Here are the seven simple rules that have greatly improved my life (and made my children happier). Do you have simple rules that guide you?
Politics disgusts me today and I don’t want to write about it. Instead, inspired by a lunchtime conversation I had with a friend, I’d like to hear from you the simple rules (if any) that helped re-frame how you viewed your world or your conduct in a way that made your life better, happier, more productive, and of more value to those around you.
The reason I ask this is because, over the years, a few simple rules have appealed to me. They’ve helped me break out of bad habits and form good ones. They did so, not by micromanaging my conduct, but by providing me with principles that changed how I viewed myself and the world. That’s the re-framing I’m talking about. None of these rules or principles are complicated; none require micromanaging; and all apply to myriad situations, although I originally brought them to bear on specific issues that vexed me.
Here are mine:
“Few rules, but unbreakable.” I got this from R.F. Delderfield’s To Serve Them All My Days, a novel about life in a small English public school from the end of WWI to the beginning of WWII. It’s a wonderful rule, whether one is raising children or overseeing a project. Micromanaging is exhausting and demoralizes the people being managed. Making clear what’s important — and just how important it is (unbreakable) — gives people freedom to move forward while keeping intact the things that matter most to you, the rule maker.
“Catch them being good.” This was perhaps the best piece of child-rearing advice I ever received. I wrote a whole post about it, which I won’t repeat here. Suffice to say that, if you honestly praise good behavior, instead of focusing obsessively on bad behavior, not only will your children behave better, but you will feel better about them. And of course, it’s not only children who value honest praise. Dale Carnegie wrote a whole book about that. [Read more…]