Tolstoy’s rules of life – what are yours?

Leo Tolstoy was something of rigid, draconian, self-flagellating type.

rule #7 find what makes you different from everyone else

He wrote these rules of life when he was 18:

  1. Get up early (five o’clock)
  2. Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock)
  3. Eat little and avoid sweets
  4. Try to do everything by yourself
  5. Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for evry minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater
  6. Keep away from women
  7. Kill desire by work
  8. Be good, but try to let no one know it
  9. Always live less expensively than you might
  10. Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer

(Thank you to Gretchen at The Happiness Project)

I like many of them. Not so much #6! I like the bottom three specifically. The bottom two even more so. I think living as simply as you can, regardless of income and wealth, is a rich way to live. Expensive stuff is annoying and complicated. And wanting “stuff”, reaching out for “things” externally is distracting and a recipe for an endless yearning that gnaws at you relentlessly. Upgrading never satisfies.

Some of my rules of life are:

  1. Rest daily
  2. Eat green things as often as you can
  3. Exercise in the morning, for just 20 minutes, every day
  4. Exercise to feel fresh
  5. Buy less stuff; before you head to a mall, ask yourself whether you can put off buying whatever it is for another week. And then another… And go to the beach instead.
  6. Listen to people fully. Practice it at every interaction.
  7. Find what makes you different and nurture this side of yourself…grow it, flesh it out.
  8. Sit with your heart space every day. Even just for five minutes
  9. Read other people’s life stories
  10. Listen to messages when they come in threes (as warnings or as suggestions to try something)

Got any good ones to add?

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