Awesome You Be


Judie Bjorling with flowers in hair 

Seven Dubious Rules to Live By

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

You are probably familiar with feel-good rules to live by; rules such as being comfortable in your own skin, not comparing yourself to others or learning from your mistakes. These are all good, decent rules, but they are rather obvious and, let us be honest, a little boring.

So, here are seven dubious rules to live by. They are a bit naughty but fun and following them will make your life a better one.

1. Always Be Prepared for a Quick Escape

I don't know where this rule came from, but it became my number one rule in life, one I share with my family. When I park my car somewhere, I have it pointing forwards. As I have explained to my sons, you never know when you may have to flee a place under a hale of gunfire and, when that happens, the last thing you want to have to do is back up your car, come to a stop and race forwards.

Yes, of course this is a family joke, but being prepared for a quick escape is a surprisingly useful rule and one I try to live by. Here are just a few examples.

2. Document Evidence

Whenever you make an agreement with someone or make a transaction, especially one that involves any complication (such as multiple payments, payment for a service delivered over time, multiple deliverables), always get the details in writing, document everything and file the documentation where you can easily find it. Do this even when the agreement is with a friend or member of your family.

In 99 times out of 100, you will never need to do anything with this documentation. Everything will run smoothly and all parties to the agreement or transaction will be happy. But every now and then there is a dispute. When there is, you will want to pull out the evidence to prove that you are correct and the other person is not.

It never ceases to amaze me how few people do this and then become bitter when there is a dispute. On a couple of occasions professionally, I have run into disputes with clients and have been able to demonstrate through documentation that I met or exceeded my side of the agreement. On one of those occasions, the other side failed to keep any documentation! And I have never lost a professional or legal dispute.

Incidentally, holding on to evidence can also be useful if you are wrong. If you believe the other party to the transaction has failed to live up to her part of the agreement, always check the documentation and the evidence before making an accusation. You may find that she is right and you are wrong. In such a case, not voicing incorrect accusations will save you embarrassment or worse.

3. Write Drunk, Edit Sober

The quote, "Write drunk, edit sober" has been widely attributed to the author Ernest Hemmingway. In fact, there is no evidence that he ever said such a thing. Nevertheless, there is wisdom in the quote.

Research has shown that people tend to become more creative with a couple of drinks inside them. However, too many drinks tends to lead from creative thinking to stupid thinking to incoherent thinking and even small amounts of alcohol can adversely affect the ability to reason, judge risk or make important decisions, as everyone who has ever done something stupid under the influence of alcohol knows.

Thus, if you need to be creative, have a glass of wine to widen the mind. but bear in mind that alcohol affects your ability to reason, so make decisions and act on your ideas sober.

4. Maintain One Bad Habit

Think about the most interesting people you know. Not the most admirable. Not the best examples of good behaviour. But, the most interesting. Each of them almost surely has a bad habit or two, but not too many. A bad habit in an otherwise good person creates contrast and makes her interesting.

When reading up on important people in history, it is often their bad habits that make them more interesting.

Great characters in novels are inevitably flawed and it is their flaws that make them and their stories more interesting.

So, if you want to be interesting, do not try to be perfect. Do not attempt to rid yourself of all bad habits. Keep one or, at most, two bad habits to enjoy and to ensure you remain interesting to others.

5. Have Awesome Sex as Often as Possible

Awesome sex is, well, awesome. It's good for the body, the soul and your relationship with your sex partner. Awesome sex leaves you and the other feeling Awesome long afterwards.

Sex is good exercise. Sex relieves stress. Sex is the physical expression of romantic love. Sex creates awesome children.

In short, quality sex is awesome provided all parties involved consent to the sex, are respected and are enabled to enjoy the act. This is just as much true for sex between a couple married for 30 years as it is for partners in a one night stand.

Sadly, many cultures and religions try to make us feel bad about sex or about desiring sex. In many cultures, sex outside of marriage is a crime, especially for the women. In some cultures, it is a capital crime. In many cultures homosexual sex is unacceptable and illegal.

In some parts of the USA and elsewhere fathers would rather shoot their daughters' boyfriends, if those boyfriends demonstrate sexual desire for their daughters, than to enable their daughters to learn about and enjoy awesome, but safe, sex.

Indeed, when you stop to think about it, it is absurd the degree to which cultures, religions and overbearing fathers attempt to prohibit sex. After all, without sex we would not be here today!

So, don't get hung up on sex. Don't prohibit it. Enjoy it with someone else who wants to enjoy it with you.

6. You Can Indeed Run Away from Your Problems

You have probably heard that you cannot run away from your problems; that you need to confront them all. That's utter nonsense! You can indeed run away from your problems and you often should! Of course there are a few conditions.

If the problem in question involves other people, your running away from it may solve it from your perspective, not theirs. For instance, if you owe a friend money you could run far away and never pay your friend back. That may seem a good thing to you, especially if you are an uncaring cad, but it will not solve the problem from your friend's perspective.

On the other hand, if you run away from an abusive relationship, that is a good solution for you and those who care about you.

If you run away from a burning car that you crashed, you could save your life.

If you run away from a boring life, you might find a new and better life.

Of course, the thing to bear in mind is running away from a problem does not always lead to a better situation. In America's great depression of the 1930s, many people fled failing farms for California and the hope of a better life. Few found it. Instead, they found many others impoverished farmers like themselves desperately looking for work.

So, you can run away from some problems and you often should. But you cannot run away from all of them.

7. Have at Least One Enemy

Cartoon: "Yes, with fame I have gained enemies. Why do you ask?"If you have not made at least one enemy in your life, you have not succeeded in life. According to a poll by The Guardian, the 10 most significant people in history are:

  1. Jesus
  2. Napoleon
  3. Muhammad
  4. William Shakespeare
  5. Abraham Lincoln
  6. George Washington
  7. Adolf Hitler
  8. Aristotle
  9. Alexander the Great
  10. Thomas Jefferson

And there is no question but that all of them made a lot of enemies in their lifetimes and still have enemies today. 

Indeed, to do anything truly bold, to do anything that will leave a mark on the world, to do anything of significance, you are going to upset a few people along the way. They may be jealous of your success. They may not believe in your method of philosophy. They may think they have a better way. They may just be losers who hate anyone who achieves more than they do.

You may have an idea that will help millions, but put dozens out of work. Some of those dozens may hate you.

You may discover a wonder medicine only for conspiracy theorists  to believe your wonder medicine leads to autism.

In short, if you do anything meaningful in life, you will make enemies. But, that's a good thing. Indeed, the only way to avoid having enemies is to live a meaningless life in which you take no risks and do nothing of significance.

But, I reckon it's better to be awesome and make a few enemies along the way. Don't you?

What About You?

What are the dubious rule you live by? Share them in the comments below or with me directly.


Comments below | Send feedback directly to Jeffrey

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