It’s only January 2nd, but how many of your New Year resolutions are already broken? Well, cheer up! Here are more good rules for life from Charles J. Sykes, “50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School.”
Rule 26: A moral compass does not come as standard equipment. People do not always naturally know right from wrong, and your feelings are not a reliable guide to moral and ethical conduct. H. L. Mencken once described conscience as “the-mother-law whose visit never ends.”
Bonus Rule: “Garbage in, garbage out” applies to what you listen to and watch just as much as it does to what you eat.
Rule 27: Your sexual organs were not meant to engage in higher-order thinking or decision making. You knew this didn’t you? A corollary rule here: self-control+trust+dependability=freedom.
Rule 28: Somebody may be watching. When you post something on the World Wide Web, you have no idea who might be reading or seeing it, and you have no control over how it will be used.
Rule 29: Learn to deal with hypocrisy.
Rule 30: Zero tolerance equals zero common sense. Zero-tolerance policies are the polar opposite for developing a moral compass, because they don’t require any thought at all. They are especially popular among the slow, the lazy, and the bureaucratic. Try using your brain instead.
Rule 31: Naked people look different in real life. Don’t fall for the Hollywood image. Love yourself; be yourself.
Rule 32: Television is not real life.
Rule 33: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.
Rule 34: Winners have a philosophy of life. So do losers. The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers concentrate on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.
Rule 35: If your butt has its own zip code, it’s not because McDonald’s forced you to eat all those Big Macs. If you smoke, it’s not Joe Camel’s fault. The key to avoiding the loser philosophy of life is to resist the temptation to blame other people for your problems or your choices.
Rule 36: You are not immortal. You could very easily die of stupidity and/or risky behaviors.
Rule 37: Being connected to modern technology does not mean you aren’t clueless about what is going on around you.
Rule 38: Look people in the eye when you meet them. Continue looking people in the eye after you know them.
Rule 39: People in black-and-white movies were in color in real life. And no, the world did not begin when you were born. There is no excuse for being ignorant about your country’s history. Let alone the rest of the world.
Rule 40: Despite the billion-dollar campaign to turn your brain into tapioca pudding, try to learn to think clearly and logically. Ideas have consequences, so learn to take them seriously.
Rule 41: You are not the first and you are not the only one who has gone through what you are going through. Everybody thinks his or her problems are unique in the history of emotional trauma.
Rule 42: Change the oil. It’s not a cosmic issue, but there are quite a few details of life you will have to master: tip 15 percent for good service; learn to do laundry; learn to cook; save; floss; cut nose hair. That’s a start.
Rule 43: Don’t let the success of others depress you. Envy is an ugly emotion and an even worse lifestyle.
Rule 44: Your colleagues are not necessarily your friends, and your friends aren’t your family. Since you can’t choose your family, choose your friends carefully.
Rule 45: Grown-ups forget how scary it is to be your age. Just remember: this too will pass.
Rule 46: Check on the guinea pig in the basement. This is another way saying you should pay attention to the people and things around you.
Rule 47: You are not perfect, and you don’t have to be.
Rule 48: Tell yourself the story of your life. Have a point. The important thing here is to see your life as a narrative, a story that has a point to it, rather than a series of random, pointless incidents. Ask yourself: what do you want to be the meaning of your life?
Rule 49: Don’t forget to say thank you.
Rule 50: Enjoy this all you can. The late English actor Peter O’toole said: “If you do something, do it with meaning and joy.”