February 16, 2018

Rules of Life from Barlow, McArdle, Peterson and Le Guin

A list of 25 Principles of Adult Behavior by John Perry Barlow

1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, never blame. Say nothing behind another’s back you’d be unwilling to say, in exactly the same tone and language, to his face.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you yourself can deliver.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Do not endanger it frivolously. And never endanger the life of another.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Never let your errors pass without admission.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21. Forgive.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

After 45 Birthdays, Here Are '12 Rules for Life'  By Megan McArdle

1. Be kind. Mean is easy; kind is hard. Somewhere in eighth grade, many of us acquired the idea that the nasty putdown, the superior smile, the clever one liner, are the signs of intelligence and great personal strength. But this kind of wit is, to borrow from the great John Scalzi, “playing the game on easy mode.” Making yourself feel bigger by making someone else feel small takes so little skill that 12-year-olds can do it. Those with greater ambitions should leave casual cruelty behind them.

2. Politics is not the most important thing in the world. It’s just the one people talk about the most.... But your spouse and others around you matter more to your happiness than the government does. You will notice, as you go about your day, that many, many important things are riding on your spouse, things that will have immediate costs and benefits to you. Very few of the things that irritate you or bring you joy have anything to do with the government. So keep some perspective about politics. It doesn’t matter as much as the real people around you, and the real things you can do in the world. If you have to choose between politics and a friendship, choose the friendship every time.

5. Go to the party even when you don’t want to. Nine times in 10, you’ll be bored and go home early. But the 10th time, you will have a worthy experience or meet an interesting person. That more than redeems those other wasted hours.

6. Save 25 percent of your income. No, don’t tell me how expensive your city is; I have spent basically my whole life in New York and Washington, DC. You can save if you want to; what you really mean is “There are all these things I want more than financial security.” And you’re right: You do want them more than financial security right now. But when you’re comparison shopping brands of generic dog food, or begging your parents for a loan, you’ll wish you’d saved the money. So cut out the things in your life that matter less than the financial freedom that will let you take important risks while sleeping easy at night (which is to say, almost all of them except the people) and save more money.

7. Don’t just pay people compliments; give them living eulogies. Tell them exactly how great they are, in how many ways. Embarrass them. Here’s a funny thing I have learned by being just a little bit internet famous: it doesn’t matter how many times you hear them, the words “You are amazing, and here’s why” never get old. They do not go out of style. You will be wearing them to your 80th birthday party, along with a dazzling smile.

8. That thing you kinda want to do someday? Do it now. I mean, literally, pause reading this column, pick up the phone, and book that skydiving session. RIGHT NOW. I’ll wait. Pixels are patient. Don’t wait until you have the time to really relax and enjoy it. That will be approximately three decades from now, and it's highly possible you won't be able to enjoy it.

10. Don’t try to resolve fundamental conflicts with your spouse or roommates. The only people who win marital arguments about bedrock values are divorce lawyers.... You should never, ever argue with your spouse about anything that could be solved with a proper application of money or ingenuity. As for the rest: unless it is an existential threat to your future (out-of-control spending, wants/doesn’t want kids, abuse, substance problem, infidelity), leave it alone. On your deathbed, your spouse will be there, holding your hand. The dream house you’re dying to buy will not be.

11. Be grateful. No matter how awful your life seems at the moment, you have something to be grateful for. Focus on it with the laser-like, single-minded devotion of a dog eyeing a porterhouse.You have been granted 2 billion seconds on this planet, give or take. You are a billionaire! Many billionaires, however, squander most of their fortune on bitter recriminations about how unfair everything is. Many of them are right, and it really is unfair. But you won’t get a refund from the universe for the time you spent brooding about the unfairness. You lose them just as surely as a second spent experiencing joy, only they don’t even give you something nice to remember them by.

Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules

Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back.

Rule 2: Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping.

Rule 3: Make friends with people who want the best for you.

Rule 4: Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today.

Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.

Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.

Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).

Rule 8: Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.

Rule 10: Be precise in your speech.

Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.

Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.

Ursula Le Guin's Best Life Advice

“The way to make something good is to make it well.  If the ingredients are extra good (truffles, vivid prose, fascinating characters) that’s a help. But it’s what you do with them that counts. With the most ordinary ingredients (potatoes, everyday language, commonplace characters)—and care and skill in using them—you can make something extremely good.” —from Steering the Craft

“Go on and do your work. Do it well. It is all you can do.” —from A Wizard of Earthsea

“There’s a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.” —from The Dispossessed

“Why should a woman of 74 want to be “in step with” anybody? Am I in an army, or something?” —from a 2004 interview in The Guardian.

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 16, 2018 10:29 AM | Permalink