Submitted by Alan Skorkin

alan skorkin is a software developer. he is passionate about improving the software industry and making the people around him a little bit happier. alan shares his thoughts about software development, people, and teamwork on his blog

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

1.) Live by a personal code.
Work out a personal code for yourself - this will be your moral compass and your ethical framework. Draw from secular and religious laws, but don't be bounded by them. Your personal code should always center you and be your anchor if/when life casts you adrift. Your code is not static - it will adjust and change as you adjust and grow as a person, but make sure that following your code always allows you to be proud of yourself as a human being. If you build your personal code well, it will be something you can always fall back on in life when you need to make decisions that are highly complex or grey. With an anchor such as a personal code can give you, societal and peer pressure will be meaningless and you will be better off for it.

2.) Give selflessly.
I am not talking about sweeping global causes, I am talking about giving on a personal level - one human being to another. In the corporate world as well as in life you constantly meet new people. Some will be better-off than you, others will be worse-off; some can help you while others can use your help. Don't make the mistake of only seeking out people who can do something for you. Find those who can really use your help and give it to them without expecting anything in return. This is the secret of building truly meaningful relationships with people. If you have helped people you truly like and admire, you will have – at the very worst – gained a good friend and you can never have too many of those.

3.) Draw from the experience of others.
It may surprise you to know that no matter how unique you believe yourself to be, there was at one point someone who has had the exact same thought, dream, or desire as you. There is so much life experience out there available for the taking in books, films, photos, articles, etc. Draw what you can from the successes and failures of others before setting your own path - read, watch, listen, and learn. Distill the experiences that others have had and apply them to your own life - there is nothing wrong with walking a path others have trod before as long as you don't follow their exact same steps. Always remember the old saying, "Wise people learn from the mistakes of others, foolish people – from their own."

4.) Never stop learning.
It may not seem so, but the world is moving at a breakneck pace. There are new ideas and new technologies discovered every minute. You can never keep up with all this knowledge, but you can certainly give it a run for it's money. Keep learning new things whenever you can. Try and gain at least one new piece of knowledge every day, and pick up a new skill every year. Keep your mind agile and embrace change. Don't become one of those people who constantly complain how good things used to be. My great grandma always used to say, "You don't carry knowledge around in a backpack." Knowledge is never a burden - it is the one thing you can always instantly pack up and take with you wherever you go. Make sure your "backpack" is always as full as it can be.

5.) Don't compromise your health for anything.
If there is one thing that life has taught me it is this. Your health is the most precious thing you have and you don't really appreciate it until it is gone. It doesn't really matter what life throws at you, if you're strong and feeling good you can meet the challenges head on. But if your health is compromised nothing is the same, colors are not as bright, food doesn't taste as good and even your loved ones often provide little comfort. Think long and hard before engaging in activities that can permanently compromise your health. And if you have no choice, train and prepare as hard as you can to give yourself the best chance of success. You can fall off the highest mountain and get back on top again if you're strong and healthy, but even the smallest hill can become an insurmountable challenge when your health and vitality are gone.

Alan currently resides in Melbourne, Australia.