post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Commandments for a Good Life


The Good Life

A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often and realize how fortunate you are right now.  It’s about the simple pleasures that make you happy, the compassionate deeds you perform, the personal goals you strive to achieve, the relationships you nurture and the legacy you leave behind.

So starting today, choose to take control.  Here are ten commandments to help you live a good life.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.
It’s the life in your years.
- Abraham Lincoln

I.  I am not perfect and I will not try to be.

Think of how many things don’t get done in this world simply because people are waiting for the perfect time, place and circumstance.

The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists.  It rewards people who get things done.  And the only way to get things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.  (Read Too Perfect.)

ll.  I cannot, and will not try, to please everyone.

No matter what you do or how you do it, there will always be people that disagree with what you’re doing.  That’s life.  So don’t try to please everyone.  Simply do what you know is right.

And remember, it doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, it matters how many people do.

III.  I will take part in something I believe in.

This could be anything.  Some people take an active role in their city council, some find refuge in religious faith, some join social clubs supporting causes they believe in and others find passion in their careers.  In each case the psychological outcome is the same.  They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in.  This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives.

IV.  I will prioritize my obligations and do important things first.

Set priorities for yourself and act accordingly.  It’s the only way to get things done.

It’s the only way to turn a dream into a reality.  (Read Getting Things Done.)

V.  I will choose my friends wisely.

Your friends are family you choose.  So make sure you choose friends who are worthy of your time and attention.

Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be.  Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it.

VI.  I will help others when I am able.

In life, you get what you put in.

When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.

VII.  I will focus on the positive.

Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it.

The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful.  Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on the next positive step forward.

VIII.  I can only be me.

Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.”  Live by this statement.

There is no such thing as living in someone else’s shoes.  The only shoes you can occupy are your own.  If you aren’t being yourself, you aren’t truly living – you’re merely existing.  And ask yourself this:  If you don’t like who you really are, why should I like you?

Trying to be somebody you’re not is not sexy.  Be you.  That’s when you’re beautiful.

IX.  I will be here now.

Life is happening right now.  Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, practice being and living in the present moment.

Remember, right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  Don’t miss it.  (Read Zen and the Art of Happiness.)

X.  Life never gets any better, only my perception of it does.

The world around you changes when you change.

If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.  The opposite is also true.  The choice is yours to make.

Photo by: Eduardo Amorim

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28 Comments

  • Another thought provoking post to start the week off.

    The points that hit home with me the most were: I will focus on the positive and I can only be me.

    There’s so much negative out there that if you let it get to you, you’ll simply never be happy. I have friends that are so pessimistic about oil prices and other things that they can’t control that they behave like miserable jerks. I figure that if I can’t solve something then I sweat it and stop thinking about it. Focusing on the positive makes each day a little brighter.

    Being yourself is an extremely important point to remember as you go through your teens and 20s. It’s so easy to get caught up and influenced by the wrong crowd. If you surround yourself in a toxic environment, it will take you much longer to get out of it and enjoy life.

  • Awesome post Marc.
    Agree with all of it, especially choose friends wisely and we can only be ourself.

    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. | Oscar Wilde

    =D

  • “I will choose my friends wisely.” This is one that I’m working on now, because as life is changing, I’m starting to see people for who they really are!

  • I’d change the first one and the seventh one.

    1. Everything is perfect, which means you are perfect, no matter what you do and how hard you try. You always have been and always will be perfect. You are the divine awareness, pure consciousness. How could you not be perfect? It’s only the mind that views things as being imperfect, and you are not your mind.

    7. Don’t focus on good or bad. Good and bad is just the mind separating things, there is only good because there is bad. The only way to overcome “negative” isn’t to think positive, that only makes the negative stronger. Think balance. Like yin and yang. Instead of calling something good or bad, just look at it and accept it how it is, without judgment. Then you realize it was never bad in the first place, it was just your perception of it that was creating the bad.

  • I love the number 6. That’s so true!

    thank you

  • Awesome, awesome commandments to live by! We would be oh, somuch happier if we could weave these into our lives.
    I love the first one about perfectionisom. I think that is SO huge!
    Bernice
    Getting more work done in less time

  • So glad I clicked on your tweetlink. Wonderful words and insight. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Great list - thanks for sharing - I, II, and VIII particularly resonated with me. It’s important for me to be me - that’s the message that I got - and to do that I need to let go of perfectionism and people-pleasing.

    Steve

  • Staying focused on positive energy truly is a key to happiness but it takes consistent effort. Every time negative voices come into your head, you have to actively squash them. And as you keep doing it, it becomes easier every time.

    Great article man :)

  • Wow, this is a mini self-help bible of commandments for a holy moly happier life. They have a theme of stepping up, aspiring up, and powering up our finest qualities and divine characteristics. Being our best by giving of our best is a mantra that leaps out and one I feel commanded to abide by. Wonderful, uplifting post guys!

  • you know i didn’t realize the importance of V until recently , i used to get close to anybody without wisley chosing freinds
    thats so true, thnk you:)

  • The most radical and outrageous thing we can do is live, VIII). I can only be me.

    The Almighty intentionally broke the mold when He created you because He wanted you to be exceptional, and different from everyone else –if he wanted you otherwise, he would have made you otherwise. When you disguise yourself as something other than what you truly are, you hurt yourself, you cheapen your life, you spite the God who made you, and cheat yourself along everyone else out of your unique contribution to the world.

    Nothing is more contrarian than being yourself.

    - Contrarian

  • Stumbled upon your website a few months ago and personally its been a great experience. Between your blogs and the books you suggest its been a thought provoking change in life and i thank you for it.

  • Number 4 is perfect for me lately. I have so much work on the plate to do in so little time, that if I don’t take Commandment 4 seriously I will not be very happy.

  • As always. Thanks for keeping us inspired, everyone.

    You’re kind words mean so much to us. ;-)

  • Thanks for the great post. It’s interesting that you wrote taking part in something you believe in. I recently just read that people who have a purpose in life have a much lesser risk of getting Alzheimer! (This is just an additional benefit…)

  • I would stretch #6 a bit. I am always mindful of the influence I have.. Even if one is not aware of my direct actions, I still behave in ways that positively affect them.

  • ‘right here is life. Don’t miss it’ is so very true…I choose to spend these few minutes of my life reading your post then leaving a comment on said post :) thank you for sharing

  • sheriff of fun
    June 2nd, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I loved your site and look forward to reading more of it. There are 2 comments that I would like to make…one is a principle that I and my community live by and that is the concept that I am perfect. That means you are perfect since you are an I as well. Perfection includes the potential for change .

    Also, as it relates to your concept of good and bad…good and bad are in existance only in relation to stated or implied goals. For instance, It is raining. If you want to play baseball, the rain is bad. If you want to water your plants, the rain is good.

  • Great post!

    The most inspiring point is for me #10. It is absolutely true that the quality of life changes by changing the perspective about life itself. However, I believe it is even stronger: life and consciousness on this planet are not only changing, it is growing. That’s why I believe life is actually changing as well: it is growing. And our perspective can grow in the same pace that our consciousness is growing.

  • Great post :) The Tenth commandment really hit home.

  • Absolutely loved this short inspiring read. :)

  • Thanks for sharing this beautiful blog. I’m a fan of your page :-) keep on posting great articles.

  • I liked # 10. It is perception that changes, not life… What a great thought!

  • Thank you for sharing! I should take every one of those commandments very seriously this year and think about them very well everyday, especially #1, 4 and 7.

    I love your site. I’m so grateful for my friend for posting the link on her Facebook Wall. :)

    Happy New Year to all.

    Rola

  • This article really helps a lot and makes me feel better. Every one of us wants to be happy in life. We should always remember that no matter what are problems are, we must be positive. As they say “every rose has its thorn.” Let us see the beauty of life.

    =)

  • Thanks so much for this post. So true and wise! I’m sharing it with all my friends & family now.

  • Absolutely loved this short inspiring read. :)
    Great work keep it up :)

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