Using a few simple principles when deciding what to do (or not do) in your life can make a big difference in how much you enjoy life. Or to put it another way, following a few simple guidelines can help you stay on course in the pursuit of happiness. In no particular order, here are some I've found helpful:
Be smart lazy, not stupid lazy.
If the option that looks easy now will cause you more work later, then it's not really as easy as it looks.
If a minute's work now will save you two minutes of work tomorrow, then do it now.
If you don't have time to do it right, how will you find time to do it over again?
Habits are useful, until they aren't.
Always think about what you are doing, because what was the best way
yesterday may not be the best way today.
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
Why? Because it almost certainly ignores the multiplicity of complications that keep life from being boring.
Personal anecdotes make good sob stories but bad law.
The amount of love you have to give is not limited by anything except the narrowness of your vision.
You can't love your neighbor as yourself if you don't love yourself.
Love is not desire, though love and desire go hand-in-hand
in a good marriage.
Otherwise you have no grounds for trusting anyone else.
One way to measure the success of a society is the degree to which its members can trust each other, and especially their leaders, to follow the rules that define the society. This holds true whether the society is as small as a bridge club or as large as a nation, and whether the rules are written or unwritten.
Distrust can only produce misery, whether you are the distrustor
or the distrustee.
Utilize your strengths and avoid putting excessive demands on your weaknesses; otherwise you set yourself up for failure and unhappiness.
Your interests may change, but your aptitudes won't.
A person who trains up to the limit of a weak aptitude may perform
better than an untrained person in whom that aptitude is strong;
but given equal training, the person with a strong aptitude
will always perform better.
Understanding both the usefulness and the limitations of science is essential to efficient and effective living.
A belief that is contrary to fact is a delusion, no matter how sincerely
it may be held.
... but only if you choose to follow the right one. A religion that is inconsistent with the realities of the world in which we live makes life worse, not better.
An atheist has no grounds for claiming to be anything more than
a talking animal, in spite of being at the top of the evolutionary tree.
This page was created on 2015/02/19 and revised for publication on 2020/05/21.
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