Have you ever have an idea that led to a life-changing decision? Something that seems like it came out of nowhere, but now seems so obvious and important in hindsight?
This happened to me and, as a result, it changed my career. This one out-of-the-blue insight laid the foundation for the way my life is unfolding.
I remember what sparked me to do this, but after listening to a podcast, I sat down and began a monthly subscription to Audible. You could say it was much more than an idea; it was more like acceptance. It was my intro to learning about this world that we share.
The first book I purchased with my credits was "the personal MBA". In it, I opened up my mind to a business philosophy that has taught me to keep developing something of value to the world. The purpose is simple; the rules of this book would make a system of decisions automatic and allow me to have a template to use. I would, as a result, begin my path to success.
I would ask the question: “Why would I want impose more rules in my life?”
Government laws are forced on us—even for something as mundane as loitering or wearing a seatbelt—we resist. Why? Because we are rebellious in nature and don’t like the idea of others controlling our actions.
However, when we put rules into our own life around our behaviors, we begin to effectively slow down entropy(chaos) and can become highly effective and productive people.
You see, we all go through life using a certain set of guiding principles. These come from books that have influenced us, cultural traditions passed down to us through our parents, our self-affirmed values, social experiences, and from personal explorations into what matters.
You already have rules, You just need to take a moment to become aware of them. For better or for worse, we all have a set of operating principles that guide our decisions.
For example, some people have an unwritten mental rule that they always go to church on Sunday morning. Others have an unwritten rule that they always go to the bar after work on Friday. You can see how these subconscious rules and patterns can lead to the type of life you're living.
To further illuminate my point, think about the operating system of your phone or computer. The “rules” of this operating system allow it to do marvelous things, from FaceTiming a friend in France to mapping your way across a city. You can even harness the power of this operating system to run a multi-million business.
Now imagine building an equally powerful operating system for your life. You’d have greater clarity on what matters, what to do, and when to do it (and perhaps most importantly, what to stop doing). Results would come more quickly and more easily.
That’s what the Update of your life rules are all about.
The value of having a “Rules to Live By operating system” has not diminished since that first book.
My hope for this article is to influence you and many others to create their own rules, Just try not to get caught up in creating an excessive number of rules.
Here are some of the rules I've adopted and why:
I do not check social media or email when I wake up.
This is no longer necessary. When I created the rule, social media/email was a bad habit. It controlled me, rather than the other way around. Today, it doesn’t get in my way because I have built automatic habits that purge digital distractions. I have also been very clear about defining my daily priorities and time-blocking so that I have the focus I need to accomplish all of my goals—without being derailed by text messages or social media.
I will help 100 men and women transform their lives.
This is a goal. It’s not a rule. It should never have been on my list in the first place. That said, many of rules have helped me push toward this goal by creating greater discipline and clarity.
Now that I’ve hacked off a couple of inappropriate “rules,” it’s time to rework the ones that got me started. The good news is, my operating system has not fundamentally changed—it just needs a few updates.
My Updated 10 Rules
1. I'm in bed early (9:30-10 p.m. )
2. I read for at least 30 minutes before I go to bed.
3. I've created a "Idea's to conclude" list at the end of every workday and spend additional time in the evening updating it.
4. I do not engage in confrontations with anyone, in-person or online. This is a waste of time and energy. If I have caused harm, I apologize and fix the situation. Then I take a deep breath, relax, breathe out, and re-focus my efforts back on my work and goals.
5. I am guided by these two phrases: a) “Nothing matters.”—I can only work towards my major, massive goals, and vision for helping others. The opinions of others do not matter to my goals. b) “It will all be over soon.”—The bad times will end and the good times will, too. Stay strong during the struggles and be present in the moments that matter, for this too shall pass.
6. I accept that everything that happens to me—good and bad—is my personal responsibility. I blame no one but myself. These are the choices I’ve made and this is the life I’m living. I accept the consequences of my actions.
7. I act politely and courteously. My relationships have benefited tremendously from this rule and I have earned the respect of peers as a result. You can’t put a price tag on that respect, but I know that it’s elevated my status among many of my colleagues—many of whom find the simple act of not cursing to be impossible.
8. I will not be the person I don’t want to be. I will not be petty, jealous, or envious, or give in to any other of those lazy emotions. I will not gossip or speak badly of others, no matter who I am with or what environment that I am in. I will not be negative when it is better to be positive. I will not hurt others when it is possible to help. I will know the temptations and environments in life that I must avoid, and I will avoid them, even if it means severing ties with those who “live” in those environments. It’s my life and that matters more than what other people think of me.
9. “I will always keep the child within me alive.” —Ted Nicholas.
10. “I will write with honesty and feeling.” —Ted Nicholas. It is only through honesty that my advice and encouragement will bring change to those around me. People sense falsehood and will dismiss you because of it.
If you are new to the idea of a personal philosophy, I want you to write down your own Rules for Living. Revisit your list and add more if you think it’s necessary, but keep your list to no more than 10. After all, 10 Commandments have been a popular idea in the past, so 10 rules are a good template. Besides, your rules are about empowerment, not constriction.
This is your “operating system,” built to keep you moving forward efficiently. Identify your biggest temptations and fashion a couple of aspirational rules around them that will encourage you to stay out of trouble. Over time, these will become automatic habits on your path to success.
If you already have your rules tucked away, pull them out, and review them whenever you need an update. Cut the fluff. Make edits to accommodate your current situation and goals. Utilize strong language as an impetus for leveling up. Be realistic, but push yourself to new heights.
With your new improved “operating system” in place, success will come more quickly than before. It certainly has for me.
Here's to your Wealth/Health!
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