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21 Rules to Live By

Not too long ago, I shared a list of my 21 top business truths, and I was just thinking about how AWESOME the response was. It actually reminded me of a different list I had written… jeez, almost 9 years ago… but it rocks and is still absolutely true, so I wanted to share it with you today. Here are 21 rules to live by.

21 Rules to Live By

I’ve discovered that when you do good things, you almost get addicted to doing even more good things. Maybe we just thrive on the feeling of greatness or the priceless feeling of helping people.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the things I do that make me feel good about myself and help me spread goodness into the world. Please add to this list and implement some of these things in your life…

    1. When someone sneezes, say bless you. People will appreciate your effort and feel like they exist. When no one says anything, people tend to feel ignored or embarrassed.
    2. Remember your manners — always say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. Making that effort makes the other person feel good, which promotes them doing more good for you and others in the world.
    3. Be a person of your word. If you say you’re going to meet someone for lunch at a certain time, make sure you are there. If you say you’ll help someone move, do it – no excuses. I’m not saying I succeed at this 100% of the time… but I absolutely strive to.
    4. Be careful of the judgments you make about people. In a bar setting, you may see an older guy hitting on a younger woman and judge him. Caution here. Maybe, just maybe, that man was recently divorced and is unsure of how to date, what to do, or how to behave since he’s been out of the dating scene for so long. He’s probably humiliated, insecure, and lonely. You never know, so be careful of the judgments you lay on people.
    5. Tell the truth. Maybe you’ve heard of the zen saying, “Leap and the net will appear.” Well, if you are unsure of telling someone the truth for fear of their reaction, then I say 2 things to you: 1) Avoid putting yourself in situations that will result in a fear of telling the truth, and 2) Leap and the net will appear. Often we think the outcome is worse than it is. If you lie, the situation will snowball and you’ll find yourself stressing out waaaay more by trying to cover up the truth than if you had just stepped up and been truthful in the first place.
    6. Listen to your intuition!! I’ve come to rely very strongly on mine. It tells me when I am not in a good situation, if I’m headed in the wrong direction, and even if I shouldn’t eat a certain food. You’ll be much better off in the long run.
    7. Learn to cope with your stress. Stress kills. It’s an inevitable truth that you will have stress in life, but by learning how to deal with it (through exercising, talking, meditating, etc.) you can avoid serious health issues.
    8. Open the door for people. Insist!!
    9. At the store, if the person behind you only has a few items, ask if they’d like to go in front of you. You’d be amazed by the impression this leaves on a person.
    10. Slow down and become aware of your surroundings. You never know what state people are in. Someone could be on edge or have too many thoughts swirling around in their mind. Be aware of the people around you and adjust yourself to not interfere with their agendas. Instead, aim to enhance their days.
    11. If you have things in your home that you don’t need, give them to a nearby homeless shelter. It feels SO good to know that your luxuries will mean the world to someone in need. You may never get to see the smile on that person’s face, but I envision it. And it makes my day.
    12. Keep up with house maintenance. Coming home to a clean house feels good in your soul. You feel like you can handle life a little bit better when your house clutter is organized. Make this a priority.
    13. Pay your bills on time. Credit is one of the most important things you can accumulate, so take it seriously. Paying your bills on time (and this takes work to manage finances and plan ahead) can be like cleaning your house. It eliminates one more element of stress in your life when you aren’t avoiding bill collectors and second notices.
    14. Take a moment once each day to give yourself recognition. If you are truly doing good things in your life, this becomes easy and fun. Once each day, I try and reflect on the things I do in my life to make it great. Then I take a moment to think, “Man, I kick ass!” As silly as it sounds, it serves as validation that I’m on the right track.
    15. In addition to the last rule, take a moment to give thanks and recognition to those closest to you. My dog, Bailey, means the world to me (that’s an understatement). There’s at least one point in each day when I look at him and think, “Man, I love that dog! He lights up my day, and I couldn’t be more thankful that he is in my life.” I think the same wonderful things about my parents and husband. It really enhances my quality of life to take that time to realize how lucky I am.
    16. Get plenty of sleep and spoil yourself a little. Taking care of yourself should be your #1 priority. No one else can do that for you.
    17. Moderation is key. We all know what foods/drinks/activities are good for us and which definitely aren’t. Eating cookies is something I like to do, but I know sugar isn’t great for me. Every once in a while, I’ll treat myself to dessert (to spoil myself), but it’s all in moderation. I could eat 4 scoops of ice cream, but instead, I have 1-2. Do what’s good for you. Have that focus.
    18. Be quick to get back to people who email or call you. Be the type of person that people can count on.
    19. Try and do random acts of kindness. Send a friend a “just thinkin’ of you” card, leave a message for a family member telling them you “just wanted to say I love you,” or buy a small gift for someone special out of the blue.
    20. Fight the laziness and depression monster! Once you focus on laziness or depression, it only shows up more. Don’t give it any thought or attention (its food and nourishment), and it can’t survive.
    21. Stay organized. Write all of your thoughts into a to-do list. That way you don’t have to spend time thinking about a million things or reminding yourself of them. Once you put a thought on paper, you know you can pick back up on it later. We need to start being easier on ourselves and not spending so much time obsessing about to-dos, reminders, what-if scenarios, work issues, etc.!!

Which of these 21 rules resonated with you most? Which was your favorite? Let me know!

Amber Vilhauer

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