Things I write about.

Why do we exist?

What it means to be human. A set of principles to help you live a good life.

Be good to other humans. You might wonder, “what does ‘good’ mean? Let’s define it so we’re clear.” To that I say — if you get rid of all the shit that is clouding your thoughts, deep down you know what good means. Be good.

Ask questions. Be curious. Stop spending your life gathering right answers. Don’t fall in love with your ideas and accept everything new you encounter as rules to follow. (Even this list of ideas). Make up your own mind about a thing. Share it with others so they can make up their own mind about things too. And be okay when what they think is different than what you think.

Stop trying to define yourself. And while you’re at it, stop trying to define everyone else. From an early age we’re given labels to define who we are. Woman, man, daughter, mother, manager, friend, scientist, teacher, doctor, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist. The list goes on.

But here’s the thing — a label is just a collection of ideas summed up in a single word to help others define you. Labels help others know what they should be talking to you about. Labels can also help you find other people with labels that are like yours, so that you feel like you belong. But underneath all your labels, you’re just a collection of atoms that has evolved into a human being.

Once you remove the labels, you’ll start to relate to other humans on a higher plane. Human to human. Try having a conversation at that level once in a while. It will blow your mind.

Be happy now. Don’t miss out on opportunities so you can be happy later. Acquiring a thing or reaching a goal will never make you happy.

Even better, be in flow. Accept the ups and downs. No matter the situation, be and exude love. Be and exude joy. When you bring others joy, you will feel joyful, which will feel good. But remember not to get too attached to the feeling of goodness. It too, will pass.

Know that other humans are going through the same thing you are. Remember that when you look into the eyes of someone you think you hate.

Make things that make other people’s lives better. Make things that bring other people joy. Make things that bring every other species on this earth joy. Make things that bring joy to the environment and help it flourish.

Remember that it’s not about YOU. It’s about Us. All of us, doing the things on this list together. We won’t be able to do everything perfectly all the time, and we’ll probably fail more than we succeed in our many attempts.

But it’s the attempts that will make the difference. Once we start, we’ll notice a slight shift in ourselves as we grow through our shared experiences. And if we’re all shifting, can you imagine the change that we can create together?

Reema Al-Zaben