Rules for Life

In my note app on my phone I keep a list of Rules for Life. These are small ideas that help me in work and life in general. Sometimes I come up with a rule after making a big mistake, perhaps I read it in a book, and every so often one comes to me when I’m doing nothing at all. While the list has grown fairly long, I want to share my top five rules. I find it helpful to look ever them occasionally and make sure I’m not making the same mistakes as I did in the past.

Rules for Life

Find your own heroes.

I think it’s important to have people to look up to. Often times we choose typical hero figures – a president or philanthropist, perhaps a business executive. However, I think the key is to find our own heroes rather than just accepts those of others. Someone who we can relate to, who’s values, goals, and lifestyle is similar to our own. Because everyone is different, it only makes sense that everyone should have their own heroes. This way we can pick out various people to help guide different aspects of ourselves in the right direction.

Stressing out over something never solves it, only makes it worse.

While in school, a lot of people would get worked up about various things – teachers, grades, schedules. They would walk around nervous, angry, and stressed about their situation. Instead of trying to solve the problem they would build it up. Stressing out over something has never solved it, figure out what’s wrong and fix it. If it’s out of your control then don’t worry about it and move on – nothing you do will make a difference either way.

It’s never too late to start or change.

Blaming the past is an easy way to make excuses for the present. I eat poorly because I never learned to cook. Or I can’t write well because I had a bad English teacher. There is no difference between then and now. Take that cooking course, learn a new language, change careers – it’s never too late to start or change.

Knowing what you don’t want is as important as knowing what you want.

When I was first starting out in photography I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it. Little by little I started trying my hand at various types of photography – assisting on fashion shoots, shooting sports, etc. After a while, I had developed a grasp of the type of work I didn’t want to be doing, making it easy to pick out what I did like. Sometimes we have so much choice that only way to move forward is to figure out what it is we don’t want.

Make no little plans.

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”

– Daniel Burnham, architect. (1846-1912)

Please let us know in the comments some of the rules you live by and why.


  1. These are great! I have a post-it note above my desk with one of my favourite rules on it. It’s less of a rule, more of a proverb, and actually a quote usually attributed to Louis Pasteur:

    “Le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés” — which means “chance favours only the prepared mind.” Pasteur was talking about science and observation, but I think it’s a universal truth that helps me remember that I can coax serendipity.


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