40 Rules to Live Your Life by

About Steven Aitchison

I am the creator of Change Your Thoughts (CYT) blog and love writing and speaking about personal development, it truly is my passion. There are over 500 articles on this site from myself and some great guest posters.
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We learn so many lessons as we get older and it’s only in quiet contemplation that we can really think about the rules we have learned along the way.  Every one of us have rules we live by, whether we realise it or not.

Here are a few rules I have learned so far.

  1. Question everything.
  2. A happy wife, is a happy life.
  3. Take responsibility for your life up to this point.
  4. Believe in your ability to change your circumstances.
  5. Trust your first instinct.
  6. Want the good things in life, but don’t need the good things.
  7. Don’t buy until you have the money in your account.
  8. Never regret what has happened in the past, you can’t change it.
  9. Always put your family first.
  10. Don’t gossip.
  11. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, give it to charity.
  12. Make your peace with death when you are still healthy.
  13. Believe in your own higher power, nobody else’s.
  14. Practice the art of listening.
  15. Help others without expecting anything in return.
  16. Help yourself first, that way you have more capacity to help others.
  17. Don’t get married under pressure.
  18. Work for someone as a means to work for yourself.
  19. Stay in touch with your family and friends.
  20. Get angry with life when you feel the need, life can soak it up just fine.
  21. Don’t compare your life to others, you are on a different path altogether.
  22. Never settle for second best.
  23. Prepare in advance for your own confidence.
  24. Don’t give your power away by letting others dictate how you feel.
  25. Stop trying to read everyone’s mind, it can’t be done.
  26. Hug as much as you can.
  27. Believe in the power of serendipity.
  28. Get some sunshine every day.
  29. Don’t spend half your life in bed, grab the life outside your head.
  30. Study nature, it’s a gift waiting to be discovered.
  31. Say ‘I Love You’ from the heart.
  32. Cut down on your TV time.
  33. Love your partner with everything you have, but don’t depend on them for anything.
  34. Know your values in life and start living by them.
  35. Learn to argue your point.
  36. Always admit to your mistakes in life and look to rectify them.
  37. Give everyone one chance.
  38. Don’t tell everyone all your problems all the time, you just become a pain.
  39. Never kill a spider.
  40. Don’t be confined by rules, break them every once in a while.

Some Amazing Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Please I want an explanation of the second to the last on the list ‘never kill a spider’.

  2. I found this post while looking for some avenues for a troubled teenager, who is most definately his father’s son, growing up in a new world. Anyway, I would add one rule to live by:

    Always be able to look yourself in the mirror. If you look in the mirror and can’t look yourself in the eye, you need to refer to rules #4,8,9,12,13,14,15,20 and in particular rules #3,21,22,24,34,36 and 37.

    The short and the long of this post, is that you need to be true to yourself first, so that you can be true to all those around you.

  3. i found most of them is near to my life but i feel i must learn something from 33and 40th article.

  4. Pete Tinsley says:

    While this might be a good guide for the author, it cannot be mapped to every lifestyle per-se. Several of the rules are dependent on factors which will differ from reader to reader.

  5. Hadyn Thomas says:

    That is an excellent list. It has given me much to think on. I was gob smacked when I read number 39 because I have had that rule since I was a wee boy – I still cannot kill a spider :-). I never expected to see that on the list.

    Just checking out the rest of your blog – my first visit. I like what I see.

    Have a great weekend,
    H-

  6. Natalie Dolan says:

    I am abit of a free spirit myself, but its great to have some personal guidelines/rules/ideas/beliefs to follow throughout your life.

    You have a lovely set there yourself, in particular I love the: “Happy Wife, makes a Happy Life.” Us wifeys love to feel loved and appreciated.

    Natalie.

  7. “Learn from the past, prepare for the future, live in the present.”
    — Thomas S. Monson

    “Be grateful, be smart, be clean, be true, be humble, be prayerful.”
    — Gordon B. Hinckley

    “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle. ”
    —Ben Franklin

    “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
    —Eleanor Roosevelt

    “They themselves are makers of themselves
    by virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.”
    — James Allen

  8. “Don’t marry under pressure”

    Oh god if so many friends and people I knew only listened to that. A lot of people jump into relationships because they feel that they won’t find anyone else. They fear being alone. In my opinion it’s one of the biggest causes of failed relationships.

    Don’t be afraid to meet a lot of people and find someone who is good for you. There’s so many people in this world you can always find someone you will truly be happy with.
    Niko recently posted..Don’t Be So Eager- Beaver

  9. I was with you up until spiders, sorry I scream and run like a girl and have someone else kill them :)

  10. Fair play, very good collection and neatly presented. I’m quite a fan of lists. :)

  11. heyy why not kill spiders??

  12. Hi Steven,

    I have come first time on your site. I find your content great because i too have similar values. I find this list is very inspiring.

    Vandana

  13. I am guilty of breaking rule number 39. I have a huge phobia of spiders! My partner will kindly take one out of the house with a piece of cardboard or something, but if he isn’t around then that thing is a goner!

  14. # 39 AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Never kill a spider? Hm one of these is not like the others…

  16. It is in art I have to learn to use.
    How can i practice this useful art more on a daily basis?
    I’m talking about number 35 on the list “learn to argue your point”

  17. Thanks for the article Steve. I particularly like number 35. Few people can truly do that correctly.
    Daniel Rose recently posted..Start at the start

  18. Hi Steven. I love this list of life lessons that you’ve compiled. There are so many that resonated with me. I think the one that stands out most for me is 16)Help yourself first, that way you have more capacity to help others.

    I spent a significant portion of my life pleasing others at my own expense–and I paid for it with my mental and physical health. So, I know that this lesson alone has more value than most people can imagine. I’ll never again underestimate the importance of taking care of myself.
    Nea | Self Improvement Saga recently posted..How to Escape the Chronic Stress Loop

    • Hi Nea, thanks for your comment. I think you’ve picked an important one. A lot of people think they are being selfish when they think of themselves first. It’s like being really ill and close to deaths door, there is no way you can look after someone else until you get yourself better first. It’s exactly the same with our mental health, we have to think about our own needs , which is not the same as being selfish, in order to become a giver in life.

  19. Akshay Cm says:

    My dear Sir,
    Ur site is so gr8 and extremely inspirational.
    I juzz luv ur site.
    I can’t live without seeing it 4 oneday.

    Sir,Plz recommend some self-help books as I’am a regular reader.
    Thank You Sir for this site , it is truly insipirational and motivational site,
    God bless U !
    :D

    • Hi Akshay, I don’t quite know what to say to that except thank you. With regards to the books, my taste is totally different from yours so it depends what you are looking for.

  20. Hi Steven, I was reading your great list, but I can’t get my mind off the spiders! I almost never kill anything including bugs. However, I do make two exceptions – mosquitoes that land on me and fire ants in my yard. They are both vicious attackers.

    I’m not morally opposed to killing insects or anything like that and I don’t mind that other people do. I just don’t see the need.

    I’m just curious where you stand on the subject and why you chose to include that item??
    Stephen – Rat Race Trap recently posted..Books to Consider

    • Hi Stephen, it’s strange that a lot of readers are commenting on the spider rule :) I included that on the list as a way of saying, we are all a part of this world, every living creature, why should we kill something, anything, that may frighten us or make our skin crawl. It’s just something I don’t do and have taught my sons not to do, although they find it very strange, if I see one of them killing a bug I always say ‘Oh! bad karma’ :)

  21. Hi Steven, your list is so inspiring and if one can follow most of the rules, she/he will lead a very happy and fulfilling life.
    “Want the good things in life, but don’t need the good things.” and ” Don’t buy until you have the money in your account.” are very true but difficult for me. There are so many good stuff that i want but i just can’t afford them. So i just keep suppressing my desire to shop… for some time :P
    Having said that, i’d add 1 point – pamper yourself once a while to make yourself feel better~

  22. I love No. 21 Steven. Don’t compare your life to others, you are on a different path altogether. We cause such pain to ourselves when we do this and yet it’s conditioned into us from early years on… We don’t have to be arrogant. But to be truly happy in our heart we have to adhere more and more faithfully to what our own integrity tells us is right for us to do…and be proud of our contribution be it large or small. Thanks a bundle Steve.
    Christopher Foster recently posted..Where’s your special place

  23. This is such a wonderful list because it’s not superficial in anyway. There is profound wisdom in these “rules.” These are some of my favorites:

    Trust your first instinct.
    Want the good things in life, but don’t need the good things.
    Study nature, it’s a gift waiting to be discovered.

    Thanks!
    Sandra Lee recently posted..Timeless blogging advice- 12 great links

  24. These are empowering rules, Steven. Most people set up a book of rules that has them easily annoyed and moody… “IF things don’t go my way THEN I am angry.”

    You give a kind of Anti-Rule Rule Book… I like it! The world voice will always try to impose a set of rules on us… let no one write your rules but YOU!

  25. Hi Steven,
    Very wise rules in my opinion. I agree with almost all of them. I’m curious about the #39.  I agree with almost all of them. I’ll like to share my top 5:
    1. Love yourself, and everyone alike (rephrasing Jesus)
    2. Believe…
    3. Know your purpose (I insist in this a lot, this one will make everything else fall in place).
    4. Look for understand what people is communicating you, never assume.
    5. Take action toward your purpose and goals.

    Regards,
    Melvin Ramos
    Melvin recently posted..How to Burn Calories and Shape Up… and Have Fun

  26. Dear Steven,

    Excellent – very thought provoking.

    I especially loved the spiders as I’ve been saving them for years – earth worms being my favorite to scoop off the sidewalk and put back in the grass. :-)

    One “rule” I have is to discover what I love and do it regularly. I realized I love being by the ocean more than almost anything. I now see the ocean from my home. It’s wonderful.

    I’ve been loving boogie boarding too. It’s great to take the time to do the things we love to nourish and replenish.

    A simple rule and one I’ve applied more and more as life has evolved is to treat other people as I want to be treated. Hmm…simple wisdom at its best.

    I love seeing all you’re up to – you’re an inspiration, Steven!

    Warm regards,
    Lauren

    • Hi Lauren, thank you for your kind words, I always appreciate your comments. I’ve often scooped a worm or two off the pavement and thrown them back into the grass as well.

      Discover what you love and do it regularly is a great one, I think I’ll need to expand on this list.

      Thanks Lauren, always nice to have you here.

  27. Steven,

    Very unique and inspiring list. I really like #11 as a rule to follow. That would make life much more simple as well as meaningful. I moved in the past year and realized how much stuff I had accumulated that I don’t need. I also think #14 is essential to having productive relationships and learning as much as we can. And #39 hits me personally as I used to have a little phobia of spiders, until I realized how irrational it was, and if I leave them alone, they’ll leave me alone. Haha :)

  28. Hi Steven,
    Great post! Thank you. Number 1 is the best reinforcer of belief for me – for years I have felt somewhat daft – like I should know already – for thinking & asking so many questions – not so now tho – its all about learning & evaluating – right? Number 5 is my guiding force. You should be proud of number 2 – says a lot about you.
    I would add ‘Never give up – no matter what’
    Kindest Regards as ever,
    Annette :)

  29. Hi Steven, I came to know your site from a friend’s recommendation and it’s “love at first sight!” I love your articles which I find them practical to apply in my life and most of them works!

    This article is very useful and I’ve wrote them down and pasted it in front of my desk.

    I’ve highlighted item # 8 which will remind me to forget the past and look forward to the future. No matter what happened yesterday, there’s always tomorrow waiting for us.

    Another item (# 21) which I’ve highlighted, tells us that our lives may be similar, but can never be the same. There is a Chinese saying which translated, literally means, “Don’t compare your talent with others, as everyone is bless with his/her own unique talent/ability and make good use of them.”

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.

    I’ll be looking forward to you future posts.

    Regards.
    Alex
    Alex Yong recently posted..Humility is a Virtue

  30. I so enjoyed this post! Numbers 21 and 33 are my absolute favorite. I have to admit though that I don’t quite understand number 23. How do you prepare for your own confidence?

    Thanks, Steven!
    Laura recently posted..8-26-2010 Work at Home Jobs for Moms

    • Hi Laura, thanks for your comment. You prepare for your confidence by putting the effort into knowing yourself, knowing your skills and knowing what you are talking about, this means doing some preparation work like studying, and meditation. Muhammad Ali was the most confident man in the world but it was because he put in so much effort into the preparation stage that he could feel so confident.

  31. Hi Steven! Great list. I love #8 -> Never regret what has happened in the past, you can’t change it.

    It has always served me well to focus my total attention in the present instead of the past. I see the past as lessons learned that I now carry with me and for that I’m grateful. I have no regrets for the lessons and teachers that have crossed my path regardless of how painful they might have been at the time.

    Loving blessings!
    Andrea DeBell – britetalk recently posted..How to Be Happy Despite Your Partner’s “Flaws”

  32. You could always kill your wife and keep the spiders happy :)

  33. I have to kill spiders to keep my wife happy. The list isn’t quite working for me! LOL

  34. Hi Steven,
    These are excellent. Because I resist rules I would say these are words to live by;) I’d add:
    Turn off all media and decide for yourself what’s going on in the world.
    Love is a verb.
    Tess The Bold Life recently posted..Feeling Jealous Shine Your Light On It…

  35. Hi Steven,

    Interesting List, I would add, be always grateful, appreciate the beauty that is all around, without and within. Appreciate your ability to chose what “things” mean to you. Here is a couple of great quotes that I love and subscribe to, “Man is that he may have joy” and “faith without works is dead” I think these two quotes are related, when you really think about it.

  36. Plenty more rules we could add to the list but you have the core down pat. I agree with your bit on the spiders although my daughter would change it to always kill spiders.
    Your last rule makes the most sense to me as we tend to be imprisoned by rules which can hinder our progress.
    Follow your heart and your conscience. They know the best rules for you.
    Andre recently posted..Comment on Serial Killer Strikes Time and Again by Stringfree

    • Hi Andre. There’s loads more rules we could add here, probably an infinite number. Loved you last line; ‘Follow your heart and your conscience. They know the best rules for you.’ very true.

  37. I never kill spiders. They eat flies. Anything that eats flies is a friend of mine. Great list – each item is a potential blog post!
    Carl recently posted..7 Tips for Healing Emotional Stress &amp Trauma – Michael D Lawrence

  38. Rules rule us in our life. Sometimes we become rigid. One of rigid rules is to be right all the time rather than being kind. However, rules are also breaking the fence of our comfort zone around us to make us free.

    Thanks for voyaging me around all the rules…they have revitalized me to be a more ruled person. God bless you:)

  39. Awesome list. Good job. I especially like “a happy wife is a happy life,” and “don’t buy until you have the money in your account.” Since most people fail in relationships by spending too little time and too much money those two items on your list are key!

  40. Hi Steven

    Is it still okay to hoover the spiders up and empty the hoover outside?

    I get the feeling you really enjoyed this writing this post. I particularly like no. 25. I used to do a great deal of unsuccessful mind reading. You never do it in your favor and anyway what someone is thinking is none of our business. If we were meant to know – we would all go around with large thought bubbles above our heads for everyone to read.
    Thank you for this post. I have really enjoyed it.

    • Hi Marion. I always used to say to my sons; ‘how would you like it if a giant foot came and crushed me or your mum’, same here, how would you like it if someone hoovered you up and made you live in a container of hair, dead skin, fluff and oose :)

      I loved writing this and it was one that I wrote in half an hour as i had written it in my head first, so it was great to write. you’re right about the mind reading, it’es never in our favour.

  41. Hi Steven,

    What a wonderful reminder of some of the core truths that we should be living by.

    I particularly agree with taking responsibility for your own life and do what’s necessary to change what’s not working. No one will do it for you. So often we think we have all the time in the world to be our best and do the things we really want to do in life, but those who’s lives have been cut short, know the truth. We only have today. I also like that you need to look after yourself first, before you can give to anyone else. It may seem selfish, but if you are not whole, then you can’t afford to give pieces of yourself away.

    Assumptions are the hardest for me. I assume too much and it always bites me in the end. Great reminder there!

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful ‘rules’.

    Karen
    Karen recently posted..Just For Today Challenge – 31 Days To A Better You eBook Launch

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  1. [...] is a great little set of rules over at Change Your Thoughts: “40 Rules to Live Your Life by”. I particularly like the reminder about reading [...]

  2. [...] Your Life (and you should become one, too).  A point he made in last week’s post about 40 Rules to Live Your Life By struck me as something that, as women, we need to really take to heart. Actually, his entire list [...]

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