50 Rules to live by: Part 4

Jan 8, 2014 by

50 Rules to live by: Part 4

20. Rarely, if ever, volunteer talking about yourself (especially your accomplishments)

We’re all guilty of this at times, but we should still be mindful of reducing the frequency of this vulgar habit.  Of course, we need to extract information about one another in our interactions, and sometimes it’s convenient and even necessary to talk about ourselves in order to move a conversation along; however, certain opinions and details need not be shared or discussed unless the company and context is suitable.  This is especially crucial if you have a tendency to be boastful about your accomplishments or pursuits.  If you’re constantly talking about past successes in high school or how “I would’ve done it” and always find a way to talk about how great you are as well as your decision-making, take a step back bro, anyone worth half a lick doesn’t care.  Instead, ask people about themselves in a way that makes them comfortable and yields a good back and forth discourse.  Your audience will be engaged and at least one of you won’t be sick of listening to your voice.

19. Communicate with dignity

Texting and various messenger programs have made us all easily accessible to one another.  These virtual and instantaneous platforms encourage the use of bastardized and lackadaisical use of language, acronyms and abbreviated often easily misunderstood messages.  They can be a great facilitator for getting an immediate response to something urgent or for maintaining superficial interaction; however, it can be very challenging to have a genuine exchange with someone using one of these programs.

Unfortunately, it appears that as a culture we are using this form of communication more regularly.  We are moving towards cold, brief and virtual encounters and its creating a strange disconnect in the way we speak and interact with one another in person.  The more we move towards and rely on this form of communication, the less we care about communicating meaningfully. It also makes it more difficult to develop intimacy and leaves too much room for misinterpretation or spontaneous outbursts of idiocy.  Be wary of this trend, pick up the phone and call someone or meet for dinner, especially regarding important matters, whenever you want to meaningfully talk to someone.  Poor communication can play a destructive role in a relationship, so look for ways to mitigate the possibility of that unfolding.

18. Stop lying to yourself!

We’re not going to get into this now are we? Stop making excuses!  We both know what I’m referring to. Don’t worry I won’t say anything, but you know you have to be honest with yourself. I know, I know it’s hard – but you’ll feel better in the end. Everyone will be better off. Besides do you want this to continue much longer?  Call me if you want to talk about it – you know how to reach me.

17. Take calculated risks – and sometimes a leap of faith

There’s no point living without taking risks.  When you look back on your life what do you think you’re likely to regret most while you’re watching Days of our Lives and injecting insulin into your plump left ass cheek in your mortgage free home?  Not pursuing something out of fear or the possibility of embarrassment or failure might be right up there.  Perhaps it’s a job that pays less than what you currently make, but gives purpose to your life.  Maybe its calling that girl you couldn’t summon the strength to express your feelings to and you settled for someone else because they made more money or because they were just there.  There’s likely a few things in your life right now that require you to move into an uncomfortable place, that leaves you vulnerable to failure, rejection and embarrassment.  If you take a chance you might also find these negative results are outweighed by the possibility of an opposite and more fruitful outcome.  Your risk taking could yield so many more fantastic and unexpected positive results and experiences that you may be robbing yourself because you’re simply too scared to take a shot.  Just imagine how strong that fear will feel like in 40 years, when you look back and are haunted by the question of what if?

16.  Leave Schadenfreude to the Germans

Revelling in your friend’s misfortune is reprehensible, disgraceful and treasonous. We should champion our friends and family, celebrate their success and never begrudge their accomplishments however modest.

15. Remember the details

I think in order to truly distinguish yourself among your personal and working relationships you must pay attention to the small things in their lives. It could be a birthday, a song that triggers anxiety or happiness (preferably) for a loved one, or it can be as simple as remembering that a co-worker prefers gluten-free products when you buy treats for your peers one morning. First it shows you’re paying attention and secondly it shows you care.  This resonates with people.  We like the idea of being heard and remembered – no one likes the feeling of being excluded.  If you’re conscious of the small things that make people tick, and have an opportunity to recognize those subtleties in a reasonable way, do so when possible. It will be remembered and valued by the people who matter and it distinguishes you from the vast majority of your peers who couldn’t be bothered to recall such a detail.

14. Love those who deserve to be loved

This rule especially holds true for your parents and extended further to those closest in your life. It might sound cliché or cheesy but they represent your foundation, for better or worse. Your parents brought you in this world and likely imparted more positive than negative traits in developing your constitution.  They might have made mistakes along the way, but so will everyone else you love in your life.  Learn to forgive and love unconditionally those who are deserving of such an honour. They are the ones who champion your successes and stand behind you during your failures.  They are the building blocks that empower you and support you through all situations – just remember they need your love too.

13. Let go of the things that hold you back

Whether they are material possessions, habits, ideas or people, a person must do everything in their power to prevent inhibiting and harmful influences.  If you’re a slave to what you own or want to own and it’s hurting your own well-being or compromising your relationships, maybe it’s time to sell the Jaguar.  If you’re regularly eating too many sour cream Ruffles potato chips and drinking Budweiser’s like a high performance athlete consumes water, than it’s likely that your body is also deteriorating as is your confidence and your cognitive ability.

If your friends are destructive and/or constantly a source of deception or negativity or selfishness than those friends are expendable and you must learn to walk away or severely reduce their role in your life. Some of these decisions are very difficult to make, but if negative and detrimental patterns are surfacing in your life and you can pinpoint the source why would you continue to hurt yourself? The hardest choice is letting go of people, if you’ve built history or a certain level of intimacy, but if you communicate with them candidly and honestly they should understand and care enough to make an effort to reduce their negative impact on your life.  If not, f&%!-em.

12. If you’re not failing with some regularity you’re not living

I know she turned you down, and you didn’t get the job you were hoping for and your business went bankrupt, but at least you tried right?  Every time you fail, you know a little bit more about yourself and what you’re capable of and eventually if you don’t concede, you give yourself an opportunity to break through your own personal threshold.  In order for me to curl 60 lb. dumbbells I had to build the strength over time to get there (I just broke rule 20).  At one point I failed at 25, then 35 and so on. Over time I built strength over slight improvements in repetition over and over until I could get strong enough to lift a higher weight. Such is life. You will go only so far as you’re willing to learn and overcome the barriers that hold you back.  If you never try you will never know and like I said in rule 17 the older version of yourself will resent you for not giving yourself a chance.

11. Actively seek out moments

Most of life is inconsequential gibberish and boring filler before the grand finale; however, there are moments that are special that you will always treasure and worth our very existence. You never know when they might happen, but they don’t occur at home staring into the bottom of a wine glass alone. Their often genuine experiences without pretence and agenda that occur with people we love. Like the day we went for Chinese for the first time together.  In a packed restaurant just before Christmas, I tried showing you how to use chopsticks. When you tried to use them you accidentally sucked noodles up your nose and you just couldn’t stop laughing and so I naturally couldn’t stop laughing at you not being able to stop laughing, which in turn caused everyone to stare at us, which in turn caused us both to laugh harder, which in turn ended up being our last Chinese dinner together. I’ll never forget your smile that day.

The truth is sometimes those moments also hurt too, and if we’re not careful they will come to define and sometimes haunt and even paralyze us. It is these moments we must be wary about. But I’d still rather be haunted by a “mistake” than not ever known what led to it.  Who wants to go for Chinese?

Part I – Rules 50-41

Part II – Rules 40-31

Part III – Rules 30-21

Part V – Rules 10-6

Part VI – Rules 5-1




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