What I Took From You

A few months ago, I started thinking about all the things I got from other people. I noticed things like how I have different laughs that come from different people. When I started making the list though, it turned into mostly what I’ve learned from other people.

Without further delay, here are some of the lessons other people have taught me and other things I picked up from them.


  • Introduced me to the Venture Brothers.
  • Find out who needs help laughing and help them. Everybody will be happier. Surrounding yourself with happy people will make you happy. Doing this regularly will give you a happy life.
  • Remember to be generous, even to the ungrateful and nonreciprocating (but more so to the grateful and nonreciprocating).

Chris Ramm

  • Introduced me to good music, video games, fine art, movies, literature, and most other things. I’ve known him longer than anybody, so this was easy.
  • Even if you know for certain that you will win doesn’t mean you have to fight.
  • Trying to be different is just as mindless as trying to conform. Don’t worry about that stuff at all and you’ll be just fine, and plenty rebellious.
  • If you suddenly find that your tastes or interests have changed, then move forward. It doesn’t have to be permanent, and it doesn’t have to be temporary either. You can go back anytime, too. Life is an adventure like that. Never be ashamed of changing tracks.
  • Integrity means acting in accordance with your own beliefs just as much as not bowing down to other people’s beliefs. Sometimes this will mean upsetting others, no matter how gentle you really are.
  • Loyalty is when love shows itself most clearly.

Christopher Villareal

  • Brought me into the open source world and introduced me to most anime.
  • Everybody wants a little respect and praise. Find a way to give it to them (but stay honest always). Tactfulness is 99% of everything.
  • Working with others does not mean letting them walk over you. If others start to disrespect you, then don’t stick around and act childishly with them. Don’t wave attract attention to what happened, but don’t hide it either. Just have a spine and leave.
  • Don’t deprive yourself because of vanity. If you think there’s something embarrassing about something you want to do, then have the self-discipline to set that aside and just go for it. Have fun, and in a counter-intuitive way, let the embarrassment add to the fun if possible.
  • It’s okay to be shy, but don’t let it be a problem, and definitely don’t intentionally exacerbate it.


  • Introduced me to computers as fun things to fiddle with (we even sang David Pogue songs together in 5th grade) and Dungeons & Dragons. Didn’t realize that so much of my geekiness stemmed from him until now. Thanks a lot, Collin.
  • It can make perfect sense for somebody to be rational as well as spontaneous.
  • It is irrational to live a life without spontaneity.
  • You don’t lose your sentience and become an animal when you start feeling attracted to the opposite sex. It’s okay.


  • Original partner in appreciation of giant robots. Introduced me to numerous sci-fi shows.
  • Not all people with valid opinions have to debate a lot or carry on until they “win” when they do.
  • When somebody is spouting nonsense, often it doesn’t deserve any response.


  • Introduced me to Linux and is my original sushi buddy.
  • Know where you really are on the ladder and act appropriately. Don’t present yourself as any more of an expert or novice than you are. Speak confidently when you know what you’re talking about, but try not to patronize.
  • Don’t hold back praise for others when they do something you admire, and if somebody is looking up to you, then try to pull them up to your level without holding back.
  • It is much wiser to view discussions as collaborations instead of conflicts. The only possible prize that anybody can leave with is to be liberated from fallacies they once had. Otherwise, you’re stuck with short-term pride and hurt feelings.


  • Introduced me to most of the ridiculous web memes that I know.
  • Something’s enjoyability is absolutely irrelevant to its moral acceptability, so stop being judgmental and feeling guilty. Enjoy life.
  • Being serious all the time isn’t good, smart, or fun.
  • Sexuality is a spectrum, and a very big one. Acknowledging this doesn’t make you gay, bi, or anything. But it does make other people make more sense.


  • Introduced me to Coke Zero and rekindled my appreciation of double-bladed lightsabers.
  • A glance and a pause is often all it takes to help somebody stop and put his or herself in your shoes and know exactly what you mean.
  • Do not hold back how much you love your family.
  • Allow yourself to be passionate about whatever interests you, but you don’t need to bounce off the walls.
  • A bit of edginess is good for everybody. Root for the villain every once in a while.


  • Introduced me to German-style board games.
  • Being mindful of your own interests doesn’t mean you’re selfish. You can care about yourself and others at the same time, and if others try to get you to do things that are against your interest, then they’re the ones being selfish.
  • Don’t worry about becoming a leader or follower. Instead, just focus on doing whatever it is that you want to actually do with people.


  • Introduced me to evolutionary biology and atheism. (My old church would like a word with you.)
  • Any analytical process that doesn’t consider other people’s feelings isn’t all that analytical.
  • If you want happiness, help others be happy.
  • Expertise does not justify arrogance.
  • It is absolutely fine to walk around in your underwear in your own home every once in a while.


  • Introduced me to Mad Magazine and brownies. Yes, I had brownies before I started going over to his house, but understand that him sharing his mother’s brownies with me in elementary school made me a lifelong chocoholic.
  • Don’t let anybody tell you that being more logical means having less heart or vice versa.
  • You don’t always have to have an opinion at all. Remember that not everything matters. In fact, most things don’t.


  • Introduced me to Starcraft (and then made me hate it later by kicking my ass at it) and rekindled my appreciation of football.
  • Find out where your interests overlap with other people’s interests. Do not turn life into a zero-sum game.
  • If you can set boundaries with people at the beginning without making them feel like boundaries, then you’ll be happier.


  • Introduced me to roller coasters that go upside-down (but I’m still sort of a wuss).
  • Experiment. Be creative. Be playful. Enjoy life. Try not to worry about things that will stop you from doing those four things.
  • If you are honest, then people will understand you and will probably like being with you.
  • When you’re excited, let yourself be excited, and let others be excited with you. You’re as boring as you are foolish if you don’t.


  • Introduced me to good music made after the year 1995 or so, a bunch of television shows, and the cardigan sweater.
  • Having a sensitive or romantic mind is not pathetic or weak.
  • I am not the only person on earth who empathizes and wants to help others.
  • If you want to know somebody, start by finding out what they are proud of and don’t step on that if you don’t have to.
  • Girls are not out to get me.


  • Introduced me to beer (in moderation) and fashion (in moderation).
  • Everything can be put on a number scale. It’s a great way of forcing yourself to assess how you feel about things.
  • Being able to appreciate material things does not make you materialistic. Denying yourself any small happiness under the pretense of not being materialistic is just as externally dependent as being obsessed with things.
  • Find out what other people’s goals are, and if you have any goals yourself, then don’t lose your focus on them.

If you weren’t on the list, then please don’t feel slighted. I didn’t do my parents either and they’d both have the most bullet points if I put them on here, so you’re in good company. Also, it’s 3:45 in the morning now.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 at 4:45 am and is filed under My Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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