Follow These Simple Tips for a Risk-Free Life:
Accept what people tell you at face value. Surround yourself with people who think like you. Don’t stand out. Stay close to home. Get a normal job. Do things the way everyone else does, because there has to be a method to the madness.
Go to college because someone said you should get a degree, not because you want to learn anything. Take four years to finish, or maybe even five. No one’s counting. Take out student loans to “invest in yourself.” Follow the plan in your course catalog even if you hate some of the classes. Believe your advisor when she says you have to do things a certain way. Jump through hoops. Check off boxes.
Use your credit card as your primary means of spending. Get the largest mortgage you can qualify for. Fill it with plasma TVs and expensive furniture. Buy a big, new car and complain about the cost of gas. Spend all you earn, or maybe even more than you earn. The government will help you if there’s a recession. Spend money on things you don’t want but will help you impress others.
Give token amounts of money to charity. Change the channel when a charity appeal comes on. Believe the 3,000 marketing messages that the average person in the U.S. and Canada receives every day. You need things you’ve never heard of before because they will help you feel better about yourself. You deserve to buy luxury products because you’ve earned the right through your hard work.
Go overseas once or twice in your life, to somewhere safe like England. Tell everyone what a great cross-cultural experience it was to visit London. (“They talk so differently over there!”) Wherever you go, make absolutely sure that you will be safe and comfortable. McDonald’s is now in 119 countries, so you can always find something good to eat.
If you want to be brave, go to somewhere like Mexico. Never travel unaccompanied to any place “really foreign.” Don’t try to speak any language other than English. If people don’t understand you, speak louder. Africa is for safaris and Asia is for cities with big shopping malls. Don’t drink the water!
Work at a job you don’t like for the majority of your professional life. Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work. One day, the corner cubicle will be all yours. Until then, get really good at Minesweeper. Read every article on CNN.com every day. Attend useless meetings. Take the credit when things go right. Put the blame on someone else when things go wrong. Never take responsibility for anything. When you fail at something, resolve to never try again.
Form alliances of convenience to survive office conflict. When you are forced to mediate a disagreement, make your judgment on the basis of personality instead of principle. To advance in management, don’t confront anyone and only give positive reviews. Instead of trying to fix big problems, focus on unproductive work that everyone notices. In times of crisis, wonder out loud what someone will do. Polish the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Don’t question authority; it’s there for a good reason. Believe in and actively defend “the way things used to be” even if your memory is hazy about when that actually was. Feel threatened by new ideas. Never be the voice of dissent. Support your country’s foreign policy when it is popular and reject it when it is unpopular. Don’t wonder about someone’s motivations for pursuing one choice over another.
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry about being average, because no one will ever question you about it. Average is the status quo. Politicians pander to the average out of political necessity. When they try to promote their own unconventional ideas, they quickly learn how risky it is to be truly different. If you go through life following this advice, you’ll find yourself in good company with virtually everyone who lives an unremarkably average life.
What more could you want?