What are YOUR rules to live by?

Copy of my recent vacation (2)

I read this interesting blog post by Seth Godin several months ago on what are Bonnie’s rules for being a better client of website design services.  They include gems like the following:

  • White space is your friend
  • Be open to things you didn’t imagine
  • Nothing takes a second
  • Tell me the problem, not the solution

Then I was reading another blog earlier this week on time management and it quoted @Naval’s rules from Twitter and he had two I loved:

  • If you can’t decide, the answer is no.
  • If you have two equally difficult paths, choose the one more painful in the short term (pain avoidance is creating an illusion of equality).


I especially love the idea that when we’re avoiding things, we might weigh them differently than their true value. I myself often notice this in the morning when I’m trying to decide how important it is to get out of bed to workout. When my alarm is going off at 6:30am, the workout seems much less important than it seemed the night before when I decided to set my alarm. (Does this happen to anyone else?)

It got me thinking what my biggest “rules” are and wondering what are yours? So please comment and send me any rules that you work or live by (or even just aspire to). I would love to combine and share all my brilliant readers’ rules to live by.

  • S#@T HAPPENS! Sometimes something is not anybody’s fault and there’s no one to blame, it was just bad luck and it happened to you.
    (Side note: I believe a lot of people waste a lot of time looking to assign blame when it’s not that helpful or enlightening.)
  • When you’re trying to decide how to handle a situation with someone, usually the solution involves talking more candidly with them.
    (Many people are looking for the brilliant workaround solution that involves no difficult conversations and less transparency.)
  • Change is always much harder than you think it will be and takes much longer than you think it should take.
    (Think home renovation, personal change, and even career changes.)

While I’m sure I have many more (and my kids could probably tell you all the annoying parenting rules I have too), I’ll stop here.

So here’s my big request of you, before you close this window  – can you comment below with a rule or two that resonates for you? I promise to collect and share them out if I get enough.

P.S. And for the record, my very personal rule is: No eggplant, no zucchini… EVER!

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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