The Rules of Life


Whatever happened to manners, common curtesy, thoughtfulness? I do not know where it went but we need it back, and we need it back right now!

When I was a kid and had received a present, Christmas or birthday, my mother sat me down at the dining room table and had me write out a thank you note to the person who had given me the gift. It was a small thing but at the time I did not realize how important it was.

RULE 1: ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL

That thank you letter was an acknowledgement of a kindness given. It was a curtesy demanded of people who desired to have good manners. So what is curtesy?

There was a time when men would stand up at the dinner table when a woman came in to sit down. A man would hold the door for a woman to walk through. There was a time when you spoke to your elders using the word “sir” or “ma’m.” It seems like much of that has fallen by the wayside.

Americans are in a rush, all the time and everywhere. But why? I do not know. But here’s something to chew on. If you live 15 miles from work and the average posted speed is 45, that means it will take you about 20 minutes to get to work. Now today’s American is in a rush so he is going to try to average 55 miles an hour for that 15 miles to work. How much time does he gain from going 55? A little over 1 minute. Yup, that’s it, one minute! But that extra 10 MPH makes that driver more dangerous on the road. It is likely he will take chances along the way, rush a yellow light before it turns red, cut off another driver, or worst of all, cause an accident.

RULE NUMBER 2: NEVER EXCEED THE SPEED LIMIT

Now it would appear that rule 2 is meant for the previous paragraph and it is, but only in part. There is a speed limit to living life. But it the case of life, you can neither live it faster or slower than the clock allows. But some people believe that have to push as hard as possible to get where they want to go. To be who they want to be. That person will try to get things done in half a day that normally takes a full day. Are they moving too fast? Speeding? Possibly. Each person needs to check his stress level. A train can go into a curve traveling at a rate of speed greater than the tracks can handle. The tracks become overstressed and fail. People do the exact same thing. Stress is not a normal state of living. That you feel stress for an extended period of time is proof positive you need to slow down.

RULE NUMBER 3: BE A GOOD FRIEND

Okay, so if this were a question it would be a trick question. Being a good friend to the people we know is easy. The people I am speaking are those people we do not know. If you live in a city environment, as I do, you can easily come in contact with a thousand people every day. Most of them we simply pass by without a thought. But occasionally someone catches our eye. Their eyes meet our eyes. At that point we become their brief friend. We smile, nod to them, and maybe even say ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon.’ This is what friends do for one another.

Recently I have exacted a demand of myself. Whenever someone asks me how my day is going I must answer with a smile and say energetically, “I’m having a marvelous day! How’s your day going?” I have found it absolutely amazing the positive response I get. I believe if I do that enough times and on a regular basis, sooner or later I am going to run across a person who is actually having a crappy day but my positive energy will lift them just enough to smile for a moment and possibly allow them to feel a little better. But is that not exactly what you would do for a friend?

RULE NUMBER 4: BE INTOLERANT OF INTOLERANCE

The United States of America may be the most diverse country of any in the world. I would not be surprised if we have at least one person who represents every country, every race, every everything in the world. We probably have a member of every religion here too. But just between those two things Americans seem to generate an awful lot of intolerance, bigotry, racism and xenophobia. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into the trap the likes which Donald Trump is making popular. We are both bigger and better than those whose small minds speak poorly of others. We need to recognize that all people, regardless of who they are, share common fears, desires, and interests. My years of living have taught me that whatever you fear, whatever you have done, whoever you are, you are just one of many who feel the same things, want the same things, fear the same things.

RULE NUMBER 5: NEVER LOAN MONEY ANYONE; GIVE IT TO THEM

Few things cause more resentments and hard feelings than money which is lent out and not repaid. Every now and then someone will ask me to loan them some money. I tell them I will not loan them any money but will give them some money with just a single provision attached. That provision is that they promise when someone asked them for a load they will give that person some money. I tell them once that is done, their debt to me is paid but the must never tell me of it. This is just the “pay it forward” concept someone else came up with.

RULE NUMBER 62: DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY

The world does not revolve around you! Ever hear that saying? Well it is true! But here is the really good news: the world does not know you exist. That means when it rains, it rains on everyone, not just you! When you are stuck in a traffic jam and will be late for a super important meeting, just look around you. Everyone else is stuck in that same jam and one of those people may be a doctor who is desperately needed to save a life.

The world was here billions of years before we were born and will continue on billions of years after we die. In time we will all be forgotten. That is neither a good nor bad thing, it just is. If you want to know how to live, take trip to your local park, sit on a bench, and watch the squirrels. Each of them lives entirely within a single moment in time. They scurry around to find food. Hide in the branches to escape the wind and rain. And when they sense danger, as we do, there is that little place in their brain that yells at them to run, same as us. But have you ever heard of an unhappy squirrel. No. And you never will. They simply adapt to what is going on around them and move on.

RULE NUMBER 0: EVERY DAY YOU WAKE UP IS GOING TO BE A GOOD DAY, CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE

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