1) Chase your passions while you can.
Life is not short. It's the longest thing we will ever do. With that said, it is finite in regards to allowing us to pursue the things that will ultimately be the most fulfilling to us. These things are very individualistic, and may not always be understood by those closest to us, or even casual strangers. And that's good. It will be what sets you apart, gives you character, and makes you uniquely who you are.
If you never ever muster up the courage to take a chance on these things, then it's a lost opportunity to be courageous. After all, without fear don't have the opportunity to show courage. And more often than not, pursuing a passion will require a healthy dose of it.
Be willing to lose and say "I tried" rather than being left with "if only..." when the opportunity is no longer available.
2) Trust is a choice, respect is to be earned.
Regardless of what people tell you, trust is not really earned. Eventually it is something you have to make a choice about. You could do everything someone asks of you, and they still not make a choice to trust you. And you could do the same. Truly, it cannot be earned.
Respect on the other hand, generally comes from doing or saying things that garner admiration from both your peers and adversaries. Respect isn't synonymous with fondness. You can respect someone you don't like, and someone that doesn't like you can still respect you. Do your best to give both your enemies and your friends a reason to respect you.
Yes there are overlaps in regards to trust and respect both being choices and something earned, but generally at the end of the day, people choose to trust someone and give their respect based on what they have done, and said.
3) Strength, honor, integrity, compassion, loyalty, and forgiveness should be the foundation of your character and relationships
All of these virtues have a myriad of meanings and context. However it's hard to argue that at their core, they are all positive virtues. Many of the times throughout life, adhering to these virtues will be incredibly difficult because often enough, doing what is hard is what will make life easier. And doing what is easier will make life harder.
Don't take short cuts when it comes to meeting the highest standard of these virtues. Every time you do you will find it easier and easier to do so. Then eventually you will find that life has gotten harder and harder.
And that's when you wake up asking yourself "how did I get here?"
4) Be willing to hurt people you care about with honesty. If they care about you, they will forgive you for not bullshitting them. If you care about them, you won't enable their shit behavior by lying to them.
There's nothing worse than enablers.
These are the friends that never make you reexamine how you behave, how you treat people, and what your "weak points" are.
In lifting it's the guy that lets you squat high all the while telling you what a "beast" you are.
In life, it's the same friend that knows you're fucking someone over, yet agrees with all of your fucked up rationalizations as to why you're doing it.
Don't surround yourself with enablers, and don't be one. If someone values your friendship they will also value your constructive criticism. If you lose a "friendship" because of it, then it wasn't much of a friendship to begin with.
5) Tell your family and friends you love them daily, or at least at every chance you get.
I learned this lesson from my best friend who got killed when I was 13.
I have no idea why most "modern men" feel like telling their friends "I love you" is nancy boy bullshit. I always tell my closest friends I love them. I am forever thankful that one of the best friends I ever had, told me he loved me before he died. And that I did the same for him.
To quote Lao Tzu...
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
6) Never let the sun set on your wrath.
This is actually from Ephesians. Regardless of your beliefs about the Bible or what faith, or lack of faith, you have, there are lots of great lessons in the Bible that can shape your life for the better. Don't be dismissive of an entire book because there are parts you don't agree with (even the skeptics annotated bible agrees the Bible has some "good stuff" in it).
I always find that when I am troubled or upset at someone, or about something in my life, I can't sleep very well. If you are at odds with someone you feel as wronged you, forgive them in your own mind, or in your own way. And then seek resolution for your problems the following day. Letting your anger rob you of a good nights sleep means you are intentionally depriving yourself.
Forgiveness can be hard. Which is why only the strongest of individuals can do so on a regular basis. It's the weak spirited that struggle the most with finding forgiveness.
7) Honor your word if you value your character.
It can be hard to hold to promises that we made when enthusiasm was at an all time high. As circumstances change for the worse, people often go back on their word because staying true to those words can mean they have to sacrifice something they don't want to.
It's easy to keep your promises when those promises mean something positive is added to our life. It becomes infinitely more difficult when adhering to them means we will suffer. Most of us don't want to intentionally suffer or have loss in our life, thus we often avoid keeping our word when circumstances require it.
Your word has a degree of value to it. And that value can increase or decrease with people based on your follow through of those words. Remember that taking one on the chin for someone generally garners their respect (once again, earned) and more often than not, they will got to bat for you in the future when it is required of them.
The funny thing about this is, your strength of character often gives them the same thing because of your own sacrifices for them. Most people value the courage it takes to see something through for them, even when it doesn't benefit you.
People often talk of "be the change you want to see in the world." This is because when you live in accordance with those changes you want to see, you will often see them returned to you as well.
8) Give back more than you take. Or life will eventually take away more from you than you have to give.
Unfortunately I see a lot of people in the industry get ahead by ripping other people off, and fucking them over.
We often see this throughout all aspects of life. But eventually, it usually comes back to them if they aren't willing to give back in some way. Life and business will eventually crumble if it is not cemented in the areas described in rule #3.
Speaking of which, I want to thank an old friend for inspiring me to write these. Your words are poignant.
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