Notes to Self

Thoughts on psychology, spirituality and soft skill development for personal improvement


Facts of Life

"Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won't have time to make them all yourself." - Alfred Sheinwold

Katherine Nichole Deibel, a grad student at the University of Washington, states in her Deibel Rules of Life:

  1. You hold some responsibility for any event that occurs.
  2. No matter how hard you try, you will never see the invisible truck that will run you over in the street.
  3. You can fail yourself, but failing another is not permissible.
  4. If something you desire that others you love have is denied to you, do not hate that which you desire, but instead embrace your friends' having of it. Denying something to all is not the answer.
  5. Live. Then die. In that order. No exceptions.
  6. Talking to yourself is okay. Giving yourself the silent treatment because you're mad at yourself is not.
  7. Our imaginations house our future, our potential, and our ruin. Make sure your imaginary friends are not your enemies.
  8. You are not your parents.
  9. Saving some bread for the future will not work. You can only eat in the present.
  10. Just as cars should allow pedestrians to pass, so should the pedestrians occasionally allow cars to pass.
  11. Time is an illusion invented by the Swiss to sell watches.
  12. All views are important to hear because somewhere in the chorus of opinions is the single melody of truth.
  13. Buying a Brita water filter alone will not save the environment.
  14. Misunderstood words can still hurt once understanding is achieved.
  15. You are not the hero of some movie, novel, film or story. You're not the villain either. You are not even a supporting character for someone else. You just are.

Dr. Michael Juda, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, believes:

  1. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  2. Follow the three R's: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
  3. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  4. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back,you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  7. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
  8. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  9. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life. Do all you can to create a tranquil, harmonious home.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Charles J. Sykes, author and educationalist wrote the article Some rules kids won't learn in school for the San Diego Union-Tribune. (This article is sometimes wrongly attributed to Bill Gates.) The following is a pared down version:

  1. Life is not fair; get used to it
  2. The real world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
  3. You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with a car phone, until you earn both.
  4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.
  5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping; they called it opportunity.
  6. If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
  7. Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic and cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try cleaning your own room.
  8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
  9. Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summer off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
  10. Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
  11. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. We all could.
  12. Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.
  13. You are not immortal. If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.
  14. Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.

Katie Paine is an entrepreneur. The following, excerpts from her manifesto, are some of the things she believes to be true about life in general:

  1. Stay Fit: Staying Alive comes first – run, exercise, do something to keep yourself healthy.
  2. People are Important: Relationships are next. Without friends, you are nothing. A friend, or a connection extends your lifespan by a decade. Put your friends first. The pain of losing a friend is the worst you’ll ever experience. Spend time with the friends you have while you have them. They might be gone tomorrow or next week, you never know.
  3. Enjoy Life: No one ever lay on their death bed and wished they’d spent more time vacuuming, or at work, or asleep
  4. Be Yourself: Be who you are and see who is pleased, stop trying to make everyone happy. You can’t. Be true to your values, your beliefs, your vision, your soul. Nothing else matters.
  5. Everything happens for a reason.
  6. Care: After breathing, the most important thing in life is caring.
  7. Make a Difference: There are millions of people on the planet that just take up oxygen. Do you want to be one of them, or do you want to make a difference? You don’t have to make a difference on the whole while world. Make a difference in your community, in your family, in your neighborhood. It’s just as important.
  8. It’s okay to miss your friends, it preserves their memories.

Related » The Rules of Life
» Life As I Know It
» Secrets of Success
» Learning from TV