"Five Rules For Life" - editor's choice (second installment)

Every 60-70 submissions, I do a compilation post based on what I think are some of the most compelling, unique, and thought-provoking rules across all submissions. This is the second installment (see the first installment here).

It is not an easy exercise, as every rule in every submission carries great value. But these stand out for reasons I cannot fully explain.


Live "in the dash".
Your Birth and Death dates are etched on your tombstone. They are separated by a dash ( - ). Use the dash, the in-between, to live your life. Do not wait until the end to make a bucket list - make it early on and as you complete something, replenish it. No regrets.

- Chris Chester; read Chris's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Do not define yourself through other people’s eyes.
Who cares what other people think? Do not let others define who you are - all of us are individual and wonderfully made by God. Our differences are what makes life worth living. Be who you are and do not be afraid of who that is.

- Ed Kuyon; read Ed's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Be confident.
Whether you're trying to pick up a girl or a guy, presenting your project to your college class, or starting a new business - confidence is required. It's not enough to just say "be confident." You really need to care enough about what you do that you won't back down when you get criticized. People can tell if you're confident or not based on your body language and whether you stutter or not when you're speaking.

- Dan Schawbel; read Dan's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Ask better questions.
You can ask yourself for the umpteenth time "Why am I such a loser?" and "Why is my job such crap?" Or you could ask yourself "What do I need to do to see myself as a winner?" and "Who can help me get a job that I’ll love and prosper in?"

The questions you ask yourself dictate how you feel about your life. So ask better questions and whenever you can, avoid the word "why" - it’s so accusatory.

- Tim Brownson; read Tim's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Our lives are the stories we tell ourselves.
If you don't like your life, tell yourself a different story. There's a reason the notion of "positive thinking" gets bludgeoned to death in the self-help section at any bookstore - the ability to consciously direct your thoughts to the good side of things is the ultimate mental black belt skill, and it makes a world of difference in your attitude and effect on others.

- Gina Trapani; read Gina's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
In the words of Bill and Ted "Be excellent to each other". It doesn’t always have to be a big thing - you don’t have to fill your life with huge works of charity. You don't have to be a great philanthropist, or a missionary worker...just make a contribution.

- Thomas Bridgeman; read Thomas's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Make a plan.
The greatest things in life are the hardest to get - it is nearly impossible to get something worth having unless you make a plan to do it. Use measuring techniques along the way, and reward yourself when you are on track or have accomplished something! This can range from losing weight to the mundane task of meeting a budget you created.

- S. Patrick Kaine; read Patrick's "Five Rules For Life" here.

If it's funny, laugh at it.
Forget political correctness...laughter heals. And some of the funniest stuff is completely politically incorrect. Don't deny yourself

- Eric Rogell; read Eric's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Have contact with nature.
We have become more urban than ever in history. Most of our modern tensions are born and evolve from living in big cities. Take some time off, go to the woods, and take a walk around. Look, hear, smell, and touch nature. You will be stunned with the things you can learn from it in just a single day of walking.

- Rodolpho Arruda; read Rodolpho's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Drive with your windows down and your radio turned up.
Do this often - it takes you back to that first real taste of freedom. You can remember what it was like at 16, before "responsibility" kicked in. You can feel the wind in your hair and hear the music in your heart. Then do it with your kids - watch their faces light up when they see a glimpse of the child in you. It creates a connection with them.

- Stephanie Poston Worrell; read Stephanie's "Five Rules For Life" here.

This too shall pass.
When I was younger, the intensity of my emotions colored my perception of everything, and it seemed as if my experience of the moment was a permanent state. Now I realize that every mood, every situation - everything - comes and goes, ebbs and flows. So, I try to ride the waves of life, and enjoy still waters when things settle.

- Ruth Powers; read Ruth's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Don’t take life seriously.
Someone once said not to take life so seriously, because none of us are getting out alive. If this sounds depressing, you are taking life too seriously.

- Terry Border; read Terry's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Remember where you came from.
Never forget the sacrifices and hard work of others who helped you get where you are. They are the building blocks of your life, and your success is their success. Appreciate what they have done for you, and if you get the chance pay it back and pay it forward. The world is a better place when people help each other.

- Jordan Silva; read Jordan's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Use good manners.
Kindness goes a long way in both work and social life. In most cases good manners will get you want you want while making others feel that they're being respected.

- Leigh Anne Bartlett; read Leigh Anne's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Never underestimate the power of a smile.
Always smile; it will make people wonder what's on your mind and bring a smile to anyone you're around. Smile at everyone - even strangers!

- Allison Diedreck; read Allison's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Dream more dreams.
Don’t let your imagination let you down. Dreams always start from nothing; life is only as vast as you think it is. Don’t be afraid to dream and go after those dreams. And life isn’t much without passion - we can fix mistakes but we can't fix regret.

- Edmond Wu; read Edmond's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Intentions don't matter.
Shut up and do. More. And while you're at it, remember that if your actions are not helpful to others, then you are not being helpful to others no matter how you feel in your heart. If you want to act, prioritize your passions.

- Jason Seiden; read Jason's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Walk away.
It is not easy to give up something. But there are just things in life that we need to let go of. It it makes you feel bad, if it hurts, if it's unfair, if it's against your principles, if you hate it, if it's wrong - find the courage to walk away from it. It will be hard but you have to at least try. Remember that you always have a choice on what stays and goes in your life.

- Tere Arigo; read Tere's "Five Rules For Life" here.

There are no limits.
There are no limits, there are only plateaus. The only rules are the ones you agree to live by. All of them can be changed at any time and should not be fixed and immovable. They should apply to your life as you're living it.

- Jonathan Mead; read Jonathan's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Always be mindful of yourself.
Take frequent pauses to ask yourself – “What is happening inside me now?” Any type of negativity – even the background tension that we all have (and are frequently unaware of) – can be caught in this way, and our mindfulness allows them to begin to dissolve.

- Albert Foong; read Albert's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Be impeccable with your word.
"Say only what you mean."
Say what you mean and mean what you say. We waste a lot of energy making up excuses or telling lies, even those little white ones. There is no point. Maybe being truthful with ourselves and others would make life a little simpler.

- Lynette Suchar; read Lynette's "Five Rules For Life" here.

You have everything you need to exercise right now.
Many people put off exercising because they don't have the right equipment. They say:

- "I'll join a gym next month."
- "I'll get a new bike in May."
- "I need to get a new pair of shoes or some work-out clothes first."

It is nothing more than procrastination. You can drop down right now and do ten push-ups. You can do ten squats. You can go outside and walk or jog, or find a bar and do ten pull-ups. You don't need fancy equipment, a big gym, or new clothes. Squats, push-ups, and pull-ups are body weight exercises that will impact your body as much as - if not more than - all the expensive equipment in any gym. Stop waiting on external things to happen before you make internal changes.

- Terry Shannon; read Terry's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Take time for quiet and space, every day.
Take time to process what is going on in your life, in your mind, in your heart, and in your soul. Use the quiet to feel peace and to receive inspiration and thought. Use the space to center yourself again and to discover that you can be alone and still "enjoy the company that you keep". If you can enjoy being alone with yourself, others will enjoy being with you too!

- Cindy Dugan Walker; read Cindy's "Five Rules For Life" here.

Learn, learn, learn.
I love learning. Doing new things and discovering new skills really stimulates me. I love the feeling of going back to school, taking notes, and thinking about what has been said. I’m interested in lots of random stuff - from languages, to knitting, literature, cinema, development, and human rights issues. Almost anything can involve learning!

- Blanca Gonzalez; read Blanca's "Five Rules For Life" here.