Life is difficult enough even when you don’t have nasty things happen, but you can easily avoid many of the problems and most of the suffering simply by mindfully choosing not to be stupid. The goal is not to be wise and thus to choose the best possible actions in all predictable situations, but not to be stupid and choose the worst possible action in many optional situations. That sounds simple enough, and yet once you become observant of other people’s actions and sensitive to wise acts and stupid ones, and just ordinary ones too, it is surprising how often people are doing unnecessarily stupid things.

Perhaps the stupidest thing you can frequently see people doing is putting themselves in physical danger through inattention to risks. For example, going to the driver’s side door when there are cars passing nearby at road speed, when they could wait a couple of seconds for the cars to pass, and then go to the door in perfect safety. Oh well, maybe that isn’t a good example as I’ve only had one acquaintance that I know of killed that way. Choosing an occupation of being a soldier sounds like a good career move, as you get to travel around the world and meet lots of strange and interesting people and kill them, but it had the down side for several of my personal friends getting killed themselves. And before I move on to cheerier things, my observation that smoking brings on really crappy health issues and an early death was verified with personal proofs by numerous friends. And, lest I forget to mention it, my observation was that my friends who drank alcohol to ease their anxiety about their life problems didn’t ease the problems much and shortened their lives considerably after physically wrecking them. And, lest I forget this unusual incident, being an illegal drug dealer terminated permanently rather suddenly for one of my coffee-shop acquaintances back in Berkeley. Also, being a radical politico seemed really cool back in the 60’s but for reasons I don’t understand, because I lost touch with those people, they have been reported to have checked out early.

I could go on at considerable length along this line, but the easy generalization is:

If you think you are about to do something stupid, you certainly are, so don’t.