Amazing Rules of Life

What do these things all mean? They can mean different things to different people. This is how I interpret each one.

“Risk more than is required”

Life all by itself is a risk. It’s easy to try to stay in the comfort zone and not risk anything more than that. But staying in your comfort zone doesn’t allow you to grow. Risk allows failure, but some of the best lessons learned are the ones you fail at. You will never know if something is meant for you, until you try it. I risked trying downhill skiing and learned it wasn’t something I wanted to pursue, the only part of skiing that I liked was sitting in the lodge drinking hot mulled wine. But learning to ice skate was exactly the right thing for me to learn and I progressed with it very quickly. I loved the feeling of gliding around the ice, feeling like I was dancing two feet above the ground.

“Learn more than is normal”

I am constantly hearing adults say, “I graduated from high school, I don’t need to study anymore.” I find that not only sad, but very frustrating as well. Our brains don’t simply turn off the minute we accept a diploma, whether it’s from high school, college and post grad work. Even if you go on to get a PhD, there is still many other thing to learn. That’s what this sentence says to me.. keep learning. There is always something new to learn, no matter how much education you’ve had, how many books you’ve read or how much research you’ve done. It’s never going to be enough.

“Be strong”

It never occurred to me to be anything other than strong. To be weak was to give up.

“Show courage”

I’m not sure how you actually do this one, other than just doing it. I have been told that I am very strong and brave, simply because I’ve survived many challenges. But what other choice do you have?

“Breathe”

This is true if both the literal sense and the figurative sense. When fear, anxiety or depression hits, we tend to breathe faster and more shallow. Slowing down your breathing and taking deep breaths, can make a huge difference in how you felt. Recently when dealing with intense pain that was wearing me out, one of the nurses suggested taking long deep breaths. As I did so, my pain started ease.

“Excel”

I learned the most about learning from my Senior English teacher, Mr. Lloyd. He wasn’t the most well liked teacher because he was tough, but he taught me more than almost any teacher I had had before and since. He liked to say, “I don’t care if you end up being a ditch digger, be the best damn ditch digger you can be”. That’s what it means to excel. Do the best you can and then go a step or two more to do even better.

“Love”

Love can mean so many different things from ‘affection’ to ‘interest’, ‘pleasure’ to ‘romance’ and ‘sexual attraction’. What exactly does it mean to say you love something or someone? I think it’s the aspect of ‘caring’ about something or someone means to focus on that person or thing. How that manifests will be unique to each person.

“Lead”

As a self proclaimed control freak, I often prefer to take the lead. But whenever I find someone who is more of a control freak than I am, I’m more than happy to let them take the lead.

“Speak your truth”

For a long time I kept my views on religion and politics quiet, unless I was absolutely sure that someone shared my views. That stopped when Donald Trump came on to the scene. Now I am very vocal not only about what I think of religion (especially about how I was treated by Christian churches) and politics, but also about sex and rape. I now speak my truth.

“Live your values”

Values are another one of those things that can be highly subjective. But there are some that seem to be pretty universal; honesty, compassion, respect, courage, reliability. For some it might include faith and piety, for others it might include fairness and freedom. 

“Laugh”

I use to laugh so hard that my laugh went silent while my body shook and I’d end up in hiccups. It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed like that. I still sometimes snicker and giggle, but a full on belly laugh seems hard to come by. I try to find ways to laugh and reasons to laugh and for me, it’s usually watching You Tube videos of Robin Williams and George Carlin. But at least I am trying to still laugh.

“Cry”

I don’t cry a lot either. But when I do, it’s either because of profound sadness or intense frustration. Years ago, I got the message that to cry was a sign of weakness. That message was very damaging. We need to cry as much as we need to laugh.

“Innovate”

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Just be sure to add enough sugar to make it sweet.

“Simplify”

This is a new lesson I’m trying to learn. I am a pack rat, a hoarder, terrified that if I don’t save everything I will live to regret it. It’s a form of OCD. I realized my daughter, who also had bipolar disorder also probably had inherited my OCD. She saved even more than I do. It didn’t do her any good, so I’m learning to let go of things. It’s not been easy.

“Adore mastery”

Learn to love the ability to excel.

“Release mediocrity”

Learn to expect more of yourself than you think you can do.

“Aim for genius”

It’s like aiming for the moon, even if you miss you will find yourself among the stars. Aiming for genius gets you into the realm of brilliance.

“Stay humble”

It’s hard to straddle the line between being proud of your accomplishments, which you should do, and becoming a braggart. You can be proud of your accomplishments without becoming a braggart. Try to find that balance.

“Be kinder than necessary”

It’s easy to forget that everyone is just like us. We all want to live a good and happy life. If we can see others that same way, it’s easier to be kind to them. 

“Deliver more than is needed”

Anyone can do what is required of them. But if you go that extra mile, you get so much more out of the experience.

“Exude passion”

What is your passion in life? Make sure everyone knows what it is.

“Shatter your limits”

Limits are self imposed comfort zones. In many cases they are needed to keep ourselves safe. But sometimes they prevent us from taking risks, risks that could give us experiences that provide important lessons and enlightenment.

“Transcend your fears”

“Inspire others by your bigness”

The hope is that if you are doing something positive that shows caring for others, others will follow your example.

“Dream big but start small”

“Act now”

I have a bad habit of procrastinating. Especially if it’s something I really don’t want to do. Or don’t feel confident about doing. Or just fearful. 

“Don’t stop”

I’ve had times when things just feel way too overwhelming for me and I just want to quit. Fortunately, those moments are short lived and I’m back to fighting again.

“Change the world”

Everyone wants to leave a legacy behind. All we can do is hope that we will. In the meantime, proceed as if you were doing just that.. making a difference, leaving a legacy and changing the world. You just might be right.

2 thoughts on “Amazing Rules of Life

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