Submitted by Matthew Andre

matthew andre works at the university of kansas, is a competitive athlete, and is married to his best friend. regarding his rules, matthew writes "all of my rules are based on mistakes that I have made...or may even continue to make (but hopefully not!)"

Here are Matthew's "Five Rules For Life":

1.) Never hurt anyone for any reason, ever.
This includes not only hurting someone physically, but also through words and actions, or lack thereof. Sometimes, we may accidentally hurt peoples' feelings, and there isn't much we can do about that except try to avoid it (for example, don't publicly discuss negative views of religion or things that some people are very passionate about). The only regret I have in life is when I hurt anyone (and then, like a coward, try to justify it).

2.) Be courageous.
Courage can be defined many ways. In this case, I am referring to having the courage to take personal responsibility for achieving your goals instead of making excuses and pointing the finger. No matter what happens to interfere with our goals, we need to have the courage to look inside and say, "OK, now, what can I do about this?" Maybe we need to try a new approach, or maybe we need to stay the course. Either way, it is important to have the courage to look inside and say, "I am responsible for achieving my goals, and I will find a way to do it, regardless of what may happen."

3.) Always strive for self-improvement.
I will preface this by saying that you should love and appreciate yourself.  However, there is always something important that we could be getting better at. Be grateful and proud for progress, but never be satisfied with anything less than perfection for any important goal. If we determine that our goal is not worth striving for perfection, then I think it's OK to find something that we are more passionate about. What makes you want to be perfect at something?

4.) Use appropriate goal-setting techniques.
First, focus on the big dream. If you can imagine it and you truly want it, then that should be the goal. Next, work backwards and break the goal into smaller (but significant) milestones. From there, pick a goal for the month, a goal for the week, a goal for the day, and a goal for RIGHT NOW. What can I do at this moment to help me achieve my goal? Often times, the "daily goal" is simply "try." Pick something (ANYTHING) that you think will help you achieve your long-term goal.  If you at least "try" to do something, then that in itself is an accomplishment. Compare the act of "trying" to the person who sits around and wishes someone else would make it happen for them - who will achieve their goal first?

5.) Always think about how your actions impact others and the community as a whole.
We need to take responsibility for achieving our goals. However, while doing this, we can still reflect upon how our own actions are affecting others. Am I offending other people? Am I disturbing other people? Am I neglecting people who need my help? Am I wasting communal resources? Am I being selfish? Often times, I believe that we learn the most about ourselves by helping others. It may seem like we are putting our own goals aside but, in some cases, I would bet that we get closer to achieving our goals by helping someone else achieve theirs.

Matthew currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas.