Everyone has a code, whether it’s well-defined or not. I do my best to live deliberately, to lead an examined life, and sometimes that means I have to stop and take stock of both what I’m doing and what I’ve done. Everyone needs to course correct from time to time. I don’t always succeed, but definitely continue to try to live my life by the things listed here:
- Do something nice for someone else each day, and don’t tell anyone about it. You’ve taken enough from the world. It’s time to give back, one small kind gesture at a time. Ideas? Push some shopping carts back to the rack, hold a door open, let someone go in front of you at the market, and it goes without saying, when you see anyone in need, help them (like the guy whose car died in the intersection…help him push it to the curb). You get the idea. Important caveat: if you tell someone about it, you’ve just canceled it out. Talking about what you’ve done makes it about you…it isn’t about you!
- Chew your food. Pay attention to what you’re eating. It’s also good for your belly.
- Use your turn signals. Ever get stuck behind someone who doesn’t announce that they’re turning until you’re right up behind them, or who cuts you off without a signal at all? Of course you have. Don’t be that guy.
- Clean up the wreckage of your presence. When you make a mess (figuratively and literally), clean it up. Don’t litter. Put things back where you found them. Try to leave places you visit / hang out at better than they were before you arrived.
- Take the stairs. Unless it’s over 5 or 10 flights, there’s no reason not to take the stairs. Unless there is a reason. Here are the only acceptable ones: broken leg, in a wheelchair, carrying something over 50 lbs…hmmm…yeah, that’s about it. Take the damn stairs, man.
- Stop worrying about what you shouldn’t eat. Add the things that you HAVE to eat in order to be healthy (like tons of greens, and colorful fruits and vegetables), and you won’t have room for all of the other crap. But don’t stop eating the other stuff completely…life is meant to be enjoyed, and yes, that includes Double Stuffed Oreos from time to time.
- Drink lots of water. A good measurement is to drink half of your bodyweight + 10 in ounces. I’m 190lbs. so that’s: 190 / 2 = 95; 95 +10 = 105. 105 ounces it is. Gulp, gulp, gulp…it’s the greatest gift you can give yourself…gulp, gulp.
- Use your body. Walk, swim, bike, run, jump, climb, play, stretch. It’s the only one you get (until science perfects the full head transplant), so take care of it.
- Work hard. Nothing else to be said here.
- Create something. Do it, right now. Whatever it is. A paper airplane. One of those paperclip crickets. Sketch the person sitting across from you. Make something. Go! What’d you make? Upload a pic!
- Learn another language. I’m sure you have a close friend who speaks another language. Learn it. Or, perhaps you might be able to get promoted quicker at work if you were bilingual. Whatever the case, new languages open doors to different worlds.
- Travel. Time to go visit the place where they speak the language you just learned… See you later!
- Process, then let go of your anger. Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
- Act as if this is the only life you get. It’s entirely possible/probable that that’s the case. I’m a firm believer that heaven and hell are here and now. You have nothing to fear in the afterlife (if you believe in that) when you’ve lived a good life and been kind to people.
- Pay attention to the life beyond your own nose. We all have problems. But spending too much time in your head isn’t going to make it better. The solution is beyond your nose, not in between your ears. There’s a whole world out there that’ll keep things in perspective…get out of your head and go make today a great one!
This post was as much for me as it was for anyone else. You can’t have too many rules, and I simply wanted to write mine down. Above all else, we’re all in this together. Think about other people as you’re out in the world. You never know what other people are going through. Give people the benefit of the doubt, when possible. Keep things in perspective…
Please feel free to share your thoughts, agree or disagree, or add your own.
Photo credit: Run by Hernán Piñera | This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Posted this about 4 or 5 years ago, and am 10 lbs. lighter as a result of following the things on this list. Drinking lots of water, always taking the stairs, and eating lots of good shit. But don’t get it twisted, at 10pm last night I had a chunk of dark chocolate slathered in peanut butter, and then washed it down with a banana dunked in almond butter. Eat man, eat.
I reread it last night because the stairs thing came up in conversation with a friend. Lots of reflecting lately. Lots of shit to process and discard. Don’t ever stop looking at yourself and aiming to be better.