Stand-up comedian Louis C.K. is known for his unapologetic style of humor, showcased with cringe-worthy brilliance on his FX show Louie. There’s definitely a reason people love his show (and why his talk show appearances virtually always go viral): Even as you’re laughing, Louis C.K. lays bare some serious truths that merit reflection. He often knocks himself down, but in doing so, he reminds us all that there are so many reasons to be humble. Here are 10 of Louis C.K.’s funny, uncomfortable, and true life lessons:
1. Your thoughts are going to be contradictory, and that’s okay.
I have a lot of beliefs and I live by none of ’em. That’s just the way I am. They’re just my beliefs. I just like believing them. I like that part.
2. Don’t take everyday things for granted.
My mother was born in 1940, so when she was growing up, they had cars and airplanes and television and movies, and by the time she got to when I was born, 1967, they had slightly smaller cars and televisions that were color and bigger planes. Now there are TVs in your phone, a phone in your car, cars that have f–king navigation in them that talk to you. That GPS sh-t is something that nobody gives a sh-t about, and it’s incredible that you can do that. You can ask your car where you can get something to eat, and it’ll take you there. It’s crazy.
3. Sometimes your own discomfort isn’t what matters.
Like when you see someone stand up on a talk show and say, “How am I supposed to explain to my children that two men are getting married?…” I dunno. It’s your sh-tty kid. You f–kin’ tell ’em. Why is that anyone else’s problem? Two guys are in love and they can’t get married because you don’t want to talk to your ugly child for five f–kin’ minutes?
4. Don’t compromise your vision.
When you write from your gut and let the stuff stay flawed and don’t let anybody tell you to make it better, it can end up looking like nothing else.
5. There’s a person on the other side of that screen.
I think [cell phones] are toxic, especially for kids… they don’t look at people when they talk to them and they don’t build empathy. You know, kids are mean, and it’s ’cause they’re trying it out. They look at a kid and they go, “You’re fat,” and then they see the kid’s face scrunch up and they go, “Oh, that doesn’t feel good to make a person do that.” But they got to start with doing the mean thing. But when they write “You’re fat,” then they just go, “Mmm, that was fun, I like that.”
6. There’s always more to discover in life.
“I’m bored” is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless, it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say “I’m bored.”
7. Failure is a worthwhile endeavor.
I think you have to try and fail, because failure gets you closer to what you’re good at.
8. Keep perspective — it’s not as bad as you think.
I remember the day I saw my hair was thinning. I don’t remember caring much. I don’t care. It’s just hair. It never bothered me much. I was pretty young, too. And it happened and is happening verrrry slowly. I have a feeling dead people get really mad when we complain about losing hair.
9. You don’t need to pretend your life is perfect.
The thing is when you’re in a family, it’s a struggle and there’s a lot of difficulty to it. … And I think most parents that I talk to that watch the stuff that I do are really grateful for the collusion and for the relief and being able to laugh about it. I mean, everything that’s difficult you should be able to laugh about. And the reason it’s difficult to have a family is because it’s important. I mean, if I didn’t love my kids it would be easy to raise them. But I love ’em, so you gotta do it the hard way, and it’s important to you so you do it the hard way. It’s important.
10. Open yourself to genuinely experiencing your emotions.
…when you let yourself feel sad, your body has antibodies, it has happiness that comes rushing in to meet the sadness. So I was grateful to feel sad, and then I met it with true, profound happiness. It was such a trip. The thing is, because we don’t want that first bit of sad, we push it away with a little phone or a j–k-off or the food. You never feel completely sad or completely happy, you just feel kinda satisfied with your product, and then you die.
Featured photo credit: Flowizm via flickr.com
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