7 Rules for Life. Do you think they are a good guide to live by for a happy life? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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7 Rules for Life. Do you think they are a good guide to live by for a happy life?

7 Rules for Life. Do you think they are a good guide to live by for a happy life? What rules or guides do you use if yours are different?

They seem to all make sense in theory but hard to implement in practice. Its easy to say make peace with the past or don't care what others think of you but much more difficult to actually do in real life!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 01:56 PM
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I agree with most of these but would add four:

1) Don't center your life around attaining wealth and material comforts. Obviously you need to work and save to ensure a degree of economic security for yourself but don't become a slave to money or things. They will take over your life and ultimately the things you own will end up owning you.

2) Help others however and whenever you can. If you're feeling bad about yourself or your situation, don't look for help or validation. Instead, find someone else who needs your help.

3) Don't get too comfortable. Some pain (both the physical and emotional variety) will help you discover who you are and allow you to grow as a person.

4) Become self-sufficient emotionally. Don't rely on others for purpose or meaning or emotional support. Find your own purpose and passions and then when you know yourself find someone who is compatible with you. Don't look for someone to fill a void in yourself.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2021, 11:09 AM
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I think these kinds of things are guides, not hard-and-fast rules though. But by all means, it's good to think about these things and how to be happy and a good person

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2021, 01:48 PM
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The only one I can agree with is the first one, the rest are just so very frequently wrong.

2. To navigate life, and just to be safe at all, you need to make it your business to understand what others think of you. Especially in literal business you won't last a day on the job if you don't make it your business. The important thing is not to assume they're correct or overestimate their importance.

3. Sometimes, but telling that to the person being abused is extremely poor taste. And very often in life, changing your environment and who you associate with is a far smarter and easier solution than pretending you can will yourself to be happy in the metaphorical burning building.

4. Comparison is a critical sanity check. Compare your life to others, and decide if there are specific realistic changes you can learn from them or you're content as is. Comparison does not need to steal joy. It can show you that your problems can be fixed, and how.

5. Time doesn't heal anything. What you do in that time does. And some things -- say the death of a spouse -- don't fully heal, and it's better to accept and embrace that they won't.

6. The overwhelming majority of people should be doing a hell of a lot more thinking than they are. It is alright to not know the answers, but using that as an excuse to stop thinking is dangerous.

7. Mind your own business and stop telling other people to smile. Often I can get more satisfaction out of pondering world problems than an empty smile.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2021, 02:13 PM
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I don't like the way 2 is worded because it often becomes your business. I think it'd be better as "What other people think of you is their problem." Never attempt to change yourself to suit everyone else because you'll never make everyone else happy. But it absolutely is your business, especially when they vocalize those thoughts.

I disagree with 5. I personally have issues letting anything go and can hold a grudge indefinitely. Strong feelings that are bottled up inside are never going to heal; to the contrary, they'll fester and grow stronger with time. "The flame of love always flickers and dies eventually, but hate smolders eternal."

Wow, I strongly disagree with 6; not sure how I missed it the first time. I'm actually offended by this one because I feel that most people don't think nearly enough! Yes, it's fine not to know all the answers; in fact it's literally impossible. But giving up thinking about something just because you don't understand it yet is the definition of stupidity. ALWAYS keep thinking, always challenge your preconceived notions, always keep learning and understanding.

I disagree with 7. I know our society has this stupid obsession with smiling, like most people want everyone to be happy-go-lucky all the time -- so that they don't feel obligated to ask us what's wrong or, dare I say it, actually attempt to help! But I don't think anyone should be forced or even encouraged into smiling, ever. Many of us have a RBF and that's perfectly okay. I've always had a really hard time actually forming a smile even when I am happy; on the flipside, many people force a smile even when they're miserable. Smiling is not a good indicator of actual feeling, so it's useless. I also happen to feel that smiling almost always makes people look uglier, and causes an unhealthy and unrealistic obsession with "white teeth."

"Sin" is an imaginary disease invented to sell you an imaginary cure.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2021, 02:32 PM
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These kind of rules are always too simplistic.

1. I don't think this is really in people's control, depends on neurotype etc.

2. I'm not sure what this is saying but obviously you need to know what people think of you especially if people want to eg: kill you.

3. Agree (but again depends on neurotype etc.)

4. Agree.

5. Disagree.

6. Again not in people's control, depends on neurotype etc.


"I've got no one to smile for, I waited a while for, a moment to say I don't owe you a god damn thing."~

(so with this one more like the opposite.)

Originally Posted by YouTube comment
Yet another man lost to irony poisoning, cynicism, hyper-self awareness and the inability to be sincere.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2021, 02:41 PM
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I suppose some of them might be helpful if you can achieve them. Not everyone can. It's easy to tell someone to stop thinking so much. It might not be possible for them. For example.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2021, 03:38 PM
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I don't like rules that are prescriptive. I like to think that if I focus on the right descriptive ideas about the world, meaningful forms of action tend to follow.

If I touch a hot stove, I will experience intense pain.

This works as a much better rule than the prescriptive equivalent of:

Don't touch a hot stove.


The descriptive claims in the OP list are not in the forefront, so they're harder to argue with:

1. Make peace with your past ---> Prescriptive
so it won't disturb your future ---> has a hidden descriptive claim.

"If you don't make peace with your past, it will disturb your future" ---> this is the appropriate formulation imo.

Once you do that, you can start asking more questions, mainly about definitions. What does it mean to "make peace with your past"? Does it mean thinking through it? or suppressing it?

I can make more specific descriptive claims:

"If you ruminate about your past too much, it will disturb your future"
"If you examine your past in a therapeutic setting, it will have a positive effect on your future".

The rest of the rules can also be reconstructed in a similar manner.

1. find the hidden descriptive claim
2. define the terms
3. replace vague terms with more specific ones
4. treat the new list of descriptive claims as hypotheses for how the world behaves. this can be done purely from the third-person perspective. No need to be invested in the rules or your adherence to them.
5. modify the descriptive claims as needed based on your observation of the world.

the truth may vary
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-09-2021, 02:19 PM
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Honestly, I think it depends on who these so-called rules are written for. Like, who the target audience is. For most "normal" people (lol what's that), yes, it would be important to pay attention to what people think of you (#2, I think). Knowing how you're perceived is an important part of navigating life and social situations. However, for people with SAD, like us, we often spend far too much time fretting about what people think of us, often to our own detriment, and often to the point where we read into things that aren't there. So for people like us, yes, maybe it's a good thing to let that preoccupation go every once in a while.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2021, 12:07 AM
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For some reason it opened up this time so I could read them, I couldn't do that before. I like them - but as with all these things it's very easy to say it - and much harder to do it, as I think you said already.

I'd add a few more (that I stole from a BBC show I heard a week or so ago)

Find something that gives your life meaning. (if you can) Maybe it's the people in your life (see below) or maybe it's something you're passionate about.

Think about everything you have to be grateful for - what you have and not what you don't.

Find a coupe of people that genuinely care about you - most other things are bull**** when it comes right down to it. Life is about connection with other people.

Don't think the world revolves around you. Most of the world couldn't care less about your problems - they're too busy worrying about their own.

Edit: I should add, obviously I can't actually do most of those things either. Like you said - easier said than done.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2021, 05:45 AM
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Without context they're just empty platitudes. But like all platitudes, they've got some truth in it, it just needs to be teased out.

I prefer Tim Minchin's 9 Lessons:

Leonard Cohen (Bird on a Wire): I have tried in my own way to be free
Mrs Hudson (BBC Sherlock): Sherlock! The mess you've made!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2021, 07:53 PM
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Overall, I'd say this is a pretty solid list!

Always happy to talk to folks!
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-23-2021, 03:54 PM
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Stop thinking so much is pretty vague. Thinking can be a good thing if it serves your happiness. If you can replace your thoughts or preoccupy your mind with problem solving thoughts, I'd say it will replace a negative mindset with a positive one.
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