The above poem is a summation of the main rules that I strive to live my life by. I formulated an initial draft of these rules earlier this year and started living by them. And they truly helped me live a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Over the months, with greater insights into myself (in particular) and human psychology (in general), I refined my draft, added a couple more rules, and composed a pithy poem for my rules so that I could easily recall and repeat them to myself.
You might ask, "Why do you want to live your life by a bunch of rules? Isn't that restrictive?" Those are absolutely valid questions. I have certainly been asked those questions before, and occasionally more as a critical commentary to my way of life than a genuine inquiry. Nevertheless, the answer to those questions is pretty straightforward:
First, rules are not automatically restrictive. Rules can surely feel restrictive when they are imposed by an outsider. However, when we choose our own rules, they can actually be liberating, because they help us get focused in life. Rules help us identify what are truly important to us. They help us not get distracted by the trivial.
Second, it's incorrect to think that you don't live by rules. We all have rules. It's just that people are rarely aware of those rules. Most of our rules lie under our conscious awareness in form of implicit beliefs. However, they still continue to influence our actions. The problem with living our life by a set of rules that we aren't even aware of is that we then do not get the opportunity to scrutinize them. While some of our subconscious rules may be working in our favor, many do not. In fact, most of our life's troubles could be traced back to those outdated rules that we ignorantly held on to. It is therefore critical that we periodically introspect and identify the rules that we have been living by. Once identified, we need to scrutinize them with the thoroughness of a skilled scientist, retain what work, and modify or discard what do not. Over a period of time, through this continual process of refinement, we should be able to formulate a set of thumb rules that help us better our lives."
It is beyond the scope of this post to elaborate on the rationale behind each of my rules. However, if any of them appeal to you, do consider incorporating them into your life. You might be surprised at how much they can help you transform your life.