Recently I had a very grown-up conversation with my eighteen years old son. This conversation was about the rules of life that make for a good, fulfilled, and abundant time on this Earth.
Now I’m sharing what I told my son with you.
It is a bit ironic; I know. As someone who jokes that learning rules well is needed to break them intelligently, I’m probably not well suited to share the rules of life.
Here is the thing: living life with no rules is not an option. It is a different matter that the rules of life have different status – today, I’ll share the core rules as I see them. (This is why they are six and not another, more attractive to people and search engines, number.)
Before we go any further a word of caution: these rules have no resemblance to the twelve rules for life of Jordan B. Peterson. Yes, I read the book and can’t argue with most of the rules (there was probably one rule for life I found objectionable). Still, the rules of life I offer here are very different.
#1. Your Life is Defined by What You do Next, Not by What Happens to You
Things happen in life.
Some are good, and some are not so good. You have some control over some happenings and no influence at all over others.
What happens in your life is important, I agree. Still, what defines you and your life is what you do next, not what has happened to you.
This rule of life demands you train yourself to accept what happens in your life, let the emotions run their course, and keep going through thick and thin.
#2. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver
Among the rules of life, this is a very important one because it affects the way others see you.
Most people tend to over-promise and under-deliver, and they eventually fail to maintain the trust of the ones around them.
Don’t do that. It is a much better life strategy to under-promise and over-deliver – this is the way to gain a reputation for being reliable and trustworthy.
#3. You are part of the Universe, not its centre
We are all born very self-centred; it is part of evolution, and there is not much to do about it apart from growing up.
And understanding, at a very existential level, that we are part of the universe and not its centre.
This rule of life demands that you always consider the needs, desires, and well-being of others (even if you may not put them first).
Be considerate of the people you meet in your life and the ones with whom you share your life. You’d be so much better off for it (and it doesn’t usually take much.)
#4. Live your life, don’t fear it
My mum didn’t give me many rules of life, but she did teach me this one.
So many people go through life afraid to live, and this is such a waste.
Life is an adventure: live it and love it.
#5. Life is about learning, nothing else
In my life, I have met few who are concerned with the rules of life; and I have spoken to many who hunger after the meaning of their life.
In my mind, this is simple:
There is one thing that makes life meaningful, and it is learning.
I’m not talking about bookish learning though this is important as well.
The meaning of life is about learning from your experiences, not repeating your mistakes, and learning all the time.
Every evening, before I go to sleep, I think about what I have learned that day; and it is a sad day indeed when I can’t think of something.
#6. Time is your most valuable resource, don’t squander it
Did you think that money is your most valuable resource?
Yep, many people fixate on money, but it isn’t your priceless resource. Time is because you never recoup it.
Hence, it would be wise not to waste your time.
Final thoughts about the rules of life
Much has been written about the rules of life. For that matter, there is much written about living a life with no rules.
You know what I think about this one, don’t you?
Now that you know these rules of life, you can transform your thinking and start living life on your terms.
How did my son apply these rules?
It is early days yet, so there is hope.