Do you have a personal manual of life principles to live by? What adages do you use to guide you in your everyday living?
Today, I’d like to share a list of 101 important life principles to live by in life. This list is a compilation of important life lessons I’ve learned at one point or another and it pertains to different areas of life from dealing with people, to our emotions, to life’s challenges, to achieving success, to handling failure. I’d say that this list is like a cheat sheet to many of the articles at Personal Excellence (the blog you’re reading now), because it embodies many of the principles and virtues I write about on the blog.
Even though this list has 101 points, I hope you don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to read and apply all the points right away. These principles are meant to be read and reflected on in your own time, as opposed to being a list of points that you quickly read and tick off in the shortest time. As you read each point, think about the truth behind this principle, how it applies in your life, and the actions you should take in light of this principle. For example with the first principle “Ability is more of a function of the time you spend honing your craft, rather than a result of what you were born with,” think about what are the skills that are important in your work and life and how you can spend more time to hone them. Then, commit to these steps with a deadline and act on them.
I now present to you the 101 life principles:
- Ability: is more of a function of the time you spend honing your craft, rather than a result of what you were born with. Read: 10,000 Hours To Develop Talent
- Abundance: We live in a world of abundance. There are unlimited wealth and unlimited opportunities for everyone. So don’t worry about whether you can succeed in something and focus on how to succeed in it.
- Action: is a necessary part of success.
- “And”, not “Or”: It’s not about choosing Option A or Option B. It’s about Option C – an option you create which has everything you want, and more.
- Anger: is the most volatile form of emotion you can ever burden yourself with. Every bit of anger you hold on to damages your soul. Whenever you feel angry, remember that the person you are hurting is yourself.
- Annoyances: Everything that annoys you mirrors something inside you. Rather than look outward for the solution, look inside to understand where that annoyance is coming from. Read: Day 22: Mirror an Annoyance, Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program
- Attachment: only causes anguish in the long run because nothing is permanent in this world. Don’t mourn over the loss of something. Be happy that it happened instead. Principle #10 of 10 Surefire Ways To Be Unhappy in Life
- Awareness: is the first step to the resolution of any problem.
- Beauty: Physical beauty is great but it doesn’t last. Inner beauty, on the other hand, stands the test of time. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t improve our physical beauty – we should focus on being beautiful, both on the inside and out.
- Beauty, #2: There is no one standard of beauty. Beauty comes in all shapes, all sizes, all forms, all colors. You are beautiful as you are. Stop trying to conform to the image of beauty constructed by the society and embrace the beauty that is you.
- Being yourself: It is better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else. (Judy Garland)
- Beliefs: Your beliefs affect your life more than you think they do. If you want to have the best life experience you can ever have, switch out your disempowering beliefs with empowering ones.
- Beliefs, #2: Half the things you say are usually more to do with your internal beliefs and issues than to do with other people.
- Blame: Whenever you point a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.
- Business: In business, being the cog in the system also means you are the clog in the system. Learn to have your business run without you, be it via automating or outsourcing. Even if you still want to work on your business after that, that’s fine – it’s important that you work on the business and not in the business. Read: Million Dollar Tip #4: Scale Up Your Work
- Change: Just because you have realized something doesn’t mean the world around you will change right away. It takes time for your thoughts to ripple out and effect the reality because the physical world is denser than the spiritual one. So don’t be hung up with what’s on the outside but stay true to what’s inside you. Be focused. (Refer to #33: Focus)
- Change that lasts: It’s better to create sustainable change than change that is quick but does not last. Stop going for the easy way out. Learn how to create lasting change instead.
- Changing people: You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself.
- Comparing: There is no need to compare because everyone is different. Your goal is not to be like others but to be yourself. Stop comparing with others and focus on being yourself instead. (See #11)
- Competition: The only competition you have is yourself.
- Conditional things: Something that is conditional can never stand the test of time. For example, if your partner wants to be with you only if you do X, Y and Z, whereby X, Y and Z are not things that you believe in. Or say, if a parent will only love his child if he aces his exams. These are relationships rooted in fear and not what you want to be a part of.
- Confidence: is a quality that comes from knowing oneself. It can’t be manufactured regardless of how many material objects you own or what statuses you have. Read: How To Be The Most Confident Person In The World
- Criticism: helps you to become better. Rather than reject it, celebrate it. Read: How To Give Constructive Criticism: 6 Helpful Suggestions
- Criticism, #2: Receiving criticism means what you are doing is worthwhile enough for people to critique on. One will not criticize unless he/she feels he/she has a stake in it. The more criticism you get, the better, because that means you are doing something of real value and worth.
- Cynics, Skeptics, and Pessimists: are not worth arguing with. They are negative time bombs waiting to go off. You will only end up (more) bitter, damaged, and upset at the end of the exchange. Read: How To Deal With Energy Vampires: 8 Simple Tips | Manifesto version
- Death: is part and parcel of life. With every death comes a new birth; with every birth comes an eventual death. Don’t mourn the dead. Celebrate the fact that they lived.
- Death, #2: There is nothing to fear about death for it happens to everyone. Rather than fear death, focus on living your best life instead. Read: Do You Dread Growing Older?
- Doing everything alone: You can’t accomplish everything by yourself. Even if you do, you can never accomplish as much as compared to if you had the help of others. Involve others in your goals. Delegate, outsource, and hire where applicable. Ask for help when you need to.
- Escaping: has never solved any problem for anyone. The moment you decide to face your problems is the moment you gain power over your life. (See #78)
- Failure: is a necessary part of success. Every great success is almost always preceded by a great failure. It’s more important that you learn from your failure(s) and harness the lesson(s) so you can achieve your next success. Read: How To Start When You Have Nothing
- Fear: is a disempowering emotion to live with. Your real self is not filled with fear. Discard it and you will be set free. Read: How To Overcome Fear (3-part series)
- Fear, #2: No matter how much fear you have, your fear can be conquered with love. (By love, I’m referring to universal love, not specifically romantic love.)
- Focus: is what happens when you stop letting yourself get distracted by the unimportant things.
- Force: You can’t force things to happen if they are not meant to be. There is a time and place for everything. You can only do what you can and let the universe take care of the rest.
- Forgiveness: isn’t about forgiving other people. It’s really about forgiving yourself. To quote Lewis Smedes, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Read: Day 25: Forgive Yourself, Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program
- Friendships: A friendship is a bond between two like-minded souls. If there are friends you no longer feel an affinity for, perhaps it’s time to let the friendships go and work on building new friendships. Read: Why I Parted Ways With My Best Friend of 10 Years and How To Have More Best Friends in Life: The Heartfelt Guide
- Frustration: makes you feel bad and doesn’t help you solve your problem. Release the frustration in you and work on the issues instead. Read: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way
- Fulfillment: You create a more fulfilling life by giving attention to the good things, not the bad things; by celebrating the good stuff, not whining about the bad stuff; by working on things that you love, not doing the things that you hate.
- Future: You can’t control the future, but you can affect the present moment. If you want to have a better future, create it. (Check out inspirational quotes on the Future.)
- Generosity: Being generous doesn’t deprive you. When you are generous to others, you subsequently receive more into your life. Read: Are You Emotionally Generous?
- Giving and Receiving: Rather than think about what you can receive (whether from people or from the universe), think about what you can give to others.
- Growth: Always challenge yourself to reach greater heights. There is always room to be better, regardless of who you are or what you have done. Be attached to the notion of growth, not an end state.
- Habits: Your habits make you who you are. Excellent habits give you an excellent life. Read: Cultivate Life Transforming Habits in 21 Days
- Happiness: is the result of doing what brings you joy. It is not a goal to be achieved. Rather than focus on being happy (for the sake of being happy), do what makes you happy instead. Read: How To Be Happy: 10 Timeless Principles for Lasting Happiness
- Haste: Sometimes, more haste leads to less speed. Being in a hurry can lead to more mistakes compared to if you were not.
- Humility: will earn you more respect, acknowledgment and recognition than arrogance ever will. There’s no need to be a show off. If you are really good at what you do, it will automatically show through your accomplishments.
- Ideals: are good but don’t let them stop you from living in the present. They are meant to inspire you and give you a direction to move toward so that you can maximize your present moment (not to take you away from living in it).
- Improving: If you think you can’t improve any further in something, then you are just not aware of your areas for improvement.
- Individuality: Everyone is different. Accept that each and every person is unique. Stop imposing expectations on people.
- Inspiration: comes from being in the state of flow. If you’re not feeling inspired, you’re not in a state of flow.
- Intuition: When in doubt, follow your intuition. It will guide you to where you need to be.
- Intuition and Logic: Contrary to popular belief, intuition and logic are not at odds with each other – they go hand-in-hand. Hone your analytical mind through constant thinking. Cultivate your intuition by listening to your gut. They will be the biggest tools you have at your disposal.
- Jealousy: is what happens when you resent someone’s success. But you don’t have to, because you are capable of achieving that same level of success, and more.
- Judgment: Judging people doesn’t make you a better person. It only makes you an ugly one.
- Laughter: Perhaps a little cliche, but laughter is one of the best medicines for the soul. When’s the last time you had a good laugh? If you haven’t been laughing/smiling/grinning for a while, maybe you have been too stifled in your life. Go do something that makes you loosen up and laugh out loud.
- Let go: Sometimes you have to let go of what you have now in order to move forward. Read: Day 28: Let Go, Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program
- Let go, #2: If there is something you can’t let go of, dig deeper. There is probably something in you waiting to be uncovered. Read: Is It Possible To Let Go of Unhappy Past Forever? and How To Move On From a Relationship (5-part series)
- Life: is an experience that you actively create, not something you wait around to “happen”.
- Limits: The only limit in life is yourself. No one’s stopping you from becoming better and achieving more except yourself. To reach greater heights, identify your limits and remove them accordingly.
- Love: isn’t something you deliberately seek out. It’s something that happens when you follow your life path, become the right person, and meet that right person along your life’s journey.
- Low consciousness people: If you do not want to be affected by people of low consciousness, simply raise your consciousness to a level where you are safe from them. Read: Map of Consciousness
- Low consciousness people, #2: Low consciousness people hold you back from reaching greater heights. These include energy vampires, critical people, dishonest characters, and people with temperament issues. Let them go from your life and send them love as you do that.
- Material objects: are just tools to help you enjoy your life. You do not carry them with you when you die. So, don’t invest yourself in them. Rather, invest yourself in the development of your consciousness. Read: Materialism Breeds Unhappiness
- Meaning of life: is up to you to create. You can either treat life like it has no meaning or see it as this amazing opportunity that the universe has blessed you with. Read: Discover Your Life Purpose in the Next 30 Minutes
- Mistakes: are there to help you learn more about yourself. Don’t be hung up about the mistakes you make. Don’t be afraid of making (more) mistakes either. Be hungry about the lessons they embody.
- Money: is a symbol of value exchange between people. The amount of money you earn is simply a representation of the value you are giving to others. To earn more money, simply create more value for others.
- Motivation: comes naturally when you do what you love.
- Nasty people: There is always something good in everyone – even in the nastiest of people. It’s up to you to recognize that.
- Nasty people, #2: The nastiest of people are also the unhappiest of people. Be kind to them because they are the ones who need your love the most.
- Obstacles: The obstacles that lie between you and your goals are not there to stop you from reaching your goals. They are there to stop the people who don’t want them enough. (Original quote by Randy Pausch. Watch his commencement speech at Carnegie Mellon: 10 Powerful and Inspiring Graduation Speeches You Don’t Want To Miss (#3 on the list))
- Opportunities: don’t come knocking on your door just by virtue of you doing nothing. You can either passively wait for opportunities to fall onto your lap or actively create them yourself.
- Passion: If you aren’t following your passion, you have nothing to lose. Seriously. If you have to work for at least 2/3s of your life, you might as well base it off your passion. Stop letting yourself be hung up by fear and start pursuing your dreams. Read: How To Overcome Fear Of Loss And Pursue Your Dreams and Passion or Money?
- Past: You can’t change the past; it has happened and it is what it is. Fixating on it isn’t going to get you anywhere. You can only change the present to create a better future.
- People you dislike: Your life is limited, so spend it around people you like.
- Pleasing other people: When you live a life trying to please others, you end up not living a life at all. You are just living others’ lives under the facade of your life.
- Positivity: If you want to have more positivity in your life, start by being more positive yourself. Spot the silver lining behind every dark cloud. Recognize the strengths of the people you are with. See the good side of everything you have.
- Possibilities: We live in a world of possibilities. Anything you have ever dreamed of, imagined, or wished for, is possible, as long as you set your heart and soul to it.
- Power: You have all the power in you to do everything you ever want, and more. So start doing what you want and let the power in you emerge.
- Procrastination: is a sign of a bigger issue. Stop trying to fix your procrastination as a problem and start thinking about why you are procrastinating in the first place. Read: How To Overcome Procrastination (5-part series)
- Progress: Celebrate how far you’ve come, and not how much you have yet to achieve. The former will empower you to greatness, while the latter is rooted in fear and only serves to hold you back from greatness.
- Priorities: Know what matters to you and work on them. These are the things that will bring you the greatest happiness in life. Read: Put First Things First
- Lead by example: If you want to initiate change, lead by example. Words can only do so much. A living example shows everything.
- Reality: Just like how the kind of fruit a tree bears is a result of the seed it is sown from, your external reality is merely a reflection of your internal beliefs. Change your beliefs and your reality will follow suit. (See #12)
- Regret: is what happens when you are stuck with the impression that you did (or didn’t do) something you wish you didn’t (or did). But you can’t change the past; no one can. Milk that is spilt can’t be unspilt. Stop living in the past and start living in the present.(More attitude & mindset quotes at Personal Excellence Quotes)
- Relationships: A relationship is a bond between two dynamic individuals. It should be actively created between the parties involved, and not something you base off of norms and other relationships. Don’t impose expectations on your relationships; nurture them and let them come into their own. Read: How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Parents (series)
- Resistance: The more you resist something, the more it will persist.
- Respect: Everyone, no matter who, deserves respect. If you want others to respect you, it’s important you respect them first.
- Responsibility: Nobody is responsible for your life. You are. If you don’t take responsibility for your life, no one will. The day you stop pushing blame onto others is the day your life is going to turn around. Read: You are the CEO of Your Life
- Results: The results you get in life are a function of the actions you take. The more actions you take, the more results you will see.
- Root cause: Behind every occurrence is a root cause. Dig for the root cause and address that. Read: Create Real Change In Life: Address Root Cause vs. Effects
- Seeking love: If you are desperately seeking love, perhaps there’s something inside you that’s blocking you from seeing it. Because love is everywhere, around you, and in you. There’s no need to seek love so much as you just need to be aware of its presence . You are the product of love. You are the biggest source of love. You live in a world of love. Read: 8 Tips on Attracting Authentic Love Into Your Life
- Settling: Settling is for losers. Don’t ever, ever, settle for something less than your ideal. Your ideal is yours to have. Fight for it.
- Spite: When you try to spite other people, you are really just hurting yourself. The people you are trying to spite may not care. In fact, they may not even know how hung up you are over them. All you are doing is just acting out a self-created story and script in your mind.
- Success: Success is the result of being great at what you do. Being great at what you do is the result of hard work. Hard work is the result of determination, persistence, and relentless focus.
- Success, #2: There is no such thing as an overnight success. Every success you see, even if it seemingly quick, is the result of long periods of hard work that took place long before the point of success.
- Time: is a construct created by man so we can have structure in our lives. You become a slave to time when you always think in terms of the time you have and what you should do rather than of results and outputs. Rather than try to manage time, work on self-management and activity management. Read: Become the Master of Your Time
- Truth: It is always better to tell the truth because you stay clean that way. When you tell a lie, you live a lie forever. Not only that, you almost always have to cover it up with new lies. It is a cycle that never ends.
- Unhappiness: 100% of the unhappiness you experience in your life is a product of your thoughts. If you want to be happy, then make a conscious choice to be happy. (See #44) Read: How To Be Unhappy: 10 Surefire Ways To Be Unhappy in Life
- Vengeance: is an act of force/fear that doesn’t solve the problem. Look at the history of mankind and the wars that were waged. Go with the path of love, not fear/vengeance/force.
- What’s meant to be: If something is meant to be, it will happen (provided you do your part in making it happen). The more tightly you try to grab on to something, the more it will slip away. It’s just like trying to grab sand – it slips through the cracks of your fingers regardless how tightly you grab it.
- Yourself: Don’t do things for others; do them for yourself.
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There is nothing good to be said about apologizing to a person who truly does not want to hear another word from you.
A woman named Betty slept with the husband of her friend, Celina. Celina was clear with Betty that she wanted no further contact with her. Celina put Betty out of her mind, as best as she could, as she and her husband worked to heal their marriage after the affair was out in the open.
Several years later, when Betty was working the twelve steps in her AA program, her sponsor encouraged her to examine her actions to see if she had harmed anyone in her past, and advised her to pick up her phone and make direct amends.
Betty got Celina’s cell phone number from a mutual acquaintance and left a voice message saying that sleeping with her husband was the worst mistake she had ever made, and that she wanted to meet for coffee so she could “make amends” and “tell her part of the story.”
Celina felt re-traumatized hearing Betty’s voice on the phone, and Betty’s request stirred up all the tumultuous feelings that she had worked so hard to put aside. Betty called a second time with the same message adding, “I think that if you know my part of the story, you might be able to forgive me.”
When Celina wisely chose not to respond, Betty then sent her a letter expressing her remorse and asking for forgiveness. Celina threw it in the garbage. Betty’s insistence on reentering Celina’s life felt to Celina like another violation.
Betty needs to forgive herself, but her process of self-forgiveness should not involve contacting Celina. The purpose of an apology is to calm and soothe the hurt party, not to agitate or pursue her because you have the impulse to connect, explain yourself, and lower your guilt quotient.
If the other person has clearly said, “Leave me alone,” or, “I’ll get in touch with you when I’m ready,” the appropriate response is to leave them alone. This means no flowers, gifts, texts, calls, emails or “I’m sorrys” sent by pony express or carrier pigeon.
Apologizing to someone who wants to be left alone may make you feel better for fifteen minutes, but if it’s at the other person’s expense, it’s not really good for you either.
Sometimes the only good apology is getting out of the other person’s space.
Author: Harriet Lerner
Source: Psychology Today