Self-help is the art of selling stupid books to people who were already smart before they bought them. I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve decided that it is my true calling. I’ve wished very hard for it, as the gurus tell us to, and I think I can do it. Let’s see.
1. Be yourself. It’s awful to be someone else.
2. Face difficulties with a goofy smile. It doesn’t do any good, but your girlfriend will be quite disconcerted as she tries to tell you that the relationship is over.
3. Breathe a lot and deeply. But, for God’s sake, do it through a mask. Or the ghost of Tedros Adhanom will appear in your dreams.
4. Be happy with little money. This is one of my favorite tips — why ever would you want more? Give it to me!
5. The only reason you don’t achieve everything you set out to do is because you’re afraid of failure. Spoiler: I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for hooking up with Scarlett Johansson.
6. Be cheesy. This guarantees you the ultimate postmodern man’s bliss: being an Instagram star and getting paid to write things like “this new hand cream is a symphony of scents, freedom, and goodies, a water lily in the pool of your life.”
7. Try to act like an idiot when everyone else is busy doing something really important. It works for politicians.
8. When one door closes, another one opens. This is a well-known stupidity that someone anonymous said once and that, funnily enough, seems to be well respected. It doesn’t happen in my house. That’s how I lost six teeth a few months ago.
9. When you get sick, instead of cursing your bad luck, consider it an opportunity to learn. I stole this one from Jodorowsky and I love it: now I no longer believe that we are in some horrible pandemic, more like the planet has become a huge school. Hahaha, brave impostor, my man Jodorowsky.
10. The stars are there, you just have to look at them. As said by Kurt Cobain, an expert in self-help, but not much.
11. Live like you’re going to die tomorrow. For some strange reason, people interpret this James Dean quote as an invitation to get drunk. My go-to priest, on the other hand, sees it as an invitation to go to confession. I think you can do both. Just not at the same time.
12. Wisdom is the mother of nature, and prudence the fruit of love. This stupidity means nothing. Spit it out in a deep voice at the next family meal and you will discover which of your relatives read Paulo Coelho: they are the ones who nod approvingly and answer you with some implausible quote from Rabindranath Tagore.
13. Dream the impossible. I don’t know, a circus of unicorns, a chocolate that is not fattening and doesn’t make you retch, or a socialist announcing a tax cut.
14. Now, don’t call it a dream, call it a plan. And that’s the end of the dream.
15. Complain whenever you can. This is the opposite of what self-help authors recommend, so it must be very healthy.
16. Remember that everything is going to be OK. And, if it isn’t, thank God there are still bars open!
17. Overcome heartbreak today. Tip sponsored by Tinder.
18. As soon as you wake up, imitate a hen running around the house clucking furiously. This is an infallible recipe for love. If your wife is still there after three days of waking up this way, she loves you madly. Literally.
19. Now try to lay an egg. What do you mean you can’t? Haven’t you read The Alchemist? If you really want something, the universe comes together for you to succeed. (I highly recommend trying this in private.)
20. If you think positive, you do not think negative. This one is from Heraclitus. I believe.
21. Before going to bed, make a list of the things you forgot to do. I keep a notebook just to do this every day of the year. Every January 1st I fill in all 365 pages with the heading “1. Write the damn list.”
22. Kiss as much as you can. This is always said by a French self-help guru who is as ugly as an orc. I get it.
23. Do not do to others anything you would not like them to do to you. This phrase should be tattooed on the chest of all presidents and prime ministers.
24. Buy books by Itxu Díaz. Great guy. Brilliant author. Enlightened intellectual. Beautiful person. Okay, his books are only in Spanish for now. But who said you have toactually read them? Buying them will instantly improve your life. Or at least, mine.
25. Remember that every tear is a lesson learned. Last night mine were especially eloquent: you can’t take your contact lenses out twice, no matter how hard you scratch your retina.
26. Give yourself a chance to be right. Seriously, you’re not as much of an idiot as you make yourself out to be. What I love most about my new role as a self-help author is that you can talk down to people without ticking them off.
27. Put all the bad things from the last twelve months in a garbage bag and throw it in the dumpster. Close the lid tightly, or you will have to endure insults from the entire government. By the way, I know a good lawyer.
28. It’s never too late for love. And it’s true. Look at all those divorced women who thought they would never kiss, hug, say nice things, watch movies cuddled up on the couch, or have dinner together on Christmas Eve ever again. They had faith in love and now they have started a new life. With their cats.
29. Make every day World Happiness Day. I just gave the next Agenda 2030 campaign to the UN creatives. You’re welcome.
30. Optimism helps. If you want proof, open a bar. But the way my friend Javier Quero would, as he said to me the other day: “Itxu, let’s set up a bar. And if it doesn’t work, we open it up to the public.”
And that is all there is to it. Do not hesitate to send me your success stories. Happy New Year 2022, dear readers. Happiness, laughter, and God’s love to all.
Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist, and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. His most recent book is Todo Iba Bien. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, The American Spectator, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and is a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website: www.itxudiaz.com.
Translated by Joel Dalmau