How does one live well? It is a question that we as a species have pondered for millennia. Just from this single, simple question, philosophers and religions have been born to provide a sense of guidance on how to live a fulfilling life. However, even with all this “guidance”, we still feel lost. Our minds are so saturated with information from the internet, books, parents, religions, school, and our peers on how to live life that we no longer have a clear defining answer on what are the legitimate rules for life.
Although I am just a dude, I have four simple rules for life. These rules will change your life if you make the decision to implement them in your ideology and everyday life. These rules are supported by both true stories and famous fables. Let’s get started.
Do You Believe In God?
LAFC dominated the opening half against L.A. Galaxy, taking the 2-0 lead into the locker room. The second half began. Almost instantaneously, LAFC scored again by an own goal from the L.A. Galaxy defenders. The score was now 3-0. The game was looking to be a blowout.
A new player to the team was on the sidelines. Today was his debut game with the L.A. Galaxy. As he was sitting there waiting for his opportunity to enter the game after L.A. Galaxy finally scored their first goal making the score 3-1, he asked his teammates that were on the bench a question. He asked, “Do you believe in God?” A majority of his teammates raised their hands in agreement that they do believe in God. The player then responded with, “Good, I am very glad that you all believe in me.”
Moments later, the player entered the game. His presence was felt immediately by drawing attention from LAFC defenders. The player gave his teammate Chris Pontius enough free space to perform a header that made the score 3-2, two minutes after he came into the game. Next, the debut player fired a powerful shot from 40 yards out that met the back of the net. The score is now 3-3. With one minute remaining, the player leaped into the air to meet a crossed ball with a beautiful header that would again meet the back of the net sealing the victory for L.A. Galaxy in his debut game.
The player was Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Everyone in the stadium, including the players, believed the game was over when the score was 3-0. Not Zlatan. He knew he would shift the momentum of the game the moment his feet touched the pitch. He believed in himself when the entire stadium thought the game was over.
His magnificent act of performance and determination in his debut game against LAFC is parallel with the first rule of life of:
1. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF WHEN THE WORLD DOESN’T
The only person you need to look eye to eye is you. No one can improve your life until you take the handle for your life. You have to put yourself into a position to succeed. You have to see the finish line before one even exists. This world is a tough place. No one is ever going to call you and tell you how incredible your idea is. You can’t build a business with potential or win a championship on a promise.
Results are binary. You either accomplish something or you simply did not. That’s it. People only see the result. Every second and every step of the way from where you are right now until you cross the finish line depends on you and your thoughts, how you internalize failure, and how you react to setbacks.
When no one is around to pat you on the back or tell you how great and amazing you are, will you have the self-belief to move forward? When you look in the mirror, do you believe in what is staring back at you?
My friend, you have to have the courage to wake up every single day of your life and believe you are building towards something incredible. You are creating a masterpiece from the ground up. You see the unseen and you are willing to bring it to life and as the rest of the world turns around, you continue to move forward.
That is the foundation that you build greatness on. Once you believe in yourself when the rest of the world doesn’t, you are living by the first rule of life.
Parable Of The Three Servants
A man going on a long trip called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 1But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.
After a long time, their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!
The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 2I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest in it.’
Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more, will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.’
To those who use well what they are given, even more, will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
I am not a religious man, but I know a rule of life when I see one. The Parable of the Three Servants provides evidence to support the second rule of life of:
2. INVEST TIME IN YOURSELF
Whatever you are doing and how you spend your time tells you who you are. How much time do you spend working on you? In the last 90 days, how many books have you read? In the last 90 days, how many new skills have you learned to take another step towards your dream?
Use each day that you have in this world to learn and grow. You only have to compete against one person every day and that person is YOU. By investing in yourself, you are making the conscious decision that the value and potential that you possess, is important enough to you that you are going to give it the energy, space and time to grow and create results.
Once you take the time to invest in yourself day in and day out, you are living by the second rule of life.
You Deserve A Styrofoam Cup
There was a former undersecretary of defense who was invited to give a speech to a conference of about 1000 people. He was standing on the stage with his cup of coffee in a Styrofoam cup giving his prepared remarks with his power point behind him and he took a sip of his coffee and smiled. He said, “You know last year I spoke at this same conference. Last year, I was still the undersecretary. They flew me here business class and when I arrived at the airport, I had someone to drive me anywhere I pleased. Next, they drove me to this same venue and took me to the green room. To top it all off, they handed me a cup of coffee in a beautiful ceramic cup.”
He continued to say, “I am no longer the undersecretary. I flew coach and took a taxi to my hotel and checked myself in. The next morning, I took another taxi to this same venue that I am here today. I went through the front door and found my way backstage. When I asked if anyone knew where to get any coffee. A man pointed to a coffee machine in the corner and I poured my coffee into the Styrofoam cup. The same Styrofoam cup I am holding right now. The lesson is the ceramic cup was never meant for me. It was meant for the position I held. I deserve the Styrofoam cup.”
The lesson of the Styrofoam cup leads into the third rule of life of:
3. You Don’t Deserve Anything
I’m sorry to tell you that you do not deserve anything in life. You do not deserve success, wealth, or that big house on the hill in California. You don’t deserve the body you have always wanted. Ultimately, life doesn’t owe you anything.
Since you don’t deserve anything, there is only one option left for you. You have to go get it. Yes, if you want the body of your dreams, financial freedom, success, fame, influence, knowledge, and so on and so forth, you have to go get it. You have to make the conscious realization that you are entitled to nothing in life and that if you want something, you get your ass out of bed and go get it.
For every action, there is an equal reaction.
This is not just a law of force, but a law of life. The amount of effort and dedication you devote to something, the return will be equal to the amount of effort that you put in.
The moment you realize that the only way to succeed in life is to admit that life owes you nothing and if you want something you put all your effort into getting that something, you are living by the third rule of life.
The Struggle Of A Butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
The man watched until it suddenly stopped making any progress.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, although it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man didn’t think anything of it and sat there waiting for the wings to enlarge to support the butterfly. But that didn’t happen. The butterfly spent the rest of its life unable to fly, crawling around with tiny wings and a swollen body.
Despite the kind heart of the man, he didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle needed by the butterfly to get itself through the small opening; were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings. To prepare itself for flying once it was out of the cocoon.
The struggle of a butterfly represents the fourth and final rule of life of:
4. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF STRUGGLE IS STRENGTH
Imagine that you got what your heart desired every time. No hard work. No struggle or challenges. Now some of you may say that would be great. However, that would mean you are weak. You are weak because the moment that something hard comes across your path in life, you would not know how to handle it because you have never encountered anything that has tested you before.
Charles Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
You cannot develop strength without resistance. Paradoxically, pain is your best friend. Not in the moment of course, but for the evolution of your soul and for the long term benefit of you, it is your best and closest friend.
Once you embrace your struggles as a close friend, you are living by the fourth and final rule of life.
These are four simple rules for life. The moment that you implement these principles into your own life is the moment the quality of life and happiness will exponentially grow.
To recap, here are the four rules of life once more:
1. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF WHEN THE WORLD DOESN’T
2. INVEST IN YOURSELF
3. YOU DON’T DESERVE ANYTHING
4. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF STRUGGLE IS STRENGTH
But what do I know, I’m just a dude.