Looked at from a conventional perspective, life is a tough, competitive struggle. In areas where everyone is engaged and fighting hard the bar is often set impressively high. There can be great rewards, but a man will be up against the best, and there are some amazing people out there. The worlds of work, sports, business, investment, and sex are inhabited by hordes of steely-eyed men who will take everything and won’t give an inch.

Other areas offer opportunities for gathering low hanging fruit. Frequently the majority show little interest, or their success is about individual action rather than direct competition. It makes no sense to attempt to make the hard gains while easy advances remain available. Simply avoiding things which hold a man back, sap his resources, or otherwise lead him away from personal advance is an easy gain in life.

This article offers a list of things that make no sense when the costs and benefits are considered. In the interests of full disclosure the author does not claim to have avoided all these things in the past, but does claim to avoid them all in the present and hopes to avoid them all in the future.

1. Sex reassignment

A man has the fixed sexual function of providing sperm. A girl has the fixed sexual function of providing eggs and carrying the baby. When someone pretends they can change sexual function it ends badly.

2. Prostitutes

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A prostitute takes a man’s strength, then his money but gives nothing in return. The addicted may lose the motivation to seek more satisfying inlets.

3. Gambling

Was there ever a worse way to spend time than to throw out money knowing that less can be expected to return? There are no legal exceptions unless you are a highly-skilled professional.

4. Pornography

Screens, paper, and rubber dollies can never substitute for the real thing. Girls fill the world. Take up the challenge and get some.

5. Self mutilation

A man’s body is his only tool. It makes no sense to drill holes in it or deface it with pictures. All bodies age, decay, and die, but why accelerate the process?

6. Jail

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They say crime doesn’t pay and it’s true. Few things kill a man’s opportunities like going to jail. More than two percent of US adult males are in jail—don’t join them.

7. Homosexuality

Some men are apparently tempted to perform homosexual acts. A man who does endangers his health, fertility, and mental well-being. Every man has the power of choice. Make the smart choice.

8. Recreational drugs

Human bodies use a system of internal rewards and punishments to encourage functional behaviour and discourage dysfunctional behavior. One way to avoid this distinction is to use chemical means to simulate only positive feedback. To do so destroys that connection and removes the internal incentives for functional behavior. Disaster follows.

9. Consumer credit

Many men spend fifty years paying interest so they could make a few purchases one year earlier. Add up the costs and learn to avoid them.

10. Smoking and drinking

Day by day the damage to health, wealth, and well-being add up. It’s a slow process that some smokers and drinkers will never experience due to an early death.

Life is precious, don’t waste it

All ten together represent a substantial fraction of the effort and resources available to the world. A man who avoids them will be streets ahead of men who don’t. Abstaining from the start requires no skill, talent, effort, or expense. Many of the truly miserable people of the world are in that state because they tried one of these things and then couldn’t stop.

Every man has a certain stock of life in the form of time, money, health, brains, opportunity, motivation and effort. He deploys it in the way he thinks best and lives with the results, good or bad. Don’t waste life on things which offer only regrets.

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