Charles Bukowski’s Top 10 Tips for Living a Kick-Ass Life

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Looking for some pointers on how to live an awesome life? Take it from Charles Bukowski, an American author, poet, short story writer, and novelist who shared his unfiltered views and opinions with the world on everything from art to death. He was a renowned and prolific writer, often depicting the experiences of the downtrodden and depraved people of American urban life, and he provided plenty of great tips on how to spend your days. But don’t just take my word for it, soak up the wisdom with this valuable advice from some his most well-known quotes.

1. Don’t settle.

“I wanted the whole world or nothing.”

You shouldn’t settle for anything less than what you absolutely deserve or desire. Strive for the best and don’t accept anything except for what will make you entirely happy. There’s no point in giving up on your goals simply to settle for a sub-par result that will forever leave you wishing for more in regret.

2. Love yourself.                        

I never met another man I’d rather be. And even if that’s a delusion, it’s a lucky one.

No one’s perfect, that’s for sure, but there’s also no point in beating yourself up about it. Stop criticizing every minute thing about yourself that you wish you could change and show yourself some love. That’s not to say to never work on self-improvement, but be your own biggest fan while you’re at it, no matter what.

3. Live life to its fullest.

“What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death.”

“Some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must live.”

Want to go skydiving but have never done it? Take the leap. Dying to get that degree in art-history but don’t know how you’ll use it? It’s time to enroll. You only have one life so you might as well live it to its absolute fullest capacity – right now. Why wait until it’s too late?

4. Don’t fear pain, without it, you can’t experience happiness.

“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”

Pain, sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety – negative feelings like that can be miserable and even downright painful sometimes. But you can’t fully appreciate the good emotions that life has to offer without experiencing the hurtful ones. So when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, remember it can only go up from there, and the pain you’re experiencing in the moment will only make the happiness taste so much sweeter later on.

5. Be your own unique self and shamelessly express it in all you do.

It’s better to do a dull thing with style than a dangerous thing without it.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself – Charles Bukowski certainly didn’t hesitate to. Always show your true colors and express your own fantastic personality. It’s better to live your life being your whole self than trying to pretend to be something you’re not, simply for the approval others. Who cares what they think anyways?

6. You’re stronger than you think.

Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside…remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.

Life is full of trials and hardships – you know it, you’ve likely experienced it many times. Yet, no matter what, you always make it through these difficulties in one piece. Always remember that you’re stronger than you may think, and you have it in you to get through the toughest of days.

7. Don’t fear death.

I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: “Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I’ll be ready.

“There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower.”

Death is unavoidable, so why spend your life worrying about it? Instead of obsessing about when you’ll finally go, take advantage of the life you were given. It’s much more worthwhile to celebrate life instead of fearing death, and you’ll likely be much happier because of it.

8. Have confidence in yourself.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts.”

You are awesome, and all you have to do to let your true talents shine is believe that fact. Have complete confidence in yourself and you might be surprised with all you can achieve.

9. There are much worse things than loneliness.

“There are worse things than being alone but it often takes decades to realize this and most often when you do it’s too late and there’s nothing worse than too late.”

I wasn’t a misanthrope and I wasn’t a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.

It’s easy to fear being alone, and the company of others can often act as some form of a safety blanket. But there are much worse things than loneliness, and there’s no point in getting caught up in being alone when that time can be spent on so many more fulfilling and joyful things. Learn to appreciate yourself without others, and value your time alone.

10. Life happens, don’t always take it so seriously.

“Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.” 

Unexpected, even crazy things are bound to happen in life, and sometimes you just have to go with it. Don’t get caught up in perfection and make sure to lighten up sometimes. There’s no point in taking everything seriously, and sometimes you just need to have some fun.


Question of the Day:

What’s your favorite Charles Bukowski quote?

Let us know in the comments below!