Rules To Live By

Readers of my blog know that I like lists, and occasionally generate a list rather than an essay. So no treatise this time. Just another of my lazy lists.

I started this checklist a tad reflectively by asking myself how I should have lived my life? What have I learned through life’s journey over six-and-a-half decades? Had I a list of rules at the start that would have made a difference in seeking a life well lived, what would be on it?

For sure, life doesn’t come with a set of instructions or rules. As I reviewed and culled my stream-of-conscious thoughts, I self-diagnosed that my personal scorecard wasn’t, at various parts of my life, quite so impressive. Student of life, indeed. As is often the case, it’s the implementation part that is difficult. You … we … have choices, and sometimes lessons take a while to stick. Or not.

These are the do’s and don’ts, as I see them, that will lead to a happy, purposeful and meaningful life. For those whom rules seem to bother, no worries. Ditto if you don’t have time or patience to roll through a long list. No judgment. Be you. However, if you are inclined to plow forward, I hope you find value in my thoughts and take some of the suggestions to heart. One thing is for sure — it’s never too late to embrace a path. Please let me know your thoughts by commenting at the end of this blog. Thanks in advance …

101.  You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
100.  You don’t need to pretend your life is perfect.
99.  When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye. Make amends when you hurt someone.
98.  When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. Admit it when you’re wrong.
97.  When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
96.  When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, “Why do you want to know?”
95.  When life shuts a door, open it or another. It’s a door. That’s how they work.
94.  Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Your dad was right.
93.  Tip well. In fact, tip very well.
92.  Thank folks, preferably eye to eye, but also with personal notes, handwritten if possible.
91.  Tell the truth … or at least don’t lie. Value honesty in yourself and others.
90.  Talk slowly, listen intently, think quickly.
89.  Take time to smell good stuff. Fresh-baked bread. Sizzling bacon. Warm cinnamon buns. Fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies. Fried chicken. And consume your share of each. Often.
88.  Take time to relax. Put your feet up or, better yet, sit on the front porch for a spell.
87.  Take naps.
86.  Take care of your health early. Prioritize it.
85.  Spend some time alone.
84.  Soften any requests with a polite “please.”
83.  Smile more. Smile even when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
82.  Show the ones you love how much you love them.
81.  But set boundaries with friends, family and colleagues to establish how you want to be treated in life.
80.  Simple Formula For Success At Work: Identify your priorities. Align your responsibilities. Elevate your convictions over emotions. Make decisive, practical and wise choices. Deliver more than you are getting paid to do. If applicable, credit the team.
79.  Seek wise counsel.
78.  Say “bless you” when you hear someone sneeze.
77.  Respond in a timely manner.
76.  Respect, especially, your elders, and extra-especially your grandparents. These folks have been there, done that, and some will have wisdom that will be truly valuable. Get it before they’re no longer in your life.
75.  Remember that respect is earned, not given. Evoke the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, and Responsibility for all of your actions.
74.  Recognize that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different … which is okay. Really.
73.  Read. And remember that there is a time and a place to read. Trying to do so while walking or driving is not that place.
72.  Pull over to the side of the road to pay your respects for a passing funeral procession.
71.  Be hospitable. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
70.  Pick up after yourself.
69.  Open yourself to genuinely experiencing your emotions.
68.  Never spend your money before you have it.
67.  Never judge people based on appearances. In fact, don’t judge others at all.
66.  Never argue with a crazy person.
65.  Never act like you’re better than anyone else.
64.  Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you age, your conversational skills will be as important as any other.
63.  Make memories.
62.  Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt, but it’s the only way to live life completely.
61.  Live like tomorrow isn’t promised.
60.  Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.
59.  Let it go. Never ruin a good day by thinking about a bad yesterday.
58.  Learn from your mistakes, and recognize that your education will never be complete.
57.  Keep your promises.
56.  Just because someone didn’t plan doesn’t mean that you have an emergency.
55.  It’s okay to wish on a star. Frequently.
54.  In disagreements, fight fairly. No name-calling. And don’t let a little dispute harm a great friendship.
53.  If you’re confused, pause and think, think, think. Knowing whether to check your ass or scratch your watch is important.
52.  If you want longer battery life, put the phone down.
51.  If you borrow it, return it. And take care of what isn’t yours.
50.  If it doesn’t concern you, leave it alone.
49.  Hold the door.
48.  Hold hands with your better half.
47.  Great love and great achievements involve great risk.
46.  Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
45.  Give it time because it truly does heal.
44.  Give a good handshake, make eye contact, and smile. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
43.  Get out of your comfort zone.
42.  Follow your dreams and your passions, even if they change. Do what makes you happy. It’s on you. And never laugh at anyone else’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.
41.  Exercise simple etiquette.
40.  Recognize that envy consumes itself.
39.  Don’t talk ugly. Not minding your manners won’t get you anywhere except a place you’ll regret.
38.  Don’t pick up the phone during dinner. Period. Keep the dinner table sacrosanct.
37.  Don’t judge people by their relatives.
36.  Don’t force your ideas onto others. Let those who want your help and guidance seek you out.
35.  Don’t compare yourself to others.
34.  Don’t bottle up your emotions.
33.  Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.
32.  Don’t take everyday things for granted.
31.  Don’t compromise your vision.
30.  Do it right. Don’t “half-do” things. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
29.  dNt xpecT ppl 2 tk u srsly if u tYpe or Txt Lyk dis.
28.  Control your temper. On occasion, you will get a burr in your saddle or your knickers in a knot. Cool down before engaging.
27.  Carpe diem. Don’t hesitate when you should act.
26.  Believe in love at first sight.
25.  Before you say something or act in a certain way, think about the consequences. Your words will create your world. Do some cogitating before you speak or write.
24.  Be patient. Some folks are dealing with “stuff.” Plus, delays are simply a part of being in the world with other humans.
23.  Be precise in your speech and writing.
22.  Be positive and optimistic as much as possible. Looking on the bright side will do wonders. See the glass as half full. Believe it or not, the sun still shines even when it’s hiding.
20.  Be generous with praise and gracious enough to cheer for others, including opponents.
19.  Be engaged for at least six months before you get married.
18.  Be comfortable with failure. Trying and failing or losing are immensely valuable lessons that will make you a better person in almost every aspect of life.
17.  Avoid negativity and drama.
16.  Arrive on time. Being punctual means you are respectful of other people’s time.
15.  Always be prepared and aim at excellence.
14.  A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.
13.  A good reputation is more valuable than money.
12.  A friend is one of the best things you can have. A friend is also one of the best things you can be.
11.  A day without laughter is a day wasted.

And my personal Top 10 …

10.  Be humble.
9.  When you say, “I love you,” mean it.
8.  Be grateful every day. The most important power lies in a grateful heart. Learning to be content is a game-changer.
7.  Be courteous.
6.  Do the right thing. Always. Wrong doesn’t become right just because it’s accepted by a majority.
5.  Serve every day. Success doesn’t result from how much you get but from how much you give. If you want an abundant life, give as much as you can.
4.  Don’t let anyone else tell your story.
3.  Treat folks the way you would want to be treated.
2.  Choose kindness.
1.  Family first.