- Doubt. Everything could turn out fine, sure, but what if it doesn’t? To avoid disappointment, choose doubt as a default posture. Doubt the future, doubt others, and doubt your own abilities. Cling to the life preserver of low expectations and “believe it when you see it.”
- Assume the worst. Of others and of yourself. “There ain’t no free lunch,” so if you help someone else or are helped by them, ascribe an ulterior motive. To be safe, help others as little as possible.
- Feed your fear. If you read widely, deeply, and often, you’re likely to get smarter. Don’t do this. Ignore the wisdom of the ages, and instead, stay hyper-current on each day’s news (which is designed to stoke your fears by hijacking your attention and directing it to negative events over which you have no control). Let fleeting trivia push aside “monuments of unageing intellect.”
- Focus on what’s wrong. Look for negative events, and interpret them as evidence that the world is a hostile, dangerous place. Write off positive events as exceptions. If everyone around you starts to seem vaguely menacing, you’re on the right track!
- Embrace tribalism. See the world as simple. “We’re right and they’re idiots” should be your attitude. If things start looking too complex, revisit point #3.
To make your life better, flip each step on its head.