Life Rules


by Josh Waggoner

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”
    - Bertrand Russell -

Today’s RML post is a challenge. Deciding to take this challenge can and will improve your life in many ways, (it has improved mine tremendously) by implementing the ideas from my previous post, Daily Reminders. In a nutshell, Daily Reminders are affirmations why you do what you do. They remind yourself of the Why (the BIG picture) and give you a little nudge in the right direction, everyday. (Read or Listen to the full article here).

Are you ready for your challenge?
Alright, (enough suspense) lets jump this jump.

Challenge: Get a small pocket-sized notebook, or a nice sheet of paper, something that you can carry around with you. (I'm a fan of Field Notes myself. They've got some good looking color option, such as blue, natural, orange or black, and they are a perfect size for pocket-ability). Once you have something to write on, write out a list of Life Rules that you want to live by everyday.
    What are Life Rules you ask?

The ‘Life Rules’ idea is a simple one, and may seem trivial at first, however they can have a profound impact on your life. Your Life Rules can be anything you want them to be.

Your life is your own, and so are your rules.

Setting rules for yourself allows you to live your life with intention and meaning. A way to apply what Seneca called, ‘A Fixed Purpose’ towards your life. They are your motivations, and your ideals. And they are not meant to be restrictions, like something you would see at a public pool or park:

            NO DIVING.
            NO SKATING.
            NO LOLLYGAGGING.
            NO HASHTAGGING.

            (NO, NO! NOOO!)

Instead, Life Rules are more like guidelines or personal policies, that you have for yourself in advance. Useful tools or bite-sized wisdom for the everyday. They define how you want to live, your values, and beliefs that guide you, not hinder you. Rather than just rambling through life, jumping from one preoccupation to the next, and not really stopping to think and remember why we are actually doing something, we can instead, set and define our purpose; By organizing our life with a list of rules to follow, for the better.

Writing your Life Rules will help you write your life.

So grab a pen and notebook, and think about how you want to live your life. Take thirty minutes to brainstorm your rules. (Thirty minutes is nothing compared to a lifetime of impact they can have). Your rules can be BIG, or small, just be sure that they're something that you want to do, (or not do) and something that you want to live by everyday. Carry your notebook around with you wherever you go, and periodically read your rules throughout the day, reminding yourself who you want to be. (such as: when you wake up, and before you go to bed; Any chance you get really).

Here’s some possible questions to think about when you are defining your rules (make sure to really reflect on each one before moving on to the next):

+ What's important to me? 

+ What do I value most, above all things?

+ What’s something I want to remind myself everyday?

+ If I could only choose one thing to live by, what would it be?

+ Are there any quotes, phrases, passages, or mantras that I can add to my Life Rules?

+ What are my essentials?

+ Is there anything I am taking for granted? (what can I “hang a question mark” on?)

+ Is there anything that I don't want to do or live by?

+ What will I say yes to? What will I say no to?

+ Is there any mentors, pseudo-mentors, or role models I can look to for wisdom and insight?

+ How can I remind myself of my dreams and goals?

+ And how can I become the best version of myself?

You might be thinking, “why do I have to use paper? Thats soooo old school. What do I look like a grandma? Why not use my fancy phone? I've got Evernote… 
    Good Point.
If you don't want to use real life paper, feel free to use your fancy phone. Evernote is a great way to take notes (in fact I use it to back up my Life Rules notebook, just in case I misplace it). However, there’s a good argument to be made about having a fixed resource, like a notebook, that only has a limited about of space to write, making you really think about what you are going to put down. And also having something physical that only has one purpose (aka your Life Rules) in mind, gives them a greater sense of clarity and intention. A place where your rules won't get lost in the infinite scroll of your phone.

If you end up deviation from your rules, ask yourself why it happened, and what you can do next time to stick with them. Breaking your rules once in a while is ok in my opinion, and won’t be the end of the world. Just remember that you're the one that set your Life Rules, and there’s a good reason why you want to stick with them. They are there to help you set standards and ideals that you want to live by.

So what do my Life Rules look like?
Here’s my list so far:

- “The Courage to life a life true to myself, not the life others expect of me.”

- Quality over Quantity. 

- Invest in yourself.

- Enjoy the little things (because they're really the big things).
    + Watch the sunset, listen to the rain.
    + Enjoy every bite when eating.
    Life goes fast, enjoy every moment.

- Quick to laugh, slow to anger and frustration.
    — avoid negative feedback loops.

- “Hang a question mark” on things I’ve taken for granted.

- Use money as a tool, not a measurement of success.
    + Save and buy what you want.
      + Use for experiences over things.
    + Use it to invest in yourself.

- 85% is better than 0%.
    + small action is better than no action.

- Always be in the middle of a book.
    + be an avid reader.

- “Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.”  - Albert Einstein -

- Remember: Fortune favors the Bold.
    + If you are afraid to do something, (and it’s not harmful) all the more reason to do it. Be Bold. Be Brave.

- “Early to bed, Early to rise will make you Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.” - Benjamin Franklin -

- Live Immediately.
    + “One day is worth two tomorrows.” - Benjamin Franklin -

- CARE. Completely.

- Friendship is what Life is about. In all things, remember to put friends first and foremost.

- “Let all your activity be directed to some object, let it have some end in view.” - Seneca -

- “All things in moderation, including moderation.”  - Oscar Wilde - 
    + It's ok to break the rules once and a while.

Reminder #009: Set Life Rules for yourself. Meaning personal policies that you want to live by. They can be anything you want. Big or small. Setting rules for yourself will allow you to live your life with intention and meaning. Writing your Life Rules will help you write your life. Use them to guide you everyday.

    Boldsheep: My Bold-and-Arrows Design is now on Sweatshirts and Long Sleeve. Yay! 
    Book: Essentialism (my current read, absolutely 100% recommend this book. Aligns well with the Renaissance Life)
    Music: X Ambassadors - The reason EP
    Biggy: Roland RD-300nx (I've been saving up for this, and have finally made the purchase. The sound quality on this thing is soooo good. Makes me wanna cry buckets just listening to it.)

(Note: Recommendations are affiliate links (except for boldsheep of course). If you purchase you help support RML, Thanks). 

What do you think of of Life Rules? Don’t leave me hang’n, let me know in the comments below, via email:, on twitter @jwaggoner, and-or at the RML Facebook community. I would love to hear your thoughts and of any Life Rules that YOU live by.
Josh Waggoner.