My favorite author Gretchen Rubin has Gretchen Rules. She inspired me to create my own rules. They are retrospectively truisms that I use over and over, every day. These are my life hacks and tips that help me stay sane. I am listing them in no particular order. Some help in the little things. Some help in the big life changing things. They are in no particular order. Some have comments and explanations. Others stand on their own feet, loud and clear. If you know these rules, then you know me. If you know me, then you know these rules too.
Joe Rule: Choose happiness.
The name of my blog is not a mistake. It’s the most important thing. You have to choose to be happy. You have to work at it. You have to turn down unhappiness. Reject the bitterness. Let go of the negative. Don’t talk about the negative, that only gives it life. Happiness is being physically present, spiritually fulfilled, mentally peaceful, and loved all around. Productivity, focus, energy are lucky by-products. This rule is a little out there. I admit it.
Joe Rule: Enjoy today, right now, right here.
Be present. Don’t spend your time now worry about 10 minutes from now, or next year, or 20 years. Have fun now with the people who are right in front of you. Be content with where you are and with whom you are. Focus on the people right in front of you. That’s only courteous. When you don’t like where you are, who you are, or with whom you are, you can change them. Move around. Be different. Meet new people. You are like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Spend time with people better than you, richer than you, smarter than you. Your friends lift you up. That’s what I want. Not the opposite.
Joe rule: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
This is almost fits the Golden Rule status. One result is to listen and don’t speak. I hold my tongue many times, preventing a miscue. Awkward silence sometimes.
Joe rule: Rephrase everything until it’s positive.
I have no patience for whining or complaining. I will always keep rephrasing it until it’s positive, until it causes a positive effect. Skip the negative statement altogether. Jump ahead 2 sentences and over all “but but”s to get to the correct, positive statements. Shake off the negative stuff. This rule is most important in conversations. It’s the most effective with loved one. It brings out the best in people.
Joe Rule: Do what you can; only concern yourself with what you can do.
It means that you don’t worry about stuff you cannot affect. If you can’t do anything about it, then don’t worry about it. That’s a waste of energy and time. It will unfold with or without you. Let the rest of the stuff go. Feel the burden lift. It’s not really yours to bear.
Joe Rule: Live in the box; thrive in the box.
Rich Strauss uses the analogy of the Box in his training materials for Endurance Nation. The box is your life with the constraints of reality. You only have 24/day, 7 day/week. You have a family, a job. You need to eat and sleep. Your training has to fit within the time and physical constraints of the box that life gives you. This helps define what I can and cannot do. If I can’t fit it in the box, then I can’t do it. It focuses on the compromises that we make in order to live a happy, balanced life.
Joe Rule: 80/20
Applying the 80/20 rule, I focus on the big 80’s to accomplish the most I can. This is prioritizing the big stuff. Tackle what’s important. Spend my time on moving the big rocks in my life. Don’t sweat the little stuff. The 20’s don’t matter as much.
Joe Rule: Bring out the best in people
We are all round pegs with square holes. Nobody is perfect. Focus on what’s great in someone, in everyone, in your loved ones, especially.
Joe Rule: Hug
This is outside the comfort zone for most people. In social settings, go for it. My friend Edgar is a hugger. We met as co-workers and hugged everyday. Weird at first. Then, we were friends right away, and friends are ok with it. It’s a tremendous encouragement. Physical warmth and closeness. It cannot be matched by words or looks. Gretchen Rubin sited a study that said 6 seconds of hugging is the optimum time. That’s enough time to release all the endorphins, etc. 6 seconds is kinda longer than you think. It’s pretty meaningful time. Easy with a spouse and kids.
Joe Rule: Smile
Smiling makes you feel better. Smile to yourself. Smile to everyone. You’ll be friendlier and they think of you as friendlier.
I might add more later.