The 12 Easiest Ways To Avoid An Untimely Death

Dr. Doug McGuff is an emer­gency physi­cian in South Car­olina. He has com­piled a list of twelve tips on avoid­ing what he calls ‘neg­a­tive Black Swan events’—an early death from things we con­sider unlikely (but in reality are quite recurrent to emer­gency physicians). His advice prevent you from offing yourself prematurely is this:

  1. Drive the biggest vehi­cle you can afford to drive.
  2. It goes without saying to wear your seatbelts, and you should be engulfed by as many air bags as possible. If we were truly rational about risk, all seat belts would be 5-point restraints and we would wear helmets while driving.

  3. Never get on a 4-wheeler ATV.
  4. I would also suggest that you not get on a jetski or get in the water in areas where jetskis are running about.

  5. Do not road cycle or jog on pub­lic roads/roadsides.
  6. Do not fly a plane or heli­copter unless you are a full-time pro­fes­sional pilot.
  7. If you are walk­ing down a side­walk and are approach­ing a group of loud and appar­ently intox­i­cated males, cross to the other side of the street imme­di­ately. If con­fronted, run.
  8. The best advice is to avoid a potentially physical confrontations.

  9. If your gas grill won’t start… walk away.
  10. Never dive into a pool or body of water (except in a pool div­ing area marked 9 feet or deeper after you have checked it out feet-first).
  11. Always make your first dive in a pool that is new to you feet first even if it’s clearly marked.

  12. Never get on a lad­der to clean your gut­ters, or on your roof to hang Christ­mas lights. Do not cut down trees with a chainsaw.
  13. In general, any house or lawn work that you can hire for an amount equal to or less than your own hourly wage is money well spent.

  14. If you are retire­ment age and plan on mov­ing to a new home… think twice.
  15. A change in living conditions can be an extremely stressful life event. The stress pushes many seniors over the edge.

  16. If any­one tries to force you into your car or car trunk at gun point, don’t cooperate.
  17. Fight and scream all you can even if you risk getting shot in the parking lot. If you get in the car, you will most likely die (or worse).

  18. If you are in any per­sonal or pro­fes­sional rela­tion­ship that exhausts you or oth­er­wise causes you recur­rent dis­tress, then end the rela­tion­ship immediately.
  19. Don’t play the lot­tery… you might win.
  20. Any unearned wealth, or wealth that is disproportionate to the objective value you provide will destroy you. Lottery winners and Sports/Movie stars share a common bond of disproportionate rates of depression, addiction, and suicide.


Principles Of Being An Adult

Many years ago, on the eve of his 30th birthday, John Perry Barlow sat down and created a list of guiding principles to being an adult. A few weeks ago he shared them all. I thought it was a great list so I assembled all here from his twitter feed.

  • Be patient. No matter what.
  • Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
  • Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
  • Expand your sense of the possible.
  • Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.<
  • Don’t ask more of others than you can deliver yourself.
  • Tolerate ambiguity.
  • Laugh at yourself frequently.
  • Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
  • Try not to forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
  • Give up blood sports.
  • Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
  • Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
  • Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
  • Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
  • Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
  • Praise at least as often as you disparage.
  • Admit your errors freely and quickly.
  • Become less suspicious of joy.
  • Understand humility.
  • Remember that love forgives everything.
  • Foster dignity.
  • Live memorably.
  • Love yourself.
  • Endure.

Also from Mr. Barlow, who considers himself “an excellent ex”, comes this tweeted bit of advice: