When you don’t stand for something, you fall for everything. There are times in life when you face difficult choices. Sometimes, you can see through and understand the consequences of each of them.
Other times, emotions cloud your judgment and result in decisions you later regret. Also, often you don’t have the luxury to ponder in silence for hours. Hence, you need to have pre-defined solid life rules to live by.
These rules protect you from getting swayed away by emotions. They also make it easier to make final calls faster.
The following are 9 mind shaking rules for life. They have stood the test of time and improved lives for centuries.
1. Don’t overwork yourself to death
Work hard or competitions will outwork you and take away your chances of success. Overwork yourself and broken health will snatch away your opportunities. Find the balance instead.
That’s the advice a doctor friend of mine has given me for years. It makes sense. If you don’t care about your only body, who else is going to do it for you? In my case, the problem isn’t gigantic goals. The guilt of relaxation haunts me. I can’t shut my brain.
For example, let’s say I’ve set a target of 5,000 words per day. I push myself to achieve it. Then instead of a celebration and taking a break, I can’t resist pushing myself further. In the hindsight, it seems like a smart thing to do, to get more done while you are in the flow. In the long run, though, it only backfires. It speeds up your burnout and you feel tired and bored of the activity you once loved.
Hence, the better approach is realistic incremental goals. They should challenge you and gradually increase your endurance. Once done for the day, enjoy your breaks. You’ve earned them.
Leisure is only possible when we are at one with ourselves. We tend to overwork as a means of self-escape, as a way of trying to justify our existence. — Josef Pieper
Don’t force yourself to push until you collapse. Don’t burn bright and shut down for weeks. Focus on the greater power instead. You’ll achieve more by lifting lighter loads with consistency.
2. Don’t plunge into self-loathing
When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves. — Chuck Palahniuk
If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago — Cheri Huber
We’re humans. We are prone to make mistakes no matter how hard we try to avoid them. We are emotional creatures. Out choices are often the result of our feelings. The feelings change. The dopamine-rushed satisfactory choices at the moment may lead to misery in the long run.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all made grand promises to ourselves for our business, health, or finances. We perform for a couple of days only to drop off the wagon and procrastinate for weeks to come. Then we curse and hate ourselves and carry this baggage of emotional distress behind us. Whenever we attempt the same task again, our mind tells us the story of our last failure. That’s demotivating.
What’s the cure? You need to learn to forgive yourself and take another shot. This can stop you from plunging into the never-ending swirling cycles of self-loathing. Nothing positive comes out of that.
3. Don’t fool yourself
The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it. — Jordan Belfort
The answers are often staring us in the face. The person you want to be with, the job you dream of, the business you aspire to build, and the life you want to have. We know all the answers and still turn a blind eye to them with false temporary justifications.
“I can’t do it because I don’t have the money yet."
“I need to take a course first before I allow myself to jump into it."
“My parents won’t give permission."
“What will my friends think? They think of me as X and I can’t pursue Y."
You’re only fooling yourself with all these answers. These can be realities for some people. I’m not trying to bash them in any way. I’m not riding the high horse either. I’m writing this as much for you as I’m doing for myself. I’ve been in some of these conditions. Several times. I know they can be discouraging and I don’t want you to deny them.
Instead, you should focus your energy on finding a way around them. Find time to chip onto your project now and then. Be consistent if possible. Keep moving towards your dreams no matter how small the effort and you’ll thank yourself one day.
4. Don’t succumb to temporary emotions
Embarrassment. Jealousy. Anger. Hate. Resentment. These are some crippling emotions. They can hold you back in life and keep you from achieving your full potential. Don’t fall for them.
Keep yourself on the guard for these feelings. Learn to knock them down when they arise. Times change. All these emotions will fade and the memories attached will dim. Don’t change the whole trajectory of your life because of a sudden spike in your adrenaline.
5. Don’t live anywhere but NOW
The past is done the ink is dry. The future doesn’t exist yet. The present is all you have.
You can either make the most by living in the moment or accumulate nothing but regrets.
To get over the past, you first have to accept that the past is over. No matter how many times you revisit it, analyze it, regret it, or sweat it…it’s over. It can hurt you no more.
I’m guilty of it as much as the next person. I often binge everything that happened a decade ago. I lament my choices and kick past decisions. Or I live inside of my head. I run future scenarios and commentaries, feeding myself false fears and outcomes. I know I’m not alone.
In doing so, we sacrifice our present. We destroy the only chance we have to correct past mistakes and avoid failures in the future. We also miss out on the beauty of life. The last thing you want is to reach the end of life and realize you never truly lived. Hence, live in the moment you have. Active. Present. Focused. Determined to make a bent on this universe.
6. Don’t listen to everyone
Make your damn choices and stick to your goals. Don’t let the words of people close to you alter your destination. Don’t sign up for a miserable future out of respect for someone. Stand your ground.
7. Don’t expect to build Rome in a day
Quality takes time. The grand dreams take time. Everything worth having takes effort, dedication, consistency, and time. We’ve all heard it but seldom act on it.
If you live with short-term plans, you’re destined to miss big wins in life. To make massive shifts and leave an impact that lasts for generations to come, you need to deploy consistency and patience.
You need to eradicate emotions holding you back or feeding you the seeds of doubt. You need to cast them away and replace them with sheer dedication and determination. Do NOT stop until you’ve arrived where you planned to.
8. Don’t be half-pregnant
“I kinda want to be a doctor”
“I kinda want to write a novel”
“I wish I could travel the world but..”
“I wish I could one day do X but I can’t because…”
Want to hear the truth? There are no “kindas” in the world of success. You either want something or you don’t. You can’t be half-pregnant and expect to give birth to something beautiful. To produce something meaningful, admit what you want, declare your mission without fear of judgment, and go all in until you get it.
9. Don’t die where you were born
The world is wide open for you. The beautiful landscapes filled with icy glaciers and lush green forests. The beasts, and hunters roaming free and saviors and monsters busy in their roles. The highs and lows, the brights and the dull and so much more. Open your eyes and you’ll see.
Don’t spend your entire life circling into a little bubble of yours and dying where you were born.
Get out there. See what the world has to offer. Make some new connections. Learn new languages. Experience foods. See beauties of the world and squeeze out every drop of fun that this life has to offer. You have the only chance you’ll ever get.
I know all these rules are easier said than done. That’s how they’re supposed to be. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Life is hard and you need harder rules to get through it with your head held high.
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