Five Reasons Why Having Some Rules Will Sincerely Improve Your Life
The meta-rule for life is to follow your rules
Not long ago, life tossed me around like a doll. Every event made me anxious. I wasn’t prepared for anything, so everything derailed my train.
Since then, I’ve encountered a codified set of rules for life by Jordan Peterson and a very similar approach by the stoics. Both made me realize I can simplify my life by creating and following directions. I did.
Rules allowed me to thrive. It costs you nothing to try and can give you a return of unimaginable magnitude. You can get your life back.
Our law system is based on rules. Rules allow for the simplification of complex problems. Instead of thinking about what to do, you can follow the rule.
But some rules are clearly wrong. Some of them make you feel bad.
When I was a child, my mum tried to buy bus tickets, but there weren’t any left. She decided to go 2 stops by bus to the next shop. Then a ticket controller caught us, and he wanted to call the police. He saw that my mother wanted to buy tickets at the next stop but didn’t care about that.
My mum told me to get off the bus.
I wanted to stay and wait for the police because that was how I understood the rule of following the law.
The situation was clear to me. I had to stay there and wait because I had done something forbidden.
I cried as I didn’t know what should I do. Leave with my mum and break the law or stay and face the consequences?
That rule wasn’t created by me. I learned it somehow, probably not from my mother. In the end, I did nothing wrong, at least nothing meaningful to waste other people’s time.
The lesson is that you should follow your own rules. Then you have complete control over your life.
Chaos & order balance
The word balance is my favorite word this year. It draws my attention to the fact the world is not black or white. If I think something is only beneficial, I probably make a mistake by not being aware of the problems.
Rules help you move in the right direction in order and chaos balance by introducing more order. Be careful though, you may need more chaos in your life.
When I stopped drinking, I needed more order. I was all over the place, not knowing what to do with my time. Then, creating rules and habits helped a lot.
With time I got so strict with my schedule that I didn’t have time to rest. I had to break some rules and create better ones that included relaxing and enjoying life on the way uphill. I needed more chaos.
Having a rule for something means it’s known to you. You don’t have to think about handling that.
It simplifies your life. You no longer have to actively decide what to do if the event happened before. You know what to do.
Think about the following rule:
When additional life costs arrive, I will think about getting resources instead of complaining about the injustice.
Once you handled the additional cost, you proved that you could do it. Next time, you can shorten the time wasted on whining.
You transformed chaos into order by improving your capabilities in handling the unknown. Rip off more of that unknown and cage it in your paradise by creating and following rules.
Mitigate decision fatique
Making decisions is costly. It requires thinking, a lot of thinking. We have limited resources, and deciding on every little thing depletes them. Having and following rules decreases the number of decisions you have to make each day.
Create your rules by creating habits and rituals, so you won’t have to think about writing a journal or exercising in the morning.
Each day is a gift, and you have only one chance to live it. Spend your time wisely, decide on what matters to you the most and let your brain handle all others. Build habits and rules and use the savings to level up your life.
Why would you waste energy deciding what time you should exercise every day?
Start first thing after getting up.
Why would you waste energy on deciding when to read?
Read every day after working out.
Follow the rule for a month and see how easy it gets. You just do it, like a machine. Limit the number of decisions you have to make to be ready for the big ones.
Leading by example
Having a working set of rules for life that works sets up an example for you. Leading by being the role model is effective.
Talking and giving advice is cheap. Showing your results is gold.
When you live according to your own rules, you prove them practical for you. They may work for others as well.
People will react to your improvement. They will follow your example if they see your actions improve your being.
My biggest accomplishment yet is to help people write their journals. I’ve published the article about how to start and why is it worth it. I know all that because I’m writing a journal. This is the reason why it resonated with people. While reading it, you can feel it. I went through the same process and got results.
When you start journaling and want to stick with it, you set up a rule:
I’m going to journal to think clearer.
Then you follow it. When you follow your rule, your life serves as an example, an inspiration for others. Inspiring others is a gratifying feeling. You did something meaningful and were able to convince others to try. You made the world a better place.
Want to get creative?
People say they want to be spontaneous about things. They want to write when they want or do something when they like. There are two reasons it’s problematic. First, the already mentioned decision fatigue. Second, it kills creativity.
We’re not creative when we have no boundaries.
Do you want to be the most creative self you have ever experienced?
Set up some rules. Follow rituals. Find constraints for your idea, and bam, you’re there.
When the task in front of you is too big, you’re terrified and anxious. That’s not a great attitude for creativity.
You need to focus on your work. You need to believe that it’s going to work somehow.
That’s why constraining your idea will help you squeeze all the juices from it.
Let’s think, how can you become a better person?
It sounds like an honorable task. Do you feel motivated and creative about how to solve the issue?
Maybe, you could become a writer, but how?
Maybe, you could get rich, but when?
This formulation is too vague and too big to think about implementable solutions. Sure, we can dream about finding a way to solve the problem, but without specifics, we’re left to dry.
What is the smallest thing you could do to become a better person?
We direct our focus to the smallest possible improvement. Ideas?
- Wake up 5 minutes earlier
- Read for 5 minutes before bed
- Limit the time spent on social media to 1h a day
- Call your loved one
You can come up with yours instantaneously.
Rules are boundaries in your life. Boundaries don’t mean you’re imprisoned. Boundaries mean you’re free to think and create inside of them. Constraint yourself a bit and find creativity you’d never have expected.
Get this and thrive
We all follow the rules. Some of us are aware of this fact, and some are not.
There are rules we are conscious about, like thanking for the gifts, and the ones we don’t know about, like how do we peel onions.
Bring order into the chaos of life by taking control of the rules you follow.
Make decision-making a breeze by ritualizing your day, so you don’t waste energy deciding on things you can automate.
Find inspiration to become an inspiration. Follow your rules and inspire others to follow theirs.
Get as creative as you can by imposing constraints on your ideas. Making them more specific will help you develop them by limiting anxiety.
I wish you luck.
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