This post is inspired by Tim Minchin's Occasional Address at the University of Western Australia...
In his words, "you might find some of this inspiring, you will definitely find some of it boring and you'll definitely forget all of it within a week."
So I don't forget, here are his nine life lessons. I've edited them heavily (sorry Tim), because I wanted to focus on the bits that I think are most relevant to ethical investing. I wonder if Tim Minchin invests ethically...
You can find the full transcript here (it's funnier in full).
Tim Minchin's 9 Life Lessons - heavily edited.
1. You don't have to have a dream... If you focus too far in front of you, you won't see the shiny thing out of the corner of your eye.
2. Don't seek happiness... keep busy and try to make someone else happy.... we didn't evolve to be content. Contented Homo Erectus got eaten before passing on their genes.
3. It's all luck, you are lucky to be here, you are incalculably lucky to have been born... I suppose I've worked hard to achieve whatever dubious achievements I've achieved, but I didn't make the bit of me that works hard... Understanding that you can't truly take credit for your successes or blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.
4. Exercise... You think therefore you are but also you jog therefore you sleep therefore you're not overwhelmed by existential angst... Take care of your body, you're going to need it.
5. Be hard on your opinions... A famous bon mot says that opinions are like arseholes in that everyone has one... I would add that opinions differ from arseholes in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined... We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others... Be intellectually rigorous, identify your biases... Most of society's arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies and then try to argue one point by arguing two entirely different sets of assumptions...
6. Be a teacher... If you're in doubt about what to do, be a teacher... Even if you're not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas.
7. Define yourself by what you love... We have a tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff, but try to also express your passion for things you love.
8. Respect people less powerful than you... I don’t care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful.
9. Don't rush... It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one, meaningless life of yours. Good luck.