John Lennon Almost Got it Right
“All you need is love,” right? Well, no. Almost.
What if you felt love, but couldn’t convey it? What if you were truly loved, but never knew?
Lennon should have sang, “all we need is love, and honest communication.” That’s not going to sell half as many records or fill arenas with squealing teenagers. Still, it is a truism of equal merit, for very few great ideas serve the world best by never being shared. Just the same, it’s a rare human being that can rally a community – towards war or peace, prosperity or ruin – without uttering a word. And though Lennon may be right, that love is the greatest of all conditions, I can think of no worse fate than knowing love and never being able to express it, or to never have it honestly expressed to me.
When you feel love, you have to say it. Really, it’s that simple — you must. Forget about timing or shyness. You have to say it when you feel like it, and when you don’t. You have to say it when life feels perfect and you couldn’t be happier. You have to say it when your world has been reduced to chaos and you’re lost and despondent. You have to say it when love becomes so routine that it goes without saying, and when it has become so one-sided and damaged that you know it won’t be reciprocated.
Because honestly, what else is there? Power, jobs, possessions, legacy… you can’t take ‘em with you. It’s not a matter of if you will be forgotten, but how long it takes to happen. What matters is the life you get to have right now, and love is the one thing — the one thing — that’s worth all the trouble. It is life’s true reward.
So have the courage to express it. Because love really doesn’t mean fucking anything when you keep it to yourself. Get out there and make it happen. I promise, the world will be better off.
© 2012, Ian Mathias
Powerful stuff, here. I didn’t expect to read this whole thing when I clicked on it, but I’ve got to say that it’s the best thing I’ve done all day.
That’s so great to hear. Thanks.
I have to agree with that guy. Thanks for posting this, I’ve really enjoyed reading it, and will probably end up printing it out and posting it around my house somewhere to read when I need a pick me up.
totally agree. saw the 30 chapters and thought “oy”, but I find myself having read them all and wishing there were more.
I’m 20 years old, and though some of the chapters approached things I have already learned, others were new and insightful pieces of advice that I will definitely take to heart.
Thank you very much, I also was not expecting to read the whole thing, I thought it was interesting at first but then I really got drawn in. Thanks!
Wow. Can’t say I haven’t learned something.
This is a refreshingly honest and well written piece! Great work! Have you written any book?
Thanks! No book yet… one day.
Wow. I am in my last year of high school and I am so happy I read this. I even took notes too! This is really amazing and a few things really hit close to home. I didn’t even really learn anything, but more just realised some truths that I didn’t recognize. I’ve been really trying to find the truths to life – and myself – lately and this opened my eyes even further than I could hope to. Thank you for taking the time to write this out. I plan on sharing it with my friends and even acquaintances over the age of thirty, because everyone can always learn something. Thank you so much!
Wow, I couldn’t ask for more… thanks!
Saved the best for last. My biggest takeaways from reading this: don’t be an asshole, don’t shout, speak the truth, don’t just be nice at and realize that there’s no shame in being average and not extraordinary. Even though I’m almost your age, these are things I haven’t really thought of too deeply until I read your book. Thanks again.
Great read. Nice work.
Was RT’d on my twitter feed, needless to say I did the same. Great read.
This is a super eloquent description of what’s going in my own mind. Many thanks for putting all this into words.
Your the best, man. Thanks for writing this.
and thank you for reading it.
This was very motivating, thank you. For number 30, though, isn’t it dangerous to say something whenever you feel like it?
It IS dangerous! Just think about what the world would look like if we just said whatever we really felt all the time. 🙂
Yes, it is dangerous — maybe that other person won’t agree with your opinion, or maybe they won’t share your love for them, or maybe they’ll think you aren’t cool or are stupid. But why should that stop you? Nobody who sat in a corner and said nothing ever changed the world. Every action you take is a risk, but if you never take a risk, nothing will ever happen. Life is all about taking the risks that are worth taking.
I don’t recommend going up to the most macho guy and the bar and saying, “I bet you’re just an insecure little pussy,” because he’ll probably show you what insecure people do to other people when they make them feel insecure (and your face won’t like it). But if you have something important to say, like wanting to tell the woman you are smitten for that you like her, then step up and say it! Sure, she might turn you down and you might feel small, but she might become your wife some day too. But if you say nothing at all, you’ll never know.
This was an incredible read – more than anything else, your humility shines through on each page of life advice. I feel so privileged to have encountered this website…
That’s so nice of you. Thanks.
Each and every point is so seemingly simple yet so deliciously poignant. I hope this gets ’round. Many thanks.
Thanks so much! Share it to your heart’s content.
I must say, this was one hell of a read. I have had many realizations in the past few months and this reading not only let me know I’m not alone, but informed me of ways to think about moving forward with them. Thanks for writing this, Ian.
P.S. I like your writing style too. Mine is similar and I get so much shit for it in academia.
Don’t write a book. Write a manual and leave copies in hospitals.
Read all of it. Some is good advice, some is… so one-sided. Learned a lot, though. When it was good, it was great.
Too bad most of my friends don’t speak English good enough to understand this.
Another good text to remember about when sailing through my wonderful life.
The reflections this evokes are motivating, I appreciate that you took the time to share it.
Great stuff. I came here planning to skim the headlines but I ended up reading the entire thing with minimal skimming. Insightful, to say the least. I can tell you have spent a lot of time reflecting, pondering, and refining. As I am not yet 30, I thank you for leaving some breadcrumbs for those of us still clamoring forward in age and in life.
What a nice compliment… thanks.
Found a typo in #30, “It is is life’s true reward.”
Other than that, loved it, spot on. Wish more people thought this way.
Great read, man. Much needed dose of realism for me. I’ll be showing this to everyone I can. Thanks for sharing.
Really appreciate that… thanks!
This was insightful and very well written. I’m currently halfway to 30 and found some lessons I just recently learned myself and some that I had been trying to unravel and then your words helped push the ephihany over the edge. Thank you for this shared wisdom!
If you’re 15 and already concerning yourself with this kind of thing, you are going to be a total rockstar… or hopeless recluse. Aim for the former, and thanks so much for reading!
I’m not quite sure, but you may or may not have changed my life with these snippets of wisdom. Thanks man! At the very least you’ve helped me put my week in perspective.
Very cool… thanks for reading!
I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection as of late and I found myself agreeing with everything you said. It’s remarkable how intuitive these points are, but how seldomly they’re stated. You put the abstracts of so many introverted minds into concrete and relatable words, and you should continue to do as such. I’ve got a dozen years to go until I reach 30, and I can only hope that by the time I get there I’m as grounded as you. Thank you for writing this. Thank you.
Most of it is common sense – isn’t it funny how often we forget what should be right in front of us?
This serves as a good reminder, and it will serve as one in the future. I’ll be sure to share. Hopefully you’ll write some more as time goes on.
Great style, by the way.
Thanks for reading, really, and all your great comments!
Good stuff. Where was this 10 years ago when I was twenty? I just turned 30 recently and this shit stings my heart cause it’s fucken true. Good job Ian.
Thanks for reading!
My only regret is that I wish I could remember all of these
I know, it’s easy to be honest behind the keyboard but I just have to write this, here and now. I feel like my life is in shit. I know it’s not, I know most of my problems are superficial and can be easily remedied by just taking some fucking action but it’s difficult for me to be that kind of dude, something I’ve recently realised. I feel like shit because of the way I’ve been living my life and I have not had the willpower to do anything about it, but what you’ve written really has awoken something in me, these chapters contain the way of living life that I have always known I should be living, the way I’ve wanted to live for some time, it’s hard to put into words because it’s deeper than that but what you’ve written here has brought me to a decision: That I am going to live the way I want, the way that I think will bring me happiness. I am not going to let bad vibes, bad people keep me from this because fuck that man, that’s not what life is about and that’s not why I’m here on this fucked up piece of rock populated by insane talking monkeys, each one trying desperately to outdo each other, well I’m not looking to win that race. I’m not posting this for sympathy or praise, I am posting this to you to say “Thank you” for inspiring me, thank you for writing this and happy fucking trails space cadet!
I truly enjoyed reading this. As a twenty year old who was unsure of certain things to come, this allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief.
Read the whole thing; Enjoyed it; learned some things; agreed with everything!
Finished hours later, but still just as enthralled by at as I was at the beginning. I don’t know if I agree with everything you’ve stated, butI can respect it all, and take it for what its worth. Thanks for putting this out there, it was well worth the read 🙂
I couldn’t ask for more… thanks a lot.
I just wanted to say thank you. I’m about to leave for college this year, and this list really opened my eyes a lot.
I’m taking a long trip this summer, and I think I’m going to use that time to figure out what kind of a person I am, thanks to your inspiration.
I am a fifteen year old student. Thank you.
Here is me expressing my love for this piece. Seriously, love. What an articulate writer. You are fair, intelligent, real, and you really hit the nail on the head. What you have hear is awesome and I will continue to share it. Thank you. Also… still single? 😉
Thanks, that’s very kind. As far as my “status” in concerned, as I’ve said before… everyone loves a good mystery.
A great piece….keeping me interested in something is a real feat. Well worth it…thanks for writing, and Ill thank Tom for passing it on…..
Thanks for reading Gary, and for all your comments. I really appreciate the time you spent here.
Thank you, this was a good read – I liked your style. Advice from those wiser than myself is always appreciated. 🙂
I really enjoy your style of writing and the advice in this collection. Reading this has had a positive impact on my life and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to put this together. I will proudly share this with friends and family. Thank You.
That’s great to hear… thanks.
Really loved this. Hilarious, and I feel like I learned something too.
Great work. Thought you’d turned soft in old age after reading the first couple of chapters. Loved the chapters about fighting tooth and nail, nice guys and making mistakes.
I’m 25 and I can say I’ll be applying what I’ve learnt today well into the future. Thanks for saving me 5 years!
Thanks for reading Ed.
These thirty tips, have to be one of the best things i’ve read and i would even go as far as to say that it one of the best things i have invested my time in, in a very long time. I love this website. I keep it up at all times so i can look at it and remind me daily. And this is coming from an eighteen year old, too. So many people of my generation don’t appreciate the caliber of this and the depth involved in these tips, which is a shame. But i can’t thank you enough for posting this. Each of these are incredibly applicable to every-day life, which is the best part. I hope some day you write a book, because it would be one of the few books i would look forward to.
Thanks… that means a lot.
I read this over the course of a few days, and I loved every bit of it. I think, for the most part, your advice is sound and will greatly benefit a lot of people (including me!). There were only two I found a problem with, 15 and 22, but all the others were awesome. The one about empathy was probably my favorite, as I definitely need more of that.
I hope you do more writing in the future!
I know I am pretty young, but this was a really great and refreshing read. It really helped me realize some truths in life and I just want to say thank you. I love your writing style and I really hope you become a successfull writer because you are really talented. I’m going to have too print this out just to be able to read when I need help or a little pickup. Again, thank you and continue writing.
That’s very kind of you Cain, thank you.
To be fair, when the song was written, the Beatles were no longer doing the arena thing, and their fans weren’t squealing so much anymore.