6 Lessons We Can All Learn from Louis C.K.

By Sarah Christine Davis on June 26, 2015

If you’re into comedy at all, you’ve probably heard of Louis C.K. The hilarious man has two comedy shows streaming on Netflix in addition to a comedy series, Louie, that just wrapped up its fifth season. As the divorced father of two young girls, Louis C.K. has had his fair share of turmoil in his life. He turns to humor to help him get through the hard times, and his comedy is a beautiful balance of learned wisdom and hilarious lines. Louis C.K. has a lot to offer; his comedy will both make you laugh and make you think. Check out some of his most wise and thought-provoking lines below!

1. “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

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Amen, Louis C.K. This is a big one. Read it again to let it sink in: “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” When someone opens up and reveals that they have been hurt by you, they are being vulnerable. It’s not always easy to admit that you’ve been hurt, and if someone tells you that you’ve hurt them, the least you owe them is your respect and acknowledgment of their pain. The worst thing that you can do is make them feel bad for opening up to you, make them feel like they’re the one who did something wrong, or tell them that you didn’t actually hurt them. You don’t know their feelings. If they’re telling you that you hurt them, then you hurt them. Accept this and apologize.

2. “Listen, the only time you should look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”

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Comparing yourself to others is one of the most self-destructive things you can do. Everyone is at a different stage in their life that is precisely unique to them and their situation. As long as you are trying your best in your given situation, there’s no need to put yourself down by comparing your situation to someone else’s. If you’re going to be “looking in your neighbor’s bowl,” as Louis C.K. says, do so in order to help them improve their situation.

3. “‘I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. You live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. And even the inside of your mind is endless. It goes on forever inwardly. Do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing. You don’t get to be bored!”

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I don’t think there’s anyone who has never said (or whined), “I’m bored.” When you’ve finished all of your responsibilities, you’re sick of watching Netflix, and there’s nothing to do outside, this is so easy to say. However, Louis C.K. brings up a great point. How can you be bored when there’s a whole world out there? How can you be bored when there are so many things that your mind has never thought about? If you really think about it, there’s always something to do – you always have your brain to rack.

4. “The greatest thing about having a child is putting yourself second in your own life. It’s a massive gift to be able to say that you’re not the most important person to yourself; that’s always going to get you down. The idea of, ‘I’ve got to get me right. I’ve got to get what I want.’ That’s never going to quite work. But if you can be useful to somebody else, that you can actually accomplish […] If you can be useful – which means to somebody else, not to yourself – if you can be useful, it just makes you feel better.”

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As the single father of two girls, this idea probably hits close to home to Louis C.K. However, this testament to selfless love is not just for parents. Everyone can learn a lesson from this. Us Gen Ys seem to be obsessed with the idea of working on ourselves, which is great; if we were all the best versions of ourselves, the world would be a better place. That being said, there is a certain kind of selfishness that can occur if this is all one thinks about. It is important to uplift other people and to be the type of person that you would want to encounter. If you can be kind to someone else and be an encouraging force to them, then they are likely to pass that force onto people who they meet. This cycle of uplifting and being useful to somebody else is a catalyst for happiness and peace.

5. “Self-love is a good thing, but self-awareness if more important. You need to once in a while go, ‘Uh, I’m kind of an a**hole.’”

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This was previously touched on in the point above, but this time, Louis C.K. is talking about being honest with yourself. Realize when you’ve messed up, and more importantly, be able to admit it both to yourself and to others. Self-awareness means toning down the pride and acknowledging your mistakes. You can practice self-love and self-awareness at the same time by being real, open, and honest with your peers.

6. “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.”

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If you’re a writer, you may find this especially inspiring. Often, we may think that our writing sounds silly or ridiculous or doesn’t make sense. This isn’t always the case. “Letting the stuff stay flawed” is what makes Louis C.K. the great comedian he is. Brutally honest writing that tells it like it is often makes people think, “Yes, this is exactly the thing I was feeling, but I didn’t know how to put it into words, and this person did that.” And isn’t that what writing is all about?




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