The Rules

Everyone has rules that guide their lives, whether they know it or not.  It can be a meaningful exercise to get them down on paper, so that one can reflect on them.  They can also be a reasonable measure of one’s ideals and in some ways stand as a description of your self.

Here’s my rules (so far).

  1. Everything matters, all the time.
    Actually, this one has been around in various versions for a long time. The earliest version is by Marcus Aurelius (121-180): “And thou wilt give thyself relief, if thou doest every act of thy life as if it were the last.”
  2. Always have a Plan B.
  3. Always have an Exit Strategy.
  4. Always do project management in Fahrenheit: no matter how long you think it will take, or how much it will cost, double it and add 30.
  5. Privacy is a dark shadow in which unscrupulous persons can safely go about their business.
  6. Each new “policy” is really just a new set of loopholes through which unscrupulous persons can take advantage of others.
  7. Apologies are just requests for permission to do something bad again. Don’t apologize; instead, change your behaviour.
  8. Never offer an opinion if your not willing to go to the wall for it.
  9. Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by sheer stupidity. Or sloth.
  10. Never say never.
  11. Let your record be your reputation.
  12. Possessions don’t matter unless they help you do something meaningful.
  13. Don’t let others rush you.
  14. Have goals, but jettison them whenever better ones come along.
  15. Never let the future get in the way of the present.  Corollary: give up on expectations.
  16. Avoid financial and emotional debt at all costs.
  17. You can’t fake cool.  Corollary: If you need to try to be cool, you won’t.
  18. You can’t motivate anyone but yourself.  Corollary: don’t try to motivate others.
  19. Don’t follow the crowd unless they all just happen to be going your way.
  20. You’re not that important; don’t obsess about the things you miss, but revel in what you catch.
  21. Failures are more valuable than successes.
  22. Don’t fear mistakes; instead, fear not making them.
  23. Competition and collaboration are like yin & yang.  You wouldn’t notice one without the other.
  24. When you feel pleasure, question why.
  25. Anger comes from confusion and frustration.
  26. No matter what you think, there’s something thinking just the opposite. Give them the benefit of the doubt till you know who’s right.
  27. Always question your assumptions.
  28. Parents never know what they’re doing.
  29. There’s always something better.
  30. Science works.
  31. The whole notion of “god” is a bad idea.
  32. Moderation in everything – including moderation itself. (added 21 October 2011)
  33. Hope for the best; prepare for the worst. (Added 21 February 2012)
  34. The only thing you can control is your self.
  35. Design is an avoidance tactic.
  36. Do it right, not fast.
  37. Silence gives consent.
  38. There are no slippery slopes, only slippery people.

4 thoughts on “The Rules

  1. Very interesting that this discussion all came from a Linked In Group on leadership. I think it’s great to see where leadership is heading in 2011 and beyond.

  2. Not really. I’ve had these rules written down for years. I’ve only recently added them to this site. And they *certainly* precede the LinkedIn discussion.

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