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Rules of Life
12 Simple Rules to Live By

Added By: DADAD Staff

July 6, 2019

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At 68 I can now look at my life and say that I did pretty well.   Looking back on how I got to where I am, I can narrow my success down these 12 simple rules to live by.

Things you should do as much as you can.

  1. Honesty with yourself and others
  2. Respect others
  3. Don’t let ego get in the way of good decisions
  4. Never Give up
  5. Love what you do
  6. Give generously
  7. Save more than you spend
  8. Listen to the experts
  9. Continuous Learning
  10. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.

Things you have to find the balance – because too much can be bad.

  1. Be adventurous – But don’t take excessive risks.
  2. Have a lot of Insurance – But don’t overbuy.

I break these rules into two broad groups.  The first group are those things that you should always err on the side of doing too much.  If you have to decide to be honest or not, I find that being too honest is never a horrible mistake.  Whereas, not being honest can be very bad.  The same with respecting others.  If you have decide to respect someone or not, and it is not obvious then err on the side of respecting them.  The same giving generously, listening to the experts.

If you have to decide between spending and saving and the decision is close, my experience is that I can more easily go back buy something if not buying it was a bad decision.  And, the great think about technology, if you put off buying something the product you finally buy could better and cheaper by the time you buy it.

Things you should do all the time and as much as you can!


By far the most important thing to remember is honesty.  Honesty with yourself and with others.  Being honest increases the likelihood you are focused on the right things.

There is an old saying that if you find yourself up in a tree you had better know why you got there before jumping down.  Honesty is required to really know something.

There was a show called American Idol.  It is a singing talent search show.  It ‘s amazing the people that can’t sing that don’t know they can’t sing.  You have to ask why no one has told them.  You have to ask why their friends or family have not told them they can’t sing.  You would think that someone that loved them would say, “Honey, you can’t sing.”  To my point here, no one is being honest.  These people can’t sing yet no one is telling them the truth.

For some reason, people think that lying is better than honesty.  There is a beer commercial that says, “if you want to be honest, be prepared to sleep on the couch.”  Implied is a question like, “Sweetheart, does this dress make me look fat?”  Sure you can be honest but is being honest worth sleeping on the couch.  Better we tell a little white lie and move on.

Do I lie?  I try not to. But questions like, “Does this dress make me look fat,” is best answered with a lie.  However, when it comes to her cooking I try to always honest.  Do you see the difference?  If I tell my wife she doesn’t look fat, all that happens is she is happy.  But if I don’t tell her the truth about what she cooked, then I might see that same meal again.

Another factor here is the misguided belief that if you try hard enough you can do whatever they want.  So to the American Idol example, people believe that if I want to sing bad enough I will be able to sing.  And not only sing, but sing well enough to win a national singing talent contest.

Respect Others

George Carlin has a joke; “isn’t it funny how those that drive faster than you are maniacs, and those that drive slower than you are morons?”  We have a tendency to think we are smarter than everyone else.  But that is a bad perspective because if you don’t respect others you cannot learn from them.


Don’t let your ego get in the way of good decisions

There are a lot of times when winning is more important than finding the best solution to the problem.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

In life, you want to minimize effort.  In computer jargon, we say you want to minimize clicks or keystrokes.

Don’t let your ego get in the way of good decisions

Try not to think you know everything.  Accept the fact that you could be wrong about anything.

There is a story about the 6 blind men and the Elephant; each one touching a different part of the elephant.  Each one could believe that they know what an elephant is.  But if they are honest with themselves they know they are blind and that what they think they know may not be what is the reality.

Never Give up

You don’t know how far you can go if you don’t try.  So never give up.

Do what you love

It is said that if you do what you love you never have to work a day in your life.  I agree.  In the book, “First Break all the rules” Buckingham and Coffman suggest that finding your strengths is the key to finding what you love to do.  I agree.

Give generously

I was flipping channels the other day and I hear Suzy Orman say that it is critical to be generous.  I think the Beatles said it too when they said: “the love you take is equal to the love you make.”  Or Tim Russert when he said that the best exercise is to bend down and help someone up.

Save more than you Spend

This is a simple matter to say but for many, it is a difficult thing to do.  Yet it is critical.  You want to end up with more than you started with.

Strive to minimize the downside rather than maximize the upside

This is the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush thinking.  In taking risks remember the downside more than the upside.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Things naturally grow.  You need to constantly look at what you are doing and find ways to simplify your life.


Things you need to find a balance for!

Have a lot of insurance.

Let’s face it – bad things happen.  Two days after my daughter was born our house was damaged in a fire.  Fortunately, no one was hurt.  And because we had good insurance, other than the emotional trauma, we did not suffer too badly.

Besides actual insurance, there are a lot of ways to insure yourself.  You can hope for the best but plan for the worst.  Dale Carnegie talks about preparing for the worst.

You have backups and dual systems.

Be Adventurous – But don’t take excessive risks.

You need to do new things.  Be adventurous.  But know your limits in terms of time, money, and physical capabilities.