20 Golden Rules I Live By (Well, they work for me).

You probably already cottoned on that I’m a pretty opinionated old bird. And while I’m no repository of worldly wisdom, here are a couple of rules that I live by that seem to make living easier:

1) Life is fair. I know many people who’d contend otherwise, but from my observation, no one really has everything. It might seem like they do, but you don’t know their story.

2) Nothing is ever completely black or white. Except for premeditated, cold-blooded murder, which is definitely wrong, almost everything is else is situation-dependent. Always ask yourself, “What is the situation here? What am I missing?”

3) Don’t fight with idiots. Firstly, they’re too dumb to see reason and even if you do win, they’d be no thrill in having bested them.

4) You need to quell the urge to think up a suitable reply to hear what the other person is saying. Make allowances for the fact that they may not be as articulate as you.

5) Notwithstanding number 4, don’t agree just to be agreeable. Have an opinion, take a stand, state your convictions in the clearest, least offensive possible manner.

6) Know when to walk away. This relates to number 3.

7) But if you must fight, argue or brawl, make sure you can win. If not, why bother?

8) Every encounter, good or bad, presents an opportunity to improve your knowledge of the world and the people in it. It’s up to you to seize that opportunity and grow from it.

9) Have a reasonable, though not overly high opinion of your own intelligence, experience and abilities. What blinds most people is usually not the tricks played by others, but their own egos. Keep a good distance away from yours.

10) Because of number 9, you should steer clear of sycophants. We all want to buy into the legend of our own greatness. With them around, it’d be just too easy to do that.

11) Cultivate real friendships with real people. Know the difference between being friends and being friendly then you won’t over-invest in relationships that go no where.

12) That’s because your time is limited and no one person will meet all your needs.

13) Accept others for who they are. Don’t waste time expecting them to turn into what you’d like them to be. If you can’t do that then just stay away from them.

14) Notwithstanding number 13, don’t make excuses for people. People make enough excuses for themselves.

15) Regardless of your religious beliefs, there is such a thing called Karma. Like a savings account, deposits and redrawals do add up over time. Unlike a real savings account though, you won’t know your actual balance until you try to call in a couple of “special favours.”

16) Having potential is not the same as realising it. The best way to realise yours is to forget everything you’ve ever heard about what you have.

17) You don’t have to know everything. It’d be nice if you did, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t because nobody does.

18) See the funny in every bad situation. If you’re going to go through shit, then you might as well get a couple of laughs out of it.

19) Remember that life goes in cycles. When you are down, live for the up. When you are up, prepare for the down. The first makes hardship more tolerable, the second helps you to stay humble. The key to happiness is to find equilibrium in perpetual motion.

20) Feel free to add to this list.