can be said about this, one good takeaway is learn to accept what’s true and ignore the inconsequential things. They’re literally inconsequential. That being said, the real work is separating the wheat from the chaff — a skill that can be learned and perfected with practice.

Clearly, he is very wise.

I should also add that I wrote this article for myself, mainly as a physical marker of some of the important things to never forget. As if I could, sigh.

It’s not an exaggeration when I say he has a thousand more lessons on things like this, but I was hoping to keep this article short and cute, plus 12 seems like the perfect listicle number. Quite frankly, a good number of the other lessons are things only God, my therapist and I should know.



Douglas Kendyson

I write essays I’d like to read and it’s usually for a very specific audience // Building Selar.co // douglas@selar.co