50 Rules to live by: Part 1

Jan 5, 2014 by

50 Rules to live by: Part 1

Who needs the 10 Commandments when you can have 50 rules to live by?

This may be a random anecdotal article for a sports site but on occasion I enjoy going off the beaten path and so I will play the part of Dr. Nick and impart wisdom and guidance for the New Year, more catered to men at times, on how you should live your life. If you listen you will be rewarded with a lifetime of joy and my cordial blessing. We could even be friends.  But after reading my rules which are listed in order of importance you might be happy that you aren’t.

I know 50 rules is a lot to digest, but in truth I could have written 100.  What makes me an authority you ask?  A lot of experience with people and in failure and suffering topped with a sprinkle of hope in finding a better tomorrow.  You know like in The Lumineers song Hey Ho “I’ve been trying to do it right, living the lonely life…  I don’t know where I belong I don’t know where I went wrong, but I can write a song, (er article)”.

Through my life experiences I’ve learned a few things that have kept me above ground and brought some personal success.  Not the type of material success some people in my social life would prefer, but the type of success that allows me to look in the mirror and be comfortable with who I am and what I stand for.   Not every rule is going to apply to you, some are playful, some are philosophical, but mostly each rule is based on common sense and just trying to be a good human.  It doesn’t always work, I’m far from perfect, but we all need good governance and I’m sure you can find a rule or two you can laugh about or reflect on or flat-out agree with and immediately integrate into your life.  After all you have failed once or twice as well – that’s why you’re here with me.  Maybe you can tell me what I’m missing?  I’m open minded, but first have a look for yourself; you might be surprised by what you find. To spare you from having to read one massive article I will publish ten rules a day for five days.

50. Do not fart in front of your lover.  Ever!

Occasionally an accidental slip is tolerable, but encouraging the habit of flatulating by doing it freely is gross, unattractive and irredeemable. That’s what buddies do in high school to purposely out-disgust one another – couples need not that “comfort” or competition. If your girl is greeting you with a Dutch oven when you go to bed you should get the hell out of Holland and fast.  It’s hard enough maintaining long-term romance – throwing gas into the mix isn’t going to make you eager to go near the area that creates such a stench.

49. Don’t give your opinion unless it’s asked of you

I know this sounds a touch hypocritical, but fortunately this is my site so I can impose my rules upon you as I wish.  The art of listening is a wonderful and undervalued character trait.  You can still add to a conversation or act as a confidant without forcing your opinion on someone.  Besides don’t you enjoy it when one of your friends just listens without feeling the need to interject some petty self-serving response? I have acquaintances who always feel the need to tell people what they should do based on their relatively limited and superficial understanding of a situation.  They don’t really listen to what you’re saying they just look for opportunities to interject and relate things to their own world view. That’s part of the reason they will never become one of my friends.  It’s not enamoring and it’s often selfish, unwelcome and ignorant.  If you’re not asked for your opinion keep it to yourself, ask permission to interject, attempt to change the topic or kindly excuse yourself if you feel uncomfortable or incapable of shutting up.

48. Always carry a notepad

Most of us now have smartphones and they are all equipped with built-in memo/journal pads so you have no excuse.  You just never know when you’re going to think of a good idea or develop a thought or observation. Plus their handy to set goals, structure your life, remind you of your failings, and reinforce your beliefs.  Or sometimes you just want to draw little hearts with arrows through them with the name Nick(y) in the middle.  Inspiration comes in all forms; if you’re not ready to capture it you’re likely never going to realize it either.

47. Find good company to share your meals with frequently (and eat slowly)

Food is meant to be enjoyed and so is the company you share while eating (unless you don’t like the company than eat as fast as you can). Dining with others should be a communal and regular experience where people share their ideas, resolve conflict, reflect on their day or just find a reason to laugh.  Enjoyment out of the act of eating comes through slowly tasting and savouring flavour, and not just to inhale ones meals as quickly as possible.  Also, by eating with less vigor you’re less likely to overeat and in case you haven’t noticed North Americans eat far too much and it’s leading to a major health epidemic that will unnecessarily over-burden our health system for generations to come.  If you want to stay slim and actually enjoy what you’re eating slow down a little.  What’s the hurry anyway? Enjoy the company, plan your next adventure, be present and actually talk to one another. Human intimacy is important and there’s no better place to develop that closeness than at the dinner table – Facebook can wait for an hour.

46. Be courteous

This may sound crazy, but actually look behind you when going through a door of a public building (young girls/women are especially bad at this in Toronto) and hold the damn door for people. If you’re sitting while using public transit and you’re young and healthy, give up your seat to someone who needs it. If you’re wearing headphones in public keep the volume down. If the guy in front of you is short a quarter for his Starbucks coffee and you have it give it to him.  If you’re using a public bathroom, clean-up after yourself if you make a mess.  It’s amazing how oblivious people are too one another and how poor mannered we have become. A small gesture can do wonders for someone having a bad day or turn an average day into a great one.  Try to be the person making someone’s day rather than being just another self-serving gross zombie filling space giving humanity a bad name.

45.   Do not call girls you’re attracted to or intimate with dude or “dawg”

After having lived in southern California for long stretches in my youth, I can understand accidentally calling a girl dude, because of how common the vernacular is used.  However, in general it’s demeaning to call a girl dawg or dude.  Your love interest is not one of your “boyz” and even if they act like they have bigger testicles or want to be treated like one of the guys, cut it out unless it’s intentional.  In that instance, the language can be a clear signifier that the girl is in fact one of the boyz – in doing so you will probably also ensure that will always be the case.

44. Get over the idea of retirement

First of all it’s just not practical.  We are living longer and longer than at any other time in history and we need money to survive let alone to feed our indulgences.  In Canada, roughly 70% of all workers do not have a separate pension plan and live with heavy debt loads and neither of these trends is likely to reverse in the near term – if anything they are likely to worsen.  Besides the monetary argument, ideally you enjoy what you do and there is some purpose that underlies your motives.  Wouldn’t you want to do that as long as physically and emotionally possible?  The idea of sitting in a chair all day watching television and eating Cheetos sounds like purgatory to me, maybe I’m crazy, but I plan on being active and being passionate about something until my body or mind fails me.

 43. Avoid crying in front of others

This may sound like a slightly meatheadish comment, but crying is an act that should only be performed on rare occasion like funerals or when your home alone watching Field of Dreams or listening to The Cure while drinking Jack Daniels and double dipping regular Ruffles potato chips.  Sure if you’re a woman you can occasionally get away with it, but as a man there’s no room for it in public unless something truly tragic has occurred.   Something’s men shouldn’t do – crying is one of them. Ideally, I would include showing any emotion at all, but that’s much more difficult perhaps too idealistic – although the more I think about it the more I want to live by it.

42.  Find ways to stay confidant

Work out, eat healthy, buy nice clothes, stimulate your mind frequently, talk to yourself in the mirror, spend time with people who nourish your confidence – do whatever it takes!  This could easily be my number one rule – but it sounds a bit too vain to be given such a high position.  But ask yourself when you’re most confidant aren’t you also the most content/happy as well?  The correlation is no coincidence my friends.  People are attracted to confidence and you will feel stronger and more in control, more intellectually present, more witty and dutiful and humourous when you act with certainty. Be confidant and fight to maintain that state for as long as humanly possible. Mind you one must be careful that your confidence doesn’t evolve into a state of arrogance, which is arguably the worst trait a person can have.  Ideally, you have people around you that can objectively offer you some checks and balances to help maintain a level head.

41.  Don’t finish people’s sentences

I’m guilty of breaking this rule big time and it is one of my pet peeves that I dislike about myself most.  I’m conscious of it and I’m getting better, but damn it’s a nasty habit and every time I do it I can hear that little voice inside my head saying “shut-up, shut-up, don t do it, let her finish” and then continue to finish every sentence I can for the next hour.  Let people speak unless they really need help in a situation.  It’s rude and can be insulting to do otherwise.  Let people find their voice and they will appreciate it.  It’s simple as that.  Like I said earlier in rule 49, learn to listen more and if you don’t like the company you’re in just excuse yourself.

Part II – Rules 40-31

Part III – Rules 30-21

Part IV – Rules 20-11

Part V – Rules 10-6

Part VI – Rules 5-1


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