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Tired of 'hacks?' Here are 20 of the best life tips sourced from 21.9 million real people.

All of them are simple and practical. A few might just change your life.

life pro tips, reddit, arjun mahadevan

Arjun Mahadevan's life pro tip Twitter thread

Arjun Mahadevan gave the world a gift when he crowdsourced the best “life pro tips” from nearly 22 million people. He shared the top 20 in a Twitter thread that’s got over 619,000 views. Mahadevan sourced the tips from the Life Pro Tips subforum on Reddit, which has been running since 2010.

Mahadevan is the CEO of doolaHQ which he calls the “business-in-a-box” for LLCs.

Mahadevan labeled his advice “20 life tips you wish you knew when you were 20,” but they are helpful for everyone regardless of age. They’re useful for anyone who is in a relationship, has a job or wants to stay sane in an aggravating world.


Many ideas involve reframing how we judge others to see them with more compassion. Mahadevan also has some advice for professionals to prevent them from making embarrassing mistakes or wasting other people’s time.

Sometimes the simplest change in behavior or perspective can drastically affect our lives. Here are Arjun Mahadevan’s 20 life tips you wish you knew when you were 20:

1. "If you’re stuck on an annoying call, put your phone on airplane mode instead of just hanging up. The other person will see 'call failed' instead of 'call ended.'"

2. "When you sign up for anything online, put the website’s name as your middle name. That way when you receive spam/advert emails, you will know who sold your info."

3. "Always tell a child who is wearing a helmet how cool you think their helmet is. It will encourage them to always wear it in the future."

4. "When you don't have all the facts, try to give people the most generous reason you can for their behavior. Annoyingly slow driver? Maybe it's a mom with a birthday cake in the back. This mindset will gradually make you less reactive and more compassionate."

5. "Do not try to be the man your father would want you to be. Be the man you would like your son to be. It more clearly defines your own convictions, desires, goals and motivates you to be your best."

6. "When a friend is upset, ask them one simple question before saying anything else: 'Do you want to talk about it or do you want to be distracted from it?'"

7. "After a bad breakup, do 10 things that your ex would never do with you. You'll feel better and realize how much of yourself was being held back."

8. "Before you give your child a unique name, try it out first. Use it on food orders, reservations, appointments where applicable, etc. It’ll give you a glimpse of what they’ll deal with when they’re older and could prevent future issues."

9. "If you need to cancel a hotel reservation but are unable to because of a 24-hour policy, call the company and move your reservation to a later date. Call back within a few days and cancel for no charge."

10. "If you tell someone you need to talk to them, for the love of God give some indication of what you need to talk about, or at least that it's not bad news."

11. "Never send a work email when you’re emotionally compromised. Type it up, save it as a draft, and walk away. Ideally, sleep on it. You’ll make a smarter choice when you're not heated."

12. "Don't just let kids win at games. You can slow it down, you can teach them strategy, but keep it real. Someday, they will beat you fair and square, and it will be a moment they always remember with pride."

13. "When cooking things on aluminum foil, first scrunch the foil up, then lay it loosely flat again out on your baking tray. The juices will stay put—and the food will not stick to the foil half as much, if at all."

14. "If you think of a good idea, write it down. Your brain will try to trick you into thinking you will remember it later, but it's a liar! Therefore: Write it down!"

15. "It takes 4 minutes a day and almost no cost to maintain dental hygiene. It takes a lifetime and a lot of money to correct it. 2-minute brush and mouthwash in the AM, 2-minute brush and floss in the PM."

16. "Don’t wait until you have 'time' to start a fitness program. Because then when you get busy again, you’ll stop. The best time to start is actually when you’re busy. Learning how to fit it in when time’s are tough means you’ll stick with it over the long haul."

17. "When using text messages or IMs for business, say everything you need to say in the first message. Don’t just say 'hi' or 'hey' or 'are you there' or 'are you busy.'"

18. "Instead of feeling that you've blown the day and thinking, 'I'll get back on track tomorrow, think of each day as a set of four quarters:

• Morning• Midday• Afternoon• Evening

If you blow one quarter, you get back on track for the next quarter."

19. "Many problems in marriage are really just problems with being a bad roommate. Learn how to be a good roommate, and it will solve many of the main issues that plague marriages. This includes communicating about something bothering you before you get too angry."

20. "Ask yourself 'what does it matter to me' the next time you find yourself judging someone for their clothing or hobbies. The more you train yourself to not care about the personal preferences of other people, the more relaxed and nicer you become as a person."


This article originally on appeared 3.31.23

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The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

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via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


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Karen Blaha/Wikimedia Commons

Crinkle crankle walls are more common the U.K., but they can be found in the U.S. as well.

If you were to draw a straight line and a wavy line from point A to point B, there would be no question which one used more ink. After all, "The shortest distance between two points (on a flat surface) is a straight line" has been baked into our brains since elementary school math class. Logically, a wavy line uses more ink because it covers more distance, right? Right.

So if that's true, how is it possible that a brick wall built in a wavy pattern could use fewer bricks than a straight one built between the exact same two points?

Not only is it possible, it's actually true, despite people's disbelief over the fact.

A post on X from @InternetHOF shows the claim that "corrugated brick fences" sometimes seen in England use fewer bricks than a straight wall, with the caption, "I don't believe this is true."

It does seem illogical from a pure geometry-on-paper standpoint, but what makes it true is how the structural integrity of brick walls works.

There are all kinds of nitty-gritty calculations a structural engineer could get into to explain, but thankfully, internet hero (and strangely popular X account) Greg came to everyone's rescue with an explanation that neatly fit into a single post on X.

"They're called crinkle crankles," wrote Greg. "A single leaf wall over that distance would need brick piers approx every 1.5-2m if it was a retaining wall it would need to be at least 9” wide (2 bricks). The crinkle crankle has more strength due to it’s curved nature so can be 4” wide or a single leaf of bricks.

"For the maths if we can assume they’re true semi-circles then each semi circle would be 1/2piD or 1.57D whereas a double leaf wall would be 2D for the same length D.

"Therefore using 21.5% less bricks than a double leaf wall hope that clears things up."

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serpentine brick wall next to a bunch of daffodils

Crinkle crankle walls are usually referred to as serpentine walls in the U.S.

Karen Blaha/Wikimedia Commons

First of all, what a cool piece of human ingenuity that people actually figured this out hundreds of years ago. And second of all, why are there not more crinkle crankle walls everywhere? So much more fun and whimsical. And apparently, a better use of resources.

But before you go building your own crinkle crankle wall to make your house look super cool, make sure you've got the geometry correct. There are actual specifications for making a structurally sound serpentine wall, and if you don't do it correctly, you may find yourself with a pile of bricks and no wall, curvy or straight.

If you want to see some cool crinkle crankle walls in the U.S., head to the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson himself added them to the design of the Charlottesville, Virginia, campus.

wavy brick wall separating a grassy area and a driveway

Crinkle crankle wall at the University of Virginia

Carlin MacKenzie/Wikimedia Commons

More crinkle crankles everywhere, please.