50 Rules to live by: Part 2

Jan 6, 2014 by

50 Rules to live by: Part 2

40.  Know your audience

This is an important concept for getting along with most people.  There are a variety of topics for conversation that are just not meant to be discussed with certain people based on a host of dynamics including gender, race, class, educational background etc.  If you want to discuss controversial topics, or navigate through grey areas, make sure you have established a rapport, otherwise you run the risk of alienating yourself or seriously offending someone.

39. Loyalty matters, but be careful what you forgive

Through thick and thin it’s important to be a stalwart friend to those closest in your life.  We make mistakes and at times the results can be very hurtful to those who are closest to us. Sometimes were unaware that we have crossed a line or sometimes we don’t care and do it for affect or some other selfish purpose.  Forgiveness is an essential component to loyalty because invariably people will betray, fail and insult you.  The question you have to ask yourself is what are the boundaries you are willing to tolerate and to forgive?  Cheating? Lying? Stealing? Deception?  These are general terms which cannot be understood without context; however, we all have limitations of what we are willing to tolerate when some of these conditions are present. Sadly, if someone sees that you’re willing to tolerate certain transgressions their likely to continue to do so at your expense.  So be careful what you’re willing to forgive.

38. It is never too late to change

My father smoked on average, a pack (plus) of cigarettes a day for 50 years and three years ago he woke up one spring day and quit cold turkey.  I never thought I’d see the day where smoking wasn’t an integral part of his identity and now, three years later, he can’t even stand the smell from a distance.  I’m incredibly proud of him for fighting his addiction and for asserting control over his health; to confront a major weakness at his age and with such swift determination is inspirational.

We all have habits and character traits that we dislike about ourselves or would like to improve.    You can sit in your procrastinating self-loathing, defeated state or you can actually do something about it.  Nothing changes drastically overnight except for your attitude; if you’re willing to do so you can instill new habits and develop new skills slowly over time.  If you’re healthy in mind and body you have no excuse, but you have to really want to exact change otherwise you will continue be what you are for better or worse.

37.  Give credit where credit is due

As university students we were conditioned to believe that no thought is original in itself and that arguments can only be cemented, and therefore proven, by referencing specialists in the discipline discussed.  From an academic perspective I can understand the rational and I do agree with the principle concept in more general terms.

If someone gives me an idea or offers a suggestion that I actually apply to my own way of living, then I will give them credit for influencing that change, rather than inheriting the idea as my own – which in university terms is called plagiarism.   We are influenced by a vast array of things and ideas on a daily basis, but some concepts resonate in unique and more personal ways and have an origin we can clearly pinpoint.  Give the source its proper recognition – you’re not as smart as you think you are.

36. Worry less about the skeletons in your closet than the snake in the room

Your family and friends love you for who you are.  You will make mistakes that will follow you for ever, make embarrassing errors in judgement and sometimes you just really screw up in ways you never thought possible.  In the end those who really matter will support and forgive you. The snake will feign support in the good times, but in the bad times will use deception and calculated efforts to bury you further – for some reason he enjoys hurting you. He may appear like a friend but when adversity strikes his true colours will be clear to anyone who cares to notice.  Always keep an eye out for the snake and be careful what you share with him, you might not want to believe it, but he could be in the room right now.

35. Know when to leave

You’re not always welcome somewhere. It might be because of something you did, or something you’re not or it could just be good manners to excuse yourself because it’s that time in the evening to do so. If someone asks you to leave you’ve likely long overstayed your welcome – don’t be that person, don’t let that happen.

The more complicated situation is when to leave a relationship.  Sometimes it’s hard to articulate, it’s based on feel or the absence of intimacy, or it could be based on a multitude of things that build over time. It’s also a very personal decision that I can’t help you with – that’s your call.

34. Do your job with dignity

Whatever it is you wake up to do in the morning – do it well and give an honest effort. It’s not just that you’re getting paid to do it; it’s about maintaining your own attitude and dignity. We all have a role on this earth, some less glamorous than others, but what you’re doing right now should be done with a level of consistency and integrity. If that basic tenet is absent from your work ethic it’s also likely absent in other areas of your life as well.

33.  You make your own breaks

Sure some people are born into affluence or even a good middle class home and may have an advantage over you financially and academically.  However, if you believe in yourself and work towards fulfilling your goals, you give yourself a greater likelihood of achieving what you are striving for.  You might not get the Rolls Royce and the mansion overlooking Lake Tahoe, but a good life is still to be had – you first have to give yourself a chance.  However, if you constantly bemoan your circumstances, blame everyone else, make excuses or you sit around and wait for something to change, you’re likely to have the same experience as Vladimir and Estragon did while waiting for Godot.

32.  If you must use a public washroom look for luxury hotels

One of the worst feelings to have is when you are stuck having to use a public bathroom that’s been soiled by a dozen people, three dogs and the janitor and you have to find a way to use it without touching it.  No one likes using a public washroom, but sometimes nature violently calls and you don’t have a choice.  My solution for you is to be mindful of all the high-end hotels in the areas that you regularly frequent and use their washroom when you are in an urgent situation.  They are usually very clean, regularly maintained and private – everything you want from a public bathroom.  As long you look like you belong no one will ever ask you if you’re staying there, and in the rare occasion that they do, simply tell them you’re meeting a friend at the bar. If you’re commuting through Union station I highly recommend the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

31. Don’t try too hard with the opposite sex

You know that girl who refuses to notice all of your efforts? You buy her flowers, you wear the cologne you know she likes, you send her cute winky face texts and lol at all her jokes etc.  You’re too easy for her (This goes for both sexes, but men are more likely to be less selective).  It’s hard to be attracted to someone who shows all their cards up front, it takes away the mystery and gives the impression that you’re a pushover.  Sometimes you can’t help yourself, you know it’s wrong, but you just want to make an effort to illustrate your interest with the hope that goodness will trump all the stupid mind games we play with one another.  If you’re lucky, you’re efforts will be rewarded, but don’t be surprised if it yields you nothing in return from your love interest unless you make it a bit of a challenge for her.  In general, just try to be yourself and express your interest naturally – if that’s not enough for someone “%$!-em” and look for someone else who will appreciate what you have to offer.

Part I – Rules 50 – 41

Part III – Rules 30 – 21

Part IV – Rules 20-11

Part V – Rules 10-6

Part VI – Rules 5-1




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