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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Throughout my life, as I get older and (hopefully) wiser, I have this philosophy for a happy life. I figured now was as good a time as any to put it in writing and share it with whomever else might need it. I don't necessarily follow all of these to the letter, but in general, I try...

1) Sometimes a joke is just a joke. People will occasionally say stuff in an effort to be funny, that ends up offending you. If the intent is to offend, that's different. Otherwise, don't take yourself so damn seriously. If people joke with you one on one, it's usually because they assume you can take it. Why prove them wrong?

2) Don't touch other people's stuff. People can get really weird about their stuff. If someone hands you something and says "hey, look at this..." it's probably ok though. Otherwise, remember what your momma told you and look with your eyes, not your hands.

3) Don't complain about every little thing. If your life, job or relationship sucks then do something about it or suck it up and take it. Nobody wants to hear about it unless they are getting paid to do so, or you can tell the story in a funny way. The STFU philosophy can help here.

4) Politeness and courtesy go a long damn way. This shouldn't require an explanation, but it does. People are a lot more forgiving when you screw up, if you haven't made an ass of yourself up to that point. Remember: everyone screws up eventually. Your turn is coming.

5) Some things have no place in "polite conversation." There are plenty of people interested in debating your beliefs on religion, politics, gun control, etc... and ten times as many people that aren't. Figure out which you're talking to first.

6) You aren't special. Chances are, you are not the only person going through whatever unfairness gets tossed your way. Don't assume you are. You aren't being persecuted, harrassed or singled out. Sometimes the world just sucks. Finding someone to commiserate with is fine, complaining to everyone in sight is not. To quote Tyler Durden, "you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake."

7) Don't be annoying. Being deliberately obtuse is not clever. Constantly making the same joke doesn't make it funnier. Finding people's sore points and poking them doesn't make you "thought provoking", it makes you disliked. The corollary to this is: Don't be easily annoyed. That's the most annoying trait of all.

8) Nobody owes you anything, except maybe money. Regardless of what you may think, nobody owes you an explanation, a second chance, a better gig or a favor. Do what you do because you want to, or because you have to... or because you're getting paid to. 

9) Set expectations up front. This applies to nearly every aspect of life: friends, family and work. Make sure people know what you expect of them, and know what they expect of you. Mastering this one will prevent most problems before they happen.

and last of all...

10) Assigning blame doesn't fix a damn thing. When everything around you is on fire, it doesn't matter who started it. Just handle it. Chances are, the person responsible knows they screwed up without you having to point it out to them. (Closure is bullshit anyway. That's just trying to make yourself feel better by making someone else feel guilty.)

So yeah, that's pretty much it. There's probably more I could add, but these cover most instances. I might not follow every one of these every day, but in general I try to. Your mileage may vary.

Posted on Saturday, April 18, 2009 12:59 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: rules for a happy life

# re: rules for a happy life
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Good list Chris. I agree with them all and I need to work on #9. Shame that its takes us so long to figure this stuff out.
Left by Sean Brennan on Apr 20, 2009 3:18 PM

# re: rules for a happy life
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Cant agree on it more.. There are lot of things I can relate to.. never had read it in such succint points.
Left by Vijay on Apr 21, 2009 12:45 PM

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Left by anthony masiello on Jun 24, 2009 12:41 AM

# re: rules for a happy life
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I love it. Esp. #7.
Left by laura on Jul 12, 2011 5:39 PM

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