“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” — Charles R. Swindoll.
A friend of mine sent me an email titled “Twelve Little Laws of Life.”
The laws were short and sweet and I was impressed.
I hunted down the original author Tom Hoobyar. Tom said I was free to republish the laws.
Here are the 12 laws of life, followed by my take on them.
The 12 Little Laws of Life
Here are Tom’s 12 little laws of life:
- SELF-MANAGEMENT AND PEOPLE SKILLS ARE THE KEYS TO YOUR SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS.
- YOU ARE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR UNIVERSE. STAY THERE!
- WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT MOST IS WHAT YOU GET.
- YOU MAKE YOUR HABITS AND THEN YOUR HABITS MAKE YOU.
- GUILT ENSLAVES YOU. RESPONSIBILITY LIBERATES YOU.
- “OBLIGATIONS” ARE A FRAUD.
- EXPECT LESS FROM OTHERS AND MORE FROM YOURSELF.
- NOBODY WAKES UP IN THE MORNING CHOOSING TO BE THE VILLAIN.
- THERE IS NO “HAPPILY EVER AFTER” IN THE REAL WORLD.
- THERE IS A HELL, AND IT STARTS EARLY.
- YOU CAN CREATE PARADISE ON EARTH. MANY PEOPLE DO.
- IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE.
My Take on the 12 Little Laws of Life
To me, the laws seem robust and succinctly capture the heart of a lot of lessons that people have learned the hard way, myself included.
I like the fact that the laws are consistent with some of the best insights from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP.)
Here’s what the laws mean to me:
Law # 1 – SELF-MANAGEMENT AND PEOPLE SKILLS ARE THE KEYS TO YOUR SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS.
Self-management includes what you say, think and do.
I think how you run your brain is one of the most important skills for life.
At the end of the day, it’s not what happens in your life but what you make of it that matters.
I’m also a fan of getting people on your side.
People can open doors or close them.
They can drag their feet or they can lift you up when you fall down.
Law #2 – YOU ARE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR UNIVERSE. STAY THERE!
To me, this means drive your life from the inside out.
This echoes Covey’s lessons on using your internal compass.
This is about living your values and being true to you.
Don’t let other people make you something you’re not and don’t let an unstable world knock you off your rocker.
Create your firm foundation internally.
Law #3 – WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT MOST IS WHAT YOU GET.
When you get a new car, suddenly you see it everywhere.
You get what you focus on.
if you want to find what’s wrong with things, you always can.
If you want to find what’s right with things, you can do that too.
If you want lead a life of magic, than focus on magic.
If you want a life of tragedy, then focus on tragedy.
You’re the director of your life, so ultimately you need to figure out what to point your camera at.
Law #4 – YOU MAKE YOUR HABITS AND THEN YOUR HABITS MAKE YOU.
So true! Any habit has inertia in the beginning.
You might bootstrap yourself with motivation.
Maybe a Rocky movie or Karate Kid.
Eventually though, your motivation wears thin or wears off entirely.
Your self-discipline though keeps you going. Self-discipline is how you control your behavior for a longer-term benefit.
Eventually, your habit is burned into your body.
It’s a part of you.
It supports you. What you say, think and do is a sum of your habits.
Your habits are either by design or by default.
You’re the architect of your life.
If you want a new design, start with your habits.
Law #5 – GUILT ENSLAVES YOU. RESPONSIBILITY LIBERATES YOU.
Own it. Taking responsibility liberates you from the guilt.
When you don’t take responsibility, guilt is a obvious response.
Law #6 – “OBLIGATIONS” ARE A FRAUD.
An obligation is a requirement to take some course of action.
Be flexible in your approach.
Turn your “have tos” into “choose tos.”
You know the saying, “The only thing certain is death and taxes,” by Benjamin Franklin.
You also know the saying, “rules are made to be broken.”
Don’t limit yourself by limiting your thinking.
Law #7 – EXPECT LESS FROM OTHERS AND MORE FROM YOURSELF.
Don’t hold others to the bar you set for yourself.
Set a bar that makes sense for you.
Continuously raise the bar and stretch yourself.
Law #8 – NOBODY WAKES UP IN THE MORNING CHOOSING TO BE THE VILLAIN.
People do the best they can with the resources they’ve got.
Forgive and forget.
Don’t take things personally.
People aren’t out to get you.
Assume people have the best intentions, you just might not agree with their approach.
Law #9 – THERE IS NO “HAPPILY EVER AFTER” IN THE REAL WORLD.
Happiness isn’t something you work towards and then achieve and then enjoy the rest of your life.
Life’s not static.
When you stop climbing, you start sliding.
You also can’t put happiness out of your reach. if only you get this job, or if only you get that house, or if only you get this or that. Happiness is from the inside out.
You make it a part of your daily existence.
Law #10 – THERE IS A HELL, AND IT STARTS EARLY.
You can create your own Hell on earth.
Many people do it every day.
It’s the choices they make in terms of what they say, think, and do.
You can be a slave to your own thinking, or your thinking can unleash your best self, and your best life.
Law #11 – YOU CAN CREATE PARADISE ON EARTH. MANY PEOPLE DO.
Decide to be happy. Find the joy in your life.
There’s a lot of people in worse scenarios than you that found happiness.
There’s lots of examples of people with better scenarios than you that make themselves miserable every day.
Law #12 – IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE.
Each moment is a new moment of choices.
Each moment is a new moment to start from scratch.
Imagine each moment is a fresh start.
Baggage wears you down.
Don’t bring any baggage with you.
Instead, carry forward lessons learned.