How many times have you read "5 amazing tips to help you with _____?" How many tips actually applied to you? My guess would be that a few of them applied to you, not all. That's because everyone's situation in life is different. The reason you see some many tips and tricks about stuff is because it's easy to digest and fast to read. The real "meat and potatoes" are much more difficult to digest.
Everyone Else's Rules
Everyone has rules that they follow. Whether that be rules to what kind of job they get or who they can hang out with. Often times these rules come from our personal upbringing. They are the things that everyone we grew up around told us what was true about life and what wasn't. Here are some examples of rules that people blindly follow:
- "I have to go to college in order for me to be successful"
- "I have to get married and have kids by age __"
- "I need to have a new car in order for people to respect me"
- "I have to follow in my parents footsteps"
Why They Are Everyone's Rules
At one point or another, these rules were standard. At its time, it may have been the most successful way to go about life. They created a common respect. They offered people a pathway that would normally lead them to success. Over time, they may have shifted from their original intent and have taken a life of its own. Even by today's standards, they are overall good things to strive for. If you succeed in rules like this in life, you are probably doing pretty well life.
What They Are Really After
Let's dissect these example rules and see what's behind them:
- "I have to go to college in order for me to be successful" - Several things could be assumed with this rule. Wanting a stable career for your family, ensuring you get paid enough to provide for your family could be a few reasons why. It could also be that specific skills were acquired during college and that were needed to provide security. It could be that your parents insisted to go to collage because they went to college and if you don't, you'll be looked down upon. People can go to college due to the fact that they didn't know there was another way. It has become the norm for people now-a-days. For all these reasons, there are other ways to get the same result.
- "I have to get married and have kids by age __" - Many people believe that if you don't find a mate by a certain age, people may look down upon them. Maybe it's because they think that you are unlikable or a whole list of reasons. In some cultures, not getting married and having kids by a certain age meant not getting married at all. Maybe it was because of social pressure to get married. There are so many reasons not to jump into a relationship and commit according to some "timeline" it's not even funny.
- "I need to have a new car in order for people to respect me" - People want nice things. People respect people that have nice things. So it's perfectly natural to want to be respected and have those nice things. People that have a brand new car and have no payments are the ones that should be respected. They created enough wealth and disposable income that they can buy a new car without having to pay on it for several years. People can be trying to "keep up with the Joneses" and it can have a reversal effect on what they really want in life.
- "I have to follow in my parents footsteps" - If your parents are successful, you probably want to be just as successful, if not more. One way to do that is to do exactly what your parents did, but build upon what they have created. That can be taking over the family business or going to the same college your parents went to. On the flip side, parents can sometimes push their kids into doing the same thing they did because they think it is best thing for their child. The reasoning is valid: if you are successful, don't reinvent the wheel.
By all means, this list and the reasons behind them isn't all inclusive. Just a few of the more relevant examples, but I think you get the point.
Our 1 Rule
Everyone's life is different and varies as much as the wind does. So for us, our 1 rule would be to follow principles and let them guide us to the life that we really want. Unlike rules that may change, principles stay the same. You can apply principles to most situtations. A life that we get to choose and master will naturally create a by-product of happiness and fulfillment. How we do that is look at the current rules in our lives right now and assess what we are really looking for in those "rules". The biggest thing we need to do is question why we are doing the things we are doing.
Are these actions and things we do really making us happy? Do we have to go to college to get a stable job? Do we have to find a lifelong mate at age 23? Do you need to have the fancy car in the driveway? Even though we are $40,000 in debt for it? What are parents do for a living, would that make us happy too? Ask yourself these questions about all the other things you do and why you do them. Chances are, most of them you are doing for good reason, but there might be a few that you may reexamine and possibly change course.
I'm not asking or telling you to change anything that you are doing. It's more of an awareness that we should be thinking about. I would look at it like this: Yes I have made some decisions in life and and need to look at them closer and possibly reexamine, but more importantly, I should apply this to my future actions, not make a whole bunch of changes in me right now. Remember, life is pretty long. Any one year doesn't mean that much, but they are still important. A change a year from now can have an exponential effect on the rest of our lives, so as long as we are continuing to guide ourselves in the right direction with principles, we will always win at life.
Remember there are always going to be standards, tips, tricks, techniques and anything else that will resemble a rule, but follow principles and you will have the most success. You are the only one that has control over your life and pathway, choose intentionally and with great care.
What are some of the principles that you follow to make sure you get the things in life you want? Share in the comments below.
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