Rules for Living and Writing

English: we don't like to make rules but...

A very appropriate sign from an English Cafe--Image via Wikipedia

I’ll hopefully revisit this every once in a while, but please don’t think I’m the genius who thought up these rules.  These are the ones that filtered through to me over the years.  I’m not a very good rule follower, but if I work at these, things seem to mostly go better, sometimes.  A ringing endorsement, right?

I call them Life 101

1.  There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  (Not even my wording, it’s a quote from Robert Heinlein.)

2.  There is only now.  (I think Buddha put this one better.  Or the Dalai Lama.  Or Alec Baldwin.  Somebody smarter than me.)

3.  Say thank you and please and you’re welcome (NOT “no problem”) and MEAN it.  (My mother.  Everybody’s mother.)

4.  Find something you love and do it.  (Every magazine and self-help book written in the last ten years.  Mothers and guidance counselors don’t say this, by the way.  They say “find something that pays a lot of money and do it.”)

5.  Let go.  You can’t make something happen just because you want it to.  (Most recent absolute truth in this vein to hit the zeitgeist:  “He’s just not that into you.”)

6.  Do it anyway.  (The best writing advice I ever got.  The best advice about any kind of performance or productivity I ever got.)

7.  You can’t change anybody else, you can only change yourself.  (And that’s hard enough!)

8.  Be kind.  Everybody else has feelings just like you do.  (Uh, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, the Dalai Lama and probably not Alec Baldwin have all put this better:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  The Golden Rule.  The only guide you actually need for living among other living creatures.)

9.  Say “no” more often.  (You can move from “no” to “yes”, but the other way around makes you unreliable.  Not a good thing.)

10:  No-one can impose on you without your consent.  (This one is from Eleanor Roosevelt.  It’s a very good thing to remember when somebody is trying to get you to bake eight dozen cookies for the high school on the same day you’re presenting your project findings to your boss and you have a dental appointment.  And it’s your anniversary.)

That’s enough for now.  I would love to hear from others who have good advice for living.