10 Rules for Being Human

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I wrote this post about a month ago. I held off from publishing it because I thought each of these “rules” should be second nature by now. Apparently they aren’t. I know they aren’t because when I came across it today, I found that I have been breaking several of them. I can’t imagine I’m the only one…

1) You only get one body. Treat it well. You don’t realize how fragile your body really is until it’s too late. And too late may be just one bacon double cheeseburger away. Be healthy. That doesn’t mean you should overdo it and just eat rabbit food either. Just take better care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise a few times a week. Maybe even meditate. That would be a pretty good start.

2) Apologize the right way. If you need to apologize to someone, do it right. Saying “I’m sorry if that upset you” is just a backwards way of blaming the other person for being too sensitive. I’m talking about a real apology. A real apology goes something like this: “I’m sorry. I did not mean to (insert whatever crummy thing you did or said). What can I do to fix this?” I’m working on this one.

3) Write something. It doesn’t matter if it is a public blog, a private journal or something in between. Write. Even if you say that you aren’t a good writer. Just get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. It will change everything…spark new ideas, introduce you to new people, open new doors and give you somewhat of a legacy to look back on years from now.

4) Give back. Not everything in life can be just about you. Give back. Somehow. Find a way. You can donate money, volunteer, teach others or mentor someone. There are so many ways for you to give back to others and so many people out there that need you. Don’t wait until you are rich or retired. Start now. Do whatever you can.

5) Treat everyone as an equal. Throughout history certain groups were not given the same rights as the rest of us because of the color of their skin, their sex, their religious beliefs and a host of other reasons. We eventually smartened up. Most of us anyway. But it’s still happening. There are still people out there that don’t have the “luxuries” you have because of stuff like sexual preference. Stop it. Eventually, the older generations that are against it are going to be weeded out and replaced by the younger generations that don’t care. Don’t leave behind a legacy of hatred towards another human being. Especially ones you don’t know.

6) Have a plan. Let me rephrase that. Have a well thought out plan. Having no plan is still a plan. Just not a very good one. Figure out what you want to do with your life and develop the plan that will get you there. Don’t float through life without one. You’ll wake up in 10 years wondering what just happened. Squeeze all of the juice out of the orange. You only get one shot at this life. Do everything you can to make it a successful one.

7) Be a lifelong student. Never stop learning. Regardless of whether or not you are still in school. Knowledge is your personal equity. It increases your value to the world. The more valuable you are, the more you can make a difference not only for yourself and your family but for humanity as a whole.

8) Recycle. Eventually you are going to be gone. Leave this place a little better than how you found it. There are other people that are going to need it.  Some of them might be your children. Don’t leave them your mess to clean up.

9) Do the things that scare you. You know that funny feeling you get when you are about to do something that scares the heck out of you? Do those types of things more often. Standing on your chair and singing to a group of unsuspecting diners (or something equally as mortifying) should be a right of passage for every human being. The more you challenge yourself to do the things that scare you the less you will find that scares you.

10) Love yourself. Get your mind out of the gutter.  There are too many people on this planet that hate themselves. They have eating disorders because of it. They hurt themselves because of it. They hurt others because of it. They kill themselves because of it. Stop! This is who you are. If you don’t like something about yourself, change it. If you can’t change it, embrace it. Then move on.

11) Under promise and over deliver. Make it a habit to go above and beyond. Give more than people expect from you. Always. For example. if you say you are going to give 10 rules, give 11.

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  • Coryon Redd

    Thanks for helping with a positive spin on my integrated approach to life, work and happiness. I hope that I have over delivered on this comment.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Hey, just stopping by and leaving a comment is above and beyond what I expect, so yes…you have over delivered Coryon!

  • http://www.websitebegin.com Joe Boyle

    Really love that number 11 – something I was taught as a young(er) kid. I would always have these huge ideas and make the mistake of telling people that I was going to do it. When you realize some things might not work, though, you get this disgusting reputation for not getting your work done. It’s sad.

    I remember I had to do a project for a financial class this year, and I was given the task of creating a sales pitch for a product I had to make up. I promised to make a billboard. What I didn’t say is that I was going to take 50 LEDs and wire and program it to light up in specific orders and really put on a show. It was beautiful and unexpected. If I told the teacher I was making a billboard with animated LEDs, it wouldn’t have been as interesting.

    I think that’s why Steve Jobs was always so peculiar about telling a little bit about his new products, but would blow everybody away with the great big image. He’d hint (not promise) about a smaller product, but create fifty products in one to put out. It’s great.

    Great post, Marc!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Joe! I agree…you lose the WOW factor when you give away all of the details and then just do what you said you were going to do. Giving people a bit of a taste and then blowing them away is definitely the way to go. You are dead on with the Steve Jobs reference.

  • Penny Hinton

    Mark, another great post – thanks. Good to be reminded of all these things – how easily we forget! Nos 4 and 11 always worked for me – often the results haven’t been immediate, but when they do come, they’re hugely and deeply satisfying. Love the one about being scared too – health dose of fear stops us being pompous and makes you realise just how good it is to be alive!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Perhaps Rule #12 should be “Don’t Worry About the Results”. I found that whenever I am focusing on just the result I never quite get what I want. On the other hand when I focus on doing the right things to get the result and have a little faith, the result shows. This blog is living proof of that. The first few weeks I wrote every day even though I had 4 people reading it…and I was 3 of them and the 4th person was my wife.

  • Steve VanHove

    We could ditch the 10 Commandments if we all followed these 11 rules! Are you the Buddha or what?

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Are you making a crack at my belly? I’m working on it! Give me a break, I hurt my knee and haven’t been able to ride my bike for a few weeks. Sheesh!

  • jeff noel

    Hi Marc, a Twitter feed led here. Liking your style. Just wanted to say hey. Thoughtful list by the way. Nicely done.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Jeff! Always nice to meet new people!