The Rules of Life

The Rules of Life

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A reader emailed me recently asking me what are “the rules” I live my life by. Of course, my immediate answer was, “Crap, I’ve never thought about that.” My initial reaction was to blow off the question. By my very nature I tend to shun rules.

But it got me thinking about more than simple rules to follow. It got me thinking about my life values. What drives me. What do I care about and what am I willing to stand up for. And when I thought about it that way, it became a very interesting question.

It took a few weeks but here they are. I think these are a good representation of how I got to where I am and how I’d like to continue living.

Some of these come easy. Others are a constant work-in-progress. All of them represent the values in which I live my life. They aren’t necessarily “the best way” to go about one’s life — I’m not prepared to claim to know how to do that — but they’re working pretty well for me so far. Hopefully you can draw a little insight or inspiration from them.

Rule #1: Be skeptical of everything, first and foremost yourself.

Ideology is the enemy of progress. Every ideology is formed to solve one problem but will eventually cause the next one. To become permanently attached to one belief-system without skepticism is to remain stuck forever.

No matter how big the truth, how great the epiphany, how important the breakthrough, I will one day turn around and question it. Nothing is safe. Nothing is sacred. Belief is merely a temporary vehicle to shuttle me through greater expressions and manifestations of life.

But above all, question myself. Look at my emotions and impulses honestly and ask why I have them. Look at my rationalizations and beliefs and question their validity. Are they serving me? Why do I have them? Are they necessary? Is there something more true?

As George Orwell said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle.” The capital-T Truth is something that is always pursued but never achieved. One must always actively pursue it.

Rule #2: Honestly express your thoughts and feelings to the greatest extent of your self-awareness (within relevance).

My own truncated version of radical honesty. One’s honesty is limited to what they themselves are aware of in themselves. For instance, I used to suppress many of my negative emotions and so there were times where I was upset and not even aware that I was upset. Therefore, it was impossible for me to be honest about it.

The goal here is to destroy the gap between what one is willing to think to themselves and willing to express to others. Rule #1 is crucial to be able to do this. Often, fucked up things pop up in my internal monologue and it’s important to question why they are there. What deeper feeling or belief is motivating it?

The parenthetical “within relevance” is the only place I diverge from Blanton’s take on honesty. I do not believe in verbal vomit. My mother does not need to know intimate details of my sex life. A business acquaintance does not need to know that I think his wife is hot. My girlfriend doesn’t need to know how I am going to catalog my business expenses on my tax returns, even if that is what I’m thinking about at the moment. Blanton’s argument is that stifling these thoughts, no matter how trivial or absurd, is unhealthy. I think muddying up a relationship with unnecessary information is unhealthy. If the thought is trivial or irrelevant, then withholding it drains no emotional capital.

Rule #3: Always challenge yourself to care more, both about yourself and others.

One of the biggest discoveries I made in my personal life was that compassion didn’t necessarily imply commitment. You can empathize with someone without being obligated to them in any way. Given my terror of commitment for most of my life, this freed me up to actually care about people beyond my small circle of friends around me.

Since this discovery I am regularly challenging myself to care more, in as many contexts as possible. As with many things, this care begins with myself: exercising regularly, presenting myself well, investing in my own growth and improvement. If you don’t care about yourself, then you’re not going to be able to genuinely care about others from a place of strength, but rather from a place of neediness.

Caring is difficult because it can hurt. It can create unpleasant emotions. It’s easy to close oneself off to the people around you, especially if they are strangers or simple acquaintances. One of the painful experiences of my trip to India was coming to terms with how much I didn’t give a shit about much of the world around me — not that I suddenly felt guilty for being wealthy or white or anything — but more that I realized the realities I had been shutting out and avoiding.

Rule #4: Judge people based on their behavior and nothing else; not their race, gender, sexual orientation, intelligence, talent, religion, nationality or social status. This also applies to yourself.

Psychiatrist and author Scott Peck defines evil as a the willful ignorance and degree of separation from the emotional needs of oneself and others.

Race, gender, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, these things have strong influences on our behavior and our perception of other people’s character. We all have unconscious biases and are susceptible to stereotyping. But at the end of the day, the definition of whether they are a “good” person or not is a person’s behavior and connection they have to the emotional needs of themselves and others. It’s useful to try to look at people in terms of the needs they’re trying to meet to understand their actions. Most people attempt to meet their needs through ignorant means, and although this can be destructive, it does not make them an evil or bad person. It’s only when someone is aware of their ignorance and chooses deception over truth when creating destruction that they become evil or bad.

Rule #5: Your actions and emotions are your responsibility and nobody else’s and vice-versa.

Each one of us must take responsibility for our own ignorance and behavior. Our needs are not the responsibility of anybody else and vice-versa (with the exception of children and their caretakers).

The key to healthy relationships is developing empathy on a basis of respect for each other’s autonomy. I don’t involve myself in people who don’t respect my autonomy (emotional and otherwise) and I always strive to respect the autonomy of others. This means that I don’t try to “fix” people and I don’t look to be “saved” by anyone. If I fuck up, it’s on me. If I am upset or sad or bored, it’s on me.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t empathize and care for others. On the contrary, this allows me to empathize and care for others from a place of strength and authenticity. My concern and help is offered unconditionally with no obligations or expectation. This is the only way love can truly be expressed. (See: Boundaries)

Rule #6: Fear failure but never let it stop you.

Stifling and hiding from fear only makes it worse. Wishing to not be afraid only makes it worse. Trying to logically “solve” my fear only makes it worse. Trying to plan or strategize my way into not being anxious only makes it worse.

Fear is normal. Fear means that there’s probably something I should do. Fear means that I’m rooting out my own ignorance and expressing myself more honestly. All growth begins in fear. Therefore I feel the fear and do it anyway.

Rule #7: Invest in knowledge, experiences and relationships, not status or possessions.

Warren Buffet — Investment God, second richest man in the world, philanthropist, minimalist, polyamorist, and All-American superhero — was recently asked in an interview what investment advice he would give ambitious young people today. His answer was unexpected and interesting. My paraphrase:

“I would tell them to invest in knowledge. Not necessarily education, although education can help, but knowledge. You get knowledge from everything, but most of all from experience, from trying things. Business assets fluctuate. Currency values fluctuate. The value of diplomas and degrees will change in time. But knowledge stays with you forever. It’s impossible to have too much knowledge or experience. I’m 83 and still using things I learned 65 years ago.”

Most people invest their time and effort chasing material wealth and social status. I believe if I invest my time and effort into knowledge, new experience and relationships, then material wealth and status will be a natural side-effect of that. Research shows that pursuing wealth and status for the sake of wealth and status correlates negatively with life satisfaction. It also shows that money spent on experience and relationships generates more happiness and well-being (and, I would argue, greater long-term wealth) than money spent on possessions.

The business coach Zig Ziglar taught that if your goal is to go out and find a way to get money from a thousand people, those thousand people will try to find reasons to not give it to you. But if your goal is to go out and make the lives of a thousand people better, then those thousand people will gladly give you money and much more. This has become one of the defining principles of my life.

Rule #8: Doubts, mistakes, insecurities are normal parts of life. Don’t avoid them, but instead use them as further motivation to improve.

Surveys find that while average happiness and well-being has not increased in the developed world in the past 50 years, rates of depression and anxiety disorders have sky-rocketed. I believe a large part of this is due to increased standards and expectations of perfection spread by mass media: always be happy, always be beautiful, always be successful, always be confident. We’re sold these messages over and over and over again and advertised to in such a way that keeps us in a constant state of inadequacy.

After years of successfully improving myself, I would continue to get frustrated that I had bad days where I was doubtful or insecure. I still had moments of anxiety in situations I had supposedly “conquered” years prior. And I noticed that the more upset about it I got, the more I reverted back to my old fearful and depressed mentalities. It was like watching all of my hard-fought progress unravel inside myself.

The fact is: insecurity is normal; fear is normal; self-doubt is normal. These may diminish in time but they will never go away entirely. When I feel them, I don’t try to suppress them or deny them. I let myself feel them. And then I use that emotion to motivate myself to change. I’ll say to myself, “I’ve been bummed out and laying around in bed a lot this week. What goals can I set to change this?” I’ll then set a series of specific, simple goals: go outside and run; do four hours of work; study a language for an hour; have dinner with a friend — all today, go! And then I make myself do it regardless of how I feel.

If I’m angry at someone I won’t deny that emotion, but channel it into productive use. “She thinks she can say that to me? I’ll show her. I’ll become so successful that she’ll regret ever rejecting me. I’ll make that the biggest mistake she ever made.” Use that anger. Channel that frustration into something productive.

Rule #9: Practice Gratitude

I was in a car accident last weekend. A motorcycle T-boned my girlfriend’s car as we were going home late Saturday night. The motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet.

When he hit us, I immediately thought the guy was dead. I jumped out of the car and ran to him. And to my astonishment he got up and walked off from it. While the insurance payments are a pain in the ass, not having a car to get around a massive city like São Paulo is a pain in the ass, having to deal with the police and tow company until six in the morning was a pain in the ass, all I could think was: Holy shit, we’re lucky that guy isn’t dead; we’re lucky it was just a motorcycle and not a truck (or else my girlfriend might be dead); we’re lucky it doesn’t prevent us from working, whereas the motorcyclist needs his bike for work. We are lucky about a lot of things. A wrecked car isn’t so bad.

Our default setting is to always focus on what we don’t have, what we lack, to what’s wrong. It’s wired into us. People always lament taking things for granted, or not being able to appreciate what they have.

Appreciation for what you have and where you are is an active habit that must be consciously practiced. Practicing gratitude increases happiness and well-being. It also makes you far more pleasant to be around.

Always thank people. Even if they didn’t know they were doing something for you. Thank them for just being there. Tell your friends and family what you like about them. Tell a woman what you find attractive about her. And be honest! When you wake up and brush your teeth, think of three ways in which you’re very fortunate. When something goes wrong, think of ways in which you were actually lucky that things didn’t go worse. (See: Shut Up and Be Grateful)

Rule #10: Nothing in life is so serious that you can’t laugh about it. Relax.

This is almost verbatim what my grandmother said as she was dying of a brain tumor. I was 13 at the time. It was one of those situations where she was given six months to live and we all had to sit there and watch the cancer slowly eat away at her, not knowing when the day would come. As time went on and her health deteriorated, she would often make jokes about her condition, or even jokes about her own death. She had a great sense of humor and some of the jokes were actually pretty funny.

Of course, not everyone in the family took them well. One night my aunt got upset and asked her to stop joking about her cancer, that it wasn’t funny and that she was having a hard time dealing with it (Oh, the irony, “Please stop being comfortable with your own death, because I’m not.”)

My grandmother replied with the statement above, and it stuck with me in a real way. If you can’t laugh about it, then you’re probably taking it (and yourself) too seriously. There’s a lot to be said about humility, about levity, and about the ability to maintain the paradoxical idea that everything you do matters completely while not actually mattering at all. Humor in the face of horror does that for me. It returns me to that quasi-spiritual perspective. Satire and humor allow you to say truths that are otherwise difficult or unacceptable to say but can be truer than any serious statement.

Or as an old man in a movie once said: “Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.”

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36 Comments

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  • Reply

    LaurentYves

    2 months ago

    Wow Mark, as a 20 year old guy that has generally stepped into a world that he knows very little about , I find your articles very insightful and they have helped me a lot. I really wonder how relevant public education is now. Lately I have been really stifled by my fears. I spent two years in a community college full of the most socially awkward humans you could imagine while taking bullshit classes that were supposedly gonna grant me higher pay and a rewarding career. Not sure if you are a man of faith or if that even matters, but I feel like god has stripped me of every distraction and outlet that I once had to show me all of my insecurities and shortcomings as a person in a way to have me conquer these things full on, like looking at yourself in the mirror without any delusions or anyone to tell you “it’s gonna be alright”.  I can’t adopt your rules of life because knowing my personality that would be counterproductive in the long run, but I don’t mind using them as a reference. Hopefully as I continue to get past my depression i can build the motivation to tackle the world head on. I mean society seemingly has very few options and I have to work eventually. It seems like online apps dont get me anywhere, but I have a feeling I should learn how to self-sustain through self-employment entreprenurialship because I dont see conventional jobs making me happy or even being reliable. best of luck, hope i dont sound like im whining.

    • Reply

      Brent

      1 month ago

      Yes, you are definitely whining. Whenever you say “I can’t”, 90% of the time you’re afraid of something. You can learn so much about yourself by asking in the moment, “What am I afraid of? Why?” and then saying, “Ok, I’m nervous…let’s act anyway and see how it affects me.”

      Stick with your public education. Irrational, unconscious (mostly) fear is what’s giving you desire to drop out. Public education and college are great opportunities to learn things–I’m not talking about academics (you can learn that stuff much more efficiently on your own time). I’m talking about the social interactions with the people around you. No where else will you have an excuse to meet so many different people–you’re all stuck in the same buildings together being shuffled around every year. Test them all out. Learn from as many as you can. See what these people are like. You’re not going to see most of them ever again after you graduate. Plus, it’s college…you have all the excuses to be awkward and crazy. Test out your courage…”What happens if I go say hi to that girl even though I’m nervous?” Learn from what your emotions are telling you–ignoring them makes you do stupid, regretful things. I’m starting to beat this like a dead horse, but read Mark’s article called the Do Something Principle and read his Guide to Courage, especially the Self-Acceptance section. And then go do something. It’s what you don’t know you’ve been asking for.

  • Reply

    ZacChamp

    2 months ago

    Mark, this was an awesome article. I said this on your facebook wall, but I wanted to more here and practice #9.
     
    I’m very grateful for Postmasculine the impact it has had on my life. It has accelerated my growth and helped me address a lot of things in life that I would not have been as well prepared to address had I not been a regular reader.
     
    I’m very thankful that you care about providing value long before you care about making money. We both know that before the internship, helping me had never made you a dollar. Still, you have always offered me a ton of value through your work, your site, and your forum. Despite not having ever paid you for anything, you’ve changed the direction of my life. I’m extremely grateful. 
     
    There are some great perspectives in this article and I hope everyone gets a little something from it. None of that would be possible if you hadn’t followed your own rules to get where you are, especially #3.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @ZacChamp Thanks buddy. I’m very fortunate to be able to do this for a living.

  • Reply

    crossFit_Al

    2 months ago

    Awesome article!

  • Reply

    aendique

    2 months ago

    Great article, Mark. Thanks for taking your time to write something meaningful like this.

  • Reply

    CoolHandJakeGS

    2 months ago

    My favorite article of 2013 so far, Mark! The final paragraphs of #’s 5, 6, 7 and 8 are pure gold. Especially #7. Investing in Experience is an alien concept to most people, and something I’d love to see you expand on-specifically, how to do it and how to drag your friends and loved ones along with you!! Anyways, well done!

    • Reply

      fixedsys

      2 months ago

      “Chase the goddess of wisdom, and the goddess of wealth will become jealous and follow.”
       
      One of my favorite quotes.

  • Reply

    twylatwombly

    2 months ago

    Thank you for your thoughtful reflections.  In response to number four, if someone chooses deception, to me, that just implies a deeper level of ignorance.  Calling people, any people, “evil” or “bad” seems to me like the height of ignorance.

  • Reply

    twylatwombly

    2 months ago

    I appreciate your thoughtfulness.  Thanks for writing this.  The following statement from number four seems wrongheaded to me in numerous ways:   “It’s only when someone is aware of their ignorance and chooses deception over truth when creating destruction that they become evil or bad.”  What usefulness do you think the designations “evil” and “bad” have?  To me, they are much, much worse than useless and using them a sure way to remain benighted.  But perhaps you didn’t mean them to denote the irredeemable and permanently “other.”  If you did, however, I couldn’t disagree more strongly.  Secondly, was there a reason you left physical appearance and age out of  your list of factors to be overlooked or was that just an oversight or meant to be implied?  I’m guessing the latter, but I wanted to bring it up since your audience seems predominantly young and male.  Speaking of age, your grandmother sounds magnificent.  Thanks again for your work in writing this and take good care.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @twylatwombly Just an oversight. 
       
      Peck’s point is that what we perceive as “evil” in the world, is merely willful ignorance. So I think you read it as the cause/effect being backwards. It’s not that we should walk around saying, “He’s ignorant, therefore he’s bad.” It’s that we should look at what strikes us as bad or evil in people and recognize that it’s merely ignorance on their part.

      • Reply

        derekscruggs

        2 months ago

        @postmasculine  @twylatwombly Exactly. In my experience, people who seem to act in an evil manner are basically just not conscious and likely very unhappy. I mostly have pity for them. Even something as awful as child molestation, I feel sorry for the molester not being able to get those thoughts out of his head. (Not that I tolerate it, I just feel sorry for the inner turmoil they must feel.)

  • Reply

    magneticperson

    2 months ago

    Great article (actually I only read the bold – less is more)
    Question on rule number 1:
    You talk about ideology here and to be skeptical of yourself. How do you stack this up with your advice in Models that you should try to have more solid opinions/opinion on more things? This may have been the most difficult part of your book for me. I found the suggestion of becoming more opinionated to be out of line with my own personal experience and opinions (ha! see what I did there?). Can you elaborate on how these work together?

    • Reply

      derekscruggs

      2 months ago

      @magneticperson Have strong opinions that are weakly held - http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/07/strong_opinions.html

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @magneticperson Ideology is blind belief or a willful ignorance of conflicting evidence or experience. It’s ignoring the idea that you may be wrong. 
       
      Having opinions is merely NOT being indifferent. Not sitting there and shrugging and say, “Oh I don’t care much about abortion, what do you think?” NO! Fuck you! You think something! Even if it’s wrong, or uninformed, you HAVE an opinion, SAY IT!
      People who are indifferent about everything are usually that way as a defense mechanism from having to expose themselves or risk being wrong or rejected. It’s a way of hiding and disengaging from people and the world. 
       
      Have an opinion, feel strongly about it, but be totally willing to admit you’re wrong if you’re presented with better evidence or conflicting experience. Nothing wrong in that.

      • Reply

        magneticperson

        2 months ago

        @postmasculine This is what I figured. I was pretty sure that is what you were getting at in your book, I just wanted to clarify how it matched up with your point in this article. Terminology can be tricky sometimes (as I’m sure you’ve noticed with the topic of vulnerability) and I guess I was a little unclear.

  • Reply

    Blackdragon

    2 months ago

    If just 20% of the population of the world more embraced your item number four, many of the world’s problems would vanish overnight. Good post.

  • Reply

    timfraser123

    2 months ago

    Re number 2: “You don’t understand Gandhi,” Desai responded. “You see, what he thinks is what he feels. What he feels is what he says. What he says is what he does. What Gandhi feels, what he thinks, what he says, and what he does are all the same. He does not need notes.”

  • Reply

    Bounce

    2 months ago

    Hey Mark, great article as usual. And even though I learned some valuable things, I also completely disagree with the following example you gave:
     
    “If I’m angry at someone I won’t deny that emotion, but channel it into productive use. “She thinks she can say that to me? I’ll show her. I’ll become so successful that she’ll regret ever rejecting me. I’ll make that the biggest mistake she ever made.” Use that anger. Channel that frustration into something productive.”
     
    I think a better thought in this case is:
     
    “She thinks she can say that to me, and she’s correct about that. She has every right to say & think whatever she wants; she has the right to be who she chooses to be. I am not the boss of the world, and just because I would prefer that she didn’t say that, doesn’t mean that she also shouldn’t have said that. Ok, now that that’s settled, I’m no longer going to spend/waste my precious time on this issue. Instead I will use my valuable time with working on becoming successful, because I consider myself a valuable, important human-being and I want nothing but the best for myself.”
     
    Cheers, Arnold

    • Reply

      Bounce

      2 months ago

      Oops I forgot to motivate this. The reason for why I think this is a more healthy response to someone who said something you don’t like, is because I think it will remove anger. And the reason for removing anger is because I believe anger to be unhealthy & unpleasant.
      In addition, I think motivation based on something external (here: proving somebody wrong) doesn’t last very long. I think that internal motivation (based on a deep desire within yourself) works much better.

      • Reply

        postmasculine

        2 months ago

        @Bounce Anger IS unpleasant, but it’s also a normal human emotion. It would be unhealthy to NEVER be angry and it’s also unhealthy to suppress anger and try to pretend it’s not there. 
         
        As I said in my previous article, there’s nothing wrong with external validation, as long as that external validation motivates your behavior in a healthy way. The same goes for negative emotions.

  • Reply

    Charles Y

    2 months ago

    Quite similar to mine. Except for #3, it’s a good idea.
     
    However, some practical problems tend to make it hard for me to care: Some people can be rather undeserving (e.g. attention whores/ overcompensating assholes). What makes it even more difficult is that most average people have a thick shell built around them before your attempts to make emotional connection can be well received. And even if you succeeded in investing in some of them, they still find it easy to walk away and move on to the next person who is willing to invest in connecting with them. Vulture behavior. So you just wasted all that effort and drained yourself emotionally with little or feigned reciprocation.
     
    My own rule with regard to this issue:
     
    Lead through the principle of reciprocation: Always return another’s positive vibes. And when you feel you are being reciprocated, return a little more and push it to the next level. 
    Selective chivalry and conditional generosity apply to those who do not understand the concept of chivalry or generosity.
     
    In general: No one is a means to an end until they give me a good reason.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @Charles Y Yeah, that’s why it says “Challenge yourself to care,” not “You have to care.” Also, as rule #4 states that if someone is an asshole, you cut them out of your life.

  • Reply

    timfraser123

    2 months ago

    I’ve been thinking about #2 a bit recently. It seems to me that the decision to share something that you’re not sure about sharing should be based on whether your hesitance to share is motivated by fear. If you’re holding back because you’re afraid of what someone will think of you, then you should consider doing it, but if you’re holding back simply because it seems to have little utility for you to express or for the other person to hear it, then it’s fine to hold back. For example, if you’re perfectly comfortable telling the business acquaintance that his wife is hot, chances are that you’re holding back simply because it’s not relevant and likely to help either of you. On the other hand, maybe you’re holding back on telling your mother about your sex life because you’re not comfortable talking about sex with her. Why not? Because you’ve never done that. Why not? Because your parents taught you that sex was shameful. Ah, then it might be worth discussing it after all.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @timfraser123 I think this is a good way of putting it.

  • Reply

    kevinhartley80

    2 months ago

    Mark, After reading your models book I am still not sure I get the investment paradox section. For example, when I am on a date, and my date reacts favorably by say turning her body towards me, twirling with her hair, sipping from my glass, playfully punching arm & making plans for later, I find myself being invested in her early on. So when she doesnt text back or return my calls, I see myself go through this negative phase for a couple of days. I think the answer to that is not being invested or needy in her reactions but how do you actually go about implenting it. Would you care to explain this in detail? thanks

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @kevinhartley80 Well, there’s the emotion and there’s the behavior. Should you be annoyed/upset/angry she didn’t text back? Sure. Flakes suck. 
       
      But what are you going to do? I detail in the book what to do in these situations and the mindset I have about it. http://postmasculine.com/phone-numbers
       
      The short answer is even though I may be hurt or annoyed, I don’t have time for girls who don’t have time for me. End of story. If she REALLY liked you, she would text back. Obviously she wasn’t as into you as you thought. So just let it go.

  • Reply

    Vonney D

    2 months ago

    Thank you for this.
    Lately, I have been having an emotionally hard time dealing with breaking up with a boyfriend of three years. In my head I know what to do, what is right for me. It is going against my emotions that have been really difficult to deal with. For lack of a better analogy: I have been a “girl”. This post has helped realize the things I need to focus on. So again, thank you Mark.
     
    I have been a fan since you wrote “10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America”. Since then I have read many of your articles, most of which have helped me gain perspective with my life and emotions, as well as help me coach my friends and family with theirs. I have many people turn to me for advice and I use a lot of what I have learned from you to guide them. I know this is a men’s blog, but you’re fucking brilliant, and a lot of it applies to females as well. The articles on how to pickup women have even help with women picking up men. We all want the same thing, to a certain degree anyway. Of course, I have referred many of them to your site, but who wants to read when they have someone to can just tell them what they need to hear. 
    Keep on inspiring!
     
    Cheers, Von

  • Reply

    fixedsys

    2 months ago

    “Most people invest their time and effort chasing material wealth and social status. I believe if I invest my time and effort into knowledge, new experience and relationships, then material wealth and status will be a natural side-effect of that.”
     
    Chase the goddess of wisdom, and the goddess of wealth will become jealous and follow.
     
    One of my favorite quotes.

  • Reply

    Michael

    2 months ago

    Honestly, I was looking through your articles hoping to find something to help get me through another day in an office cubicle tomorrow, while I try to put together the pieces of some kind of plan to get me out of there. This couldn’t have been more relevant had it had my name in the title. Muito obrigado bicho, dum irmao australiano.

  • Reply

    Tom

    1 month ago

    Mark I feel like there is a step past all this. One that doesn’t involve fear, or inconvenience. Kinda how Jesus seemed to handle things. (I am not religious, but that doesn’t mean an image of Jesus wasn’t created) Though I do agree, the times I have been happiest in my life, many of these things were under my belt at the time. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone word these things like you have here. Only my “inter monologue” has come close for my perception to digest. But my mind stopped me from wording anything close aloud to others or in the form of words, as much as its trying to do now, but right now I don’t have everything under my belt, so that’s probably why I’m continuing. I felt like taking the time to word these things like a rule book, was wrong, in morale. These things build from auras (aura was the best word I have) that our minds put into words. And living these out and showing as little of the lack there of the above is the best way to help your fellow man. As they have the power to quantify the auras they build from your example into their own words, understanding, and progression. Sure the internet reaches millions, but words are also labels certain humans created and decided to use to communicate. And yes we would be screwed without them, but they can be messed up, skewed, and understood wrong. I feel men following what you did or do in the form of words is a recreation, or better yet, an attempt of recreation. Its like a fact, on parts of a mans soul that shouldn’t share equal fact with another, perhaps similar, or nearly identical, but not equal. Also I believe it strips our race of the originality and diversity that makes our human family tree branch off in directions of many great horizons and creations. I say this, because my deep faith for all to overcome their problems, lies no further than what lays in their brains. Thats all. Good night. P.S. I feel like Jesus was about the things you portray, but the creation of Jesus, whether god may be a mans hand on a pencil, or history lesson, or a greater power with divine intentions, but with more of the approach I described here. The future is among us, but the lessons you lay forth have been shared from father to son alike, self taught abroad, and discovered accidentally without any way of knowing that the feelings that push them to do what they are doing, are close to equivalent to what you are saying.

  • Reply

    brent

    1 month ago

    Warning: Long comment. But it’s insightful (I think so). =]

    Some people view Emotional Intelligence as “Pop Psychology”. However, people who say this are often unaware of their own emotions which drove them to say that. And what’s more, they don’t really understand what emotional intelligence is. Now I’m a big nerd and a fanboy when it comes to emotional intelligence (BIG nerd), but this passion is well-grounded. One model of emotional intelligence breaks it down into these four aspects: 1) self-awareness 2) self-management 3) social awareness (empathy) and 4) social management. A different way of organizing emotional intelligence is with these four aspects: 1) perceiving emotions 2) utilizing emotions 3) understanding emotions and 4) managing emotions. Both models are useful. The fundamental and most commonly lacking aspect of emotional intelligence is emotional awareness. What are you emotions behind any given decision? Next, where did they come from? Why? This is emotional intelligence. Every one of Mark’s Rules relates to emotional intelligence.

    From Rule #1: “Look at my emotions and impulses honestly and ask why I have them. Look at my rationalizations and beliefs and question their validity. Are they serving me? Why do I have them? Are they necessary? Is there something more true?” This is a textbook example self-awareness or perceiving emotions.

    From Rule #2: “One’s honesty is limited to what they themselves are aware of in themselves. For instance, I used to suppress many of my negative emotions and so there were times where I was upset and not even aware that I was upset.” This is also an example of self-awareness.

    From Rule #2: “Often, fucked up things pop up in my internal monologue and it’s important to question why they are there. What deeper feeling or belief is motivating it?” This is an exmaple of understanding emotions (if he comes up with some answers).

    From Rule #3: “I am regularly challenging myself to care more”. This is an example of utilizing emotions.

    From Rule #4: “Scott Peck defines evil as a the willful ignorance and degree of separation from the emotional needs of oneself and others.” Scott Peck agrees with me that a lack of emotional intelligence is evil.

    From Rule #4: “It’s useful to try to look at people in terms of the needs they’re trying to meet to understand their actions.” This is an example of social awareness or understanding emotions.

    You learn #5 and #6 are examples of understanding emotions. You learn them by being self-aware.

    From Rule #7: “You get knowledge from everything, but most of all from experience, from trying things” – Warren Buffet. This is actually rational observation, but requires emotional intelligence to get through the process required to learn this bit of insight!

    From Rule #8: “I use that emotion to motivate myself to change. Use that anger. Channel that frustration into something productive.” This is an example of utilizing emotions.

    From Rule # 9: “Practicing gratitude increases happiness and well-being. It also makes you far more pleasant to be around.” This is an example of self-awareness, social awareness and understanding emotions.

    From Rule #10: “If you can’t laugh about it, then you’re probably taking it (and yourself) too seriously.” This is an example of emotional understanding, and it’s also pretty funny.

    And with all that, I sincerely hope that some readers will be more informed on what emotional intelligence ACTUALLY is. Thanks Mark for (hopefully) publishing this obscenely long comment. =]

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      1 month ago

      I’m a big fan of the EQ framework and Goleman’s work. One could argue that the whole point of self development is really just to increase EQ.

      • Reply

        Brent

        1 month ago

        In this case my name is One! I’m arguing that point. In fact, I’m making it goal of mine, a rather lofty one (but a necessary purpose outside of myself nonetheless), to get EQ to the tipping point where at least the USA starts becoming emotionally intelligent. So, as a starter, that would probably mean EQ development would become part of a “normal” primary school education. Of course we’ve got some work ahead of us before we even agree on how to effectively develop EQ, and then there’s politics and money, etc. But it’s something to occupy my time. =]

  • Reply

    Missy

    1 month ago

    In regards to rule no. 7: I desperately wish for experiences, but how am i going to have any without money? I want to go back to NY and stay for a month, go to vegaaas, go to the beautiful beaches of mexico, go to spain, go around greece on a yaaacht. So you see, all of these cost me money, thus im trying to get money :-< could you riddle me this, please

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