I’ve had this Living Rules list for over two years now. I think it’s important to learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.
So much in the style of Gibbs from NCIS, I decided to document my personal set of rules in order to better follow them. Unlike the primetime Alpha Male, however, I made it a note on Facebook.
Jerod, everyone’s favorite webmaster, was obviously creeping my Facebook profile to read my plethora of amazing Eric Hinske jokes and came across my note. He felt the list was some good inspirational content.
So here they are, in slightly expanded form.
Image source: SethSkim.com
If I were to go any more in depth, I’d likely have a small self help book on my hands, and I really have too much hair to be writing those.
Why 34 Rules? Because The Blue Jays’ Marc Rzepczynski is the ultimate man. No, but seriously, it’s because I just happen to have found these 34 things to be worth keeping as rules.
Remember folks, these rules are designed for myself, but I’d be lying if I didn’t think most of them were a good guideline for how to eliminate stress and work towards your goals, which really is the meaning of life, is it not?
1) “There’s no crying in baseball” is my life.
There is no crying in baseball, thus there is not crying in my life.
All kidding aside, feeling bad about your problems does not fix your problems. Take a cue from Barney Stinson: when you get sad, stop being sad and be awesome instead.
2) Don’t Apologize
People should never have to apologize. Remember, I’m Canadian and saying this.
When you apologize, either you’re apologizing for something you never should have done in the first place or you’re feeling bad (or pretending to feel bad) about something that you really shouldn’t.
If you did something wrong, yes, apologize. But if you really did something awful, some simple words will not make it better. And while it’s “nice” to try and make people feel better, accepting blame for something you did not do is beyond stupid.
3) Be confident no matter what.
Not only is confidence sexy, but confident behavior breeds success.
If you have a job interview, who will the potential employer be more likely hire? The more confident person.
Society has crippled many of us with a belief that humility is the ultimate virtue, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a wuss. Now don’t be a cocky arsehole, but let it be known what you are capable of.
Believe in yourself or no one else ever will.
4) The best way to keep a secret? Keep it to yourself. Second best? Tell one other person, if you must. There is no third best.
I outright stole the wording from NCIS, but I have long sung the praises of being private about certain things. The best way to avoid gossip is to not allow yourself to be part of it. Be someone people can trust; keep your mouth shut.
Remember, gossips talk about other people because their lives aren’t interesting enough.
5) It’s better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.
Live your life according to your own rules. Instead of nervously tip-toeing through life, plow through it like Travis Fryman breaking up a double-play. (Don’t get that reference? Read about Fryman here.)
Be a risk-taker. Don’t be reckless, but unapologetically go for the things you want.
See, not all of these are heavy. Lighters are useful. Interesting people sometimes need one. It’s a great way to meet new people. Always be prepared.
7) Obey the Platinum Rule.
“Don’t eat where you poop.” Basically, do not get romantically involved with anybody that you have to deal with on a regular basis, be that a co-worker, classmate, neighbor, batting cage operator etc.
The odds are against it working out, and why add unnecessary stress to your life if that person (or yourself) ends up crazy?
8) If you need space, become totally unreachable.
When you want time off, TAKE TIME OFF! Turn off the email, cell phone, don’t make plans, just be with yourself and your thoughts.
People have a harder time than ever letting go of their electronic crutches. I’m at least old enough to remember when cell phones and email did not exist. People got along just fine. Chances are, many of those things that seem so important at the time aren’t, and someone else can handle it while you take care of yourself.
It’s okay to be selfish for a day. It will make you more open and tolerant of others when you are available.
9) Take responsibility.
There is a common theme here of not being a wuss.
Stop making excuses. If you screw something up, acknowledge it, take ownership of it, and take action to fix it.
People will respect you more. They will also bother you less. If you know you messed up, they will give you space to correct yourself.
This goes back to being confident. Show it even in your failures.
10) Never betray a friend.
There is no excuse for betrayal. It is always possible to advance in life without stepping on other people.
Be someone you can like when you look in the mirror.
11) Always go for it / “It’s Always On”
Tomorrow turns into never.
Don’t wait for ideal situations to do things, because there is never an ideal situation. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it also isn’t going to line everything up perfectly either. If you want something, go for it immediately. You will regret the things you didn’t do way more than the things you do.
The second half of this is directed to the dating world. See that stranger you want to talk to? Go do it, and do it now. People are perceptive. She sees you eyeing her, so instead of being the creep, be the smooth person who makes her day. This goes double for women. Don’t be sexist, go talk to that man!
12) Don’t believe everything you’re told. Double check.
Just because you aren’t full of crap, doesn’t mean other people aren’t. People interpret and hear things incorrectly. I’m not saying don’t believe people, but definitely take the time to find things out for yourself too.
13) Don’t date crazy horse girls.
Remember that girl in Grade 5 who LOVED horses? She drew pictures of them in class, pretended to be a horse galloping around at recess, and dreamed of riding her horse everyday. She was weird, wasn’t she?
The point is, never date anyone who can only focus on one thing. Find a well-rounded person who can calibrate their behavior to the given situation. Don’t get stuck with someone who will eventually bore you.
14) Never turn down a gift.
It’s rude. If someone wants to buy you a drink, give you a hug, or drive you somewhere, let them. It doesn’t make you dependent on them, and it will make that person’s day to do something for you. Everyone is happier.
15) Never have a relapse.
Not talking about drug or alcohol addition here, though that is obviously an awful idea too. I’m talking dating again.
If you broke up with someone or they broke up with you it’s because IT DID NOT WORK. Yes, people do change, but once you’ve established an ineffective relationship framework, you will most likely be doomed to repeat it.
Stop being lazy and find someone new or just be happy on your own.
16) Always carry $200 cash. Just in case. (On a road trip or vacation, increase to $1000)
I learned this during the blackout almost a decade ago. Technology fails time to time. Money is useful everywhere, all the time. Cover your ass.
Also, carry your money somewhere other than where you carry your credit and bank cards. If you lose one, you at least have the other accessible source of money.
I’m so getting mugged tonight.
17) Accept things the way they are.
This works in conjunction with not crying. While you have the ability to change parts of your reality, you need to man up and accept what has already happened. If something bad happens, move on and work to ensure it won’t happen again.
Stop stressing over what you can not control, and control whatever you can.
18) When someone doesn’t like you, it’s a gift.
It’s just one less person to worry about.
There are to many great people to worry about the haters. And if they hate, them let em hate and watch the money pile up.
19) Most people are “creative” and “original” in the exact same way all their friends are. Treat accordingly.
Despite our best efforts, we are all products of our environment. We all subconsciously become amalgamations of the people around us.
There are very few truly “original” ideas out there. Everything is derived from something else.
Help your friends, don’t step on them.
When you help other people, you will feel good.
Be the kind of person you wish others were more like.
21) Keep people in your life if they improve it. If they are a burden, eliminate them.
Notice the links between Rules 15, 17, 18 and this one?
Some people are bad for you. Friendship is largely not a choice. You can not control people who you will have commonalities with.
At the same time, the people in your life should improve your life on balance, as you should improve theirs. Sometimes all that means is they add excitement and fun, but that is enough.
If someone becomes a burden to your life, you don’t need them anymore. It’s okay to fire/break-up with friends when they stop being friends.
22) Don’t seek the approval of others. Validate yourself.
Don’t seek compliments. Don’t do things because you think other people will like you more. Do things that make you happy. Be confident in the person you are and know that if you like yourself, others do too. You don’t need to hear it.
23) Don’t ever mess with Suley’s coffee if you want to live.
Seriously, this is not a joke.
24) Don’t idealize the opposite (or same) sex or relationships. Public Transit Theory.
Public Transit Theory: Attractive people are like the city bus. If you miss one, another will come by in 15 minutes. (Unless it’s the end of the night, then hop on whatever will take you home.)
25) Don’t compare yourself to other people. Live your own life.
I am very competitive. With myself.
I cannot control what anyone else does, nor should I care what anyone else does. If someone beats me out for a job or accolade, and I did my absolute best, there is no shame there; it was beyond my control.
Other people have their own issues that you don’t see, so who cares about them?
26) Leave every situation better off than you found it.
This applies to everything. If you can look back on something that you have influenced, and know that your influence was positive, then you have succeeded.
This rule is a favorite of mine because it encourages you to govern to your own values and beliefs and worry less about society’s skewed value system. If you make your life and the lives of those you touch better, you are absolutely a success.
By that same token, do not do anything that will negatively affect another person. Be a positive.
27) Family is the most important thing in the world and often, it is all you can rely on.
This explains itself. Family should be priority number 1. Chances are you have long been their top priority too.
28) Don’t procrastinate.
Procrastinating adds unnecessary stress and shows weakness.
I was long victimized by procrastination. I’m still not perfect. However, your inability to focus is not something you should accept. You control your behavior, so just get it done. It has to get done anyways.
The reward is you will be stress-free after the task is completed. If it takes 2 hours to do something, do it in your first available 2 hours. Then you won’t have to worry about it like the person who will think about this “daunting task” for weeks and not enjoy any of the time they fooled themselves into thinking was “free”.
It isn’t “free-time” if you can’t escape the shackles of your own stress.
29) If you “need” outside influences (be they people, drugs, activities) to have fun, you are not fun.
Notice the word need.
I’m not saying you should never drink or do drugs; what I’m saying is don’t rely on it for a good time. A buzz can be fun, but if you cannot have a good time sober, you are incapable of have a legitimate good time.
You shouldn’t need the plausible deniability of intoxication to do things you actually want to do. You don’t need a crutch.
There are times when you need to rise up and be your absolute best. To buckle down and be a leader.
I firmly believe in living a stress-free existence when possible. That being said, you need to know how and when to rise to the occasion.
31) Don’t have heroes.
When you idolize others, you diminish yourself. Become the person you think all others should want to be.
If someone does not want to trade places with you, you aren’t living life properly.
Instead of wanting to be someone else, be the person people envy.
32) It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
People will assume you are going to, or coming from, something better.
Don’t settle to just “be yourself”. Be your best self. Look the way you feel. And you should feel like the coolest person in the room.
33) Whenever you mention you are about to mention knowing about a band/TV Show/book before it became cool, remember the person you are talking to is discovering you before you become cool. Idiot.
Don’t be “that guy”. No one likes “that guy”.
You have not done anything special by hearing about something first. You are not actually creating the art in question, so you deserve absolutely no credit. Share cool things with people, but don’t feel like it makes you special.
34) Make a phone call; better yet, talk in person. Texting is for 12-year old girls.
Texting has a use: short, specific instruction or statements that require no response. Stop wasting your time texting every 30 seconds.
Make a phone call, have the conversation, and FINISH the conversation. Improve your social skills and give yourself some actual “free-time”.
*** Have any comments or rules of your own? Your input is welcome below. ***