The Rules I Live By: Inspired by Steve Jobs
So far, every person on this earth has died or will die sometime in the future. No amount of resistance can stop it and until someone discovers the fountain of youth, we are destined to pass on. This is life.
I was on a plane ride back from Milwaukee on Monday and I was reading one of the in-flight magazines. I flipped upon a page that said “1 out of 2 men and 1 out of 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lives.” That’s a terrifying fact and granted, I knew cancer was common, but I didn’t know it was that prevalent.
Come Thursday, I hear the sad news about Steve Jobs resigning. All signs point to his health deteriorating and according to doctors, he may not be alive much longer. Like him or not, he’s one of the most brilliant and influential Americans of the last 30 years. And even with money and top medical professionals, he still can’t buy his health.
That is why I stress the importance of living now. It’s our responsibility to ourselves to have a happy, fulfilling, and purposeful existence — anything less is a disservice. We must learn to become better people, live passionately, and accomplish our dreams.
I wrote a list of rules to remind myself how I want to live life:
- Smile more. When we smile, it not only makes us happier, but the people around us as well.
- Live up to your own standards. If you judge your value by the opinions of others, you will never feel satisfied.
- Family comes first. Spend time with those closest to you and cherish those moments together. Never forget, true friends are family, too.
- Honor your word. Your word is the most powerful tool you own, so use it wisely. Nietzsche said, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
- Challenge yourself daily to achieve personal growth. Your future begins where your comfort zone ends, so take action.
- Understand that you may not always be right. Pride has no place in the pursuit of knowledge and will only slow you down. Keep an open-mind and know that you can learn something from everyone.
- Give more than you receive. The human race has prevailed because we build communities and work together. Be willing to lend a helping hand without expecting something in return.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Whatever’s upsetting you is temporary. Using your energy to obsessively worry or lose your temper is a waste of time that’s better spent being productive.
- You are a human being and you deserve to be treated with respect. Don’t settle for anything less.
- The path to success is born out of failure. Nearly every person who’s “made it” has stumbled more times than you can imagine. They persevered through the hardships to come out stronger on the other side.
- Don’t take things personally. What people say about you is more a reflection of themselves than about you.
- Being socially confident is a matter of experience. Force yourself to socialize with people and develop your emotional intelligence. The more you interact, the easier it gets.
- Finding someone you truly connect with takes work. Go out and meet people on an active basis. Dating is about exploring and finding someone who makes it all worthwhile.
- Overreacting to a situation usually makes it worse. It clouds your judgment and leads to rash decisions. Take a deep breath, evaluate, and act accordingly.
- Your health is important and affects everything. Maintaining a basic level of nutrition and fitness will drastically improve the quality of your life. This includes but is not limited to: your confidence, attractiveness, mood, energy, and overall happiness.
- Avoid making assumptions. If you want to know something, ask it. This way you clear up any uncertainties or misunderstandings. Communicate your emotions clearly.
- Life’s too short to not being doing what you want to do. You should be looking forward to each and every day rather than dreading it. Believe in your abilities and go after your passions.
Steve Jobs is a perfect example of someone who’s always lived in the present. If you haven’t seen his commencement speech at Stanford, set 15 minutes aside and watch it, it’s incredible.
Thanks for helping me become the nerd I am today, Steve. Best wishes to you and your family.