Tuesday, February 13, 2018

In Other Words: Rules for Living Result from Doing Something Wrong



We have rules for everything. Rules create order but at the same time just there presence of a rule prompts us to break that order. Just because. I just broke a grammar rule there for dramatic effect.

Rules are meant to help us make sense of the world, add meaning, or focus on a task. But every rule is the result of some sort of transgression. I suppose that’s why there is a sign forbidding animals on the interstate. Someone did it.


Every now and then I review my list of life rules. It’s a good exercise to test what I find important or believe.  It's a fairly serious endeavor.

All of us have learned from our mistakes which results in creating a personal rule of behavior.  I have a longtime rule of not eating anyplace named “Captain” whatever after I contracted food poisoning from a questionable seafood restaurant on the east coast. I doubt if the owner was a captain. Thus my rule.




So here’s a thought experiment for you. What are your rules for living? Don’t list your idealized rules. Look at your life backwards. Look at the way you behave and then identify the rules from there. Think about your failures and what you learned. Some may be noble and some, well, may not be so inspiring but practical.

My list, like the Sahara, continues to shift and drift over the years. I tried to boil the thoughts down to t-shirt or bumper sticker level which seems to be friendly to our current short attention - Oh, look! Squirrel! - span.

So I present my Rules for Life. I hope it starts an interesting conversation.

* Pain is a great teacher. Pay attention.

* Embrace happenstance. Those “happy accidents” are invitations.Take them.

* Think of yourself as an independent business, never as an employee. You will have more control of your life and you will always have meaningful work.

* Laugh at yourself. It keeps you rooted and prevents a big head. We are funny animals.

* Share. If anything is worth having then it’s also worth sharing. Share your ideas, joy, wealth, time, etc.

* If it’s not good for you, get it out of your life. That goes for people, food, objects, ideas, whatever. It’s a liberating feeling.

* Show up early and give more than asked.

* Be polite. It’s the grease of the social machine.

* Look for the pattern. If you recognize the pattern then you will understand the problem or issue or topic or whatever you see.

* If you don’t know, ask. Faking it is worse.

* Be open to new things.

* You may think that someone is ahead and someone is behind, but life is not a line. Life just is.

* Prefer people over experiences and experiences over stuff.

Now it's your turn.

Courtesy Bonnie Cisneros


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