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  • Adrien Book

125 Very Simple Rules for a Happy Life

September is here again. It is a time of new beginnings for millions of students throughout the world; children and young adults often in need of guidance. It should also be a time of introspection for those of us in the workforce. Do we have the right goals? Have we made the right choices? Are we as happy as we’d like to be?

To help the process of introspection, I have written, in no particular order, 125 pieces of advice on how to best get through the year as a happy, well-balanced human being. God knows we need those.

The circle of happiness
  1. Be on time

  2. Keep your word

  3. Buy the orange properties in Monopoly

  4. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room

  5. All dogs are the best dog in the world. Pet that dog. Go on

  6. Don’t cling to a mistake because you spent a lot of time making it

  7. If life shuts a door, open it again. It’s a door. That’s how they work

  8. Don’t send nudes using non-encrypted platforms

  9. Don’t underestimate the role of luck in life. Not all success is due to hard work, and not all poverty is due to laziness

  10. When someone tells you you’ve hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t

  11. Thank the cook before Instagramming the food

  12. When it comes to investing, boring is sexy

  13. A gun is always loaded

  14. In a crisis, all correlations go to 1

  15. Love always takes work, but it should never take suffering

  16. You don’t buy beer, you rent it

  17. Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time — they’re different processes

  18. Always sit at the bar — being on a first name basis with a good bartender is one of life’s rare pleasures

  19. Money won’t make you happy — but it’s more fun to cry in a BMW than on bike

  20. Compounding is the strongest force in the Universe — use it to your advantage in love, friendship and finance

  21. Return to the mean is the second strongest force in the universe

  22. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Abraham Lincoln said that

  23. Punch up all you want — but never down

  24. Never gloat — pride is not the antidote to shame, but its source

  25. Invest in great luggage

  26. Confidence is quiet, insecurities are loud

  27. Don’t worry too much about controlling your emotions; control your actions instead

  28. If you offer to help, don’t quit until the job is done

  29. Be a good listener; don’t just take your turn to talk

  30. A good therapist is the best thing in the world. A bad therapist is worse than no therapist at all

  31. Principles only mean something if you stick by them when they’re inconvenient

  32. When you do something right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all

  33. Don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm

  34. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

  35. Don’t fill up on bread, no matter how good

  36. Giving money is good; giving time is often better

  37. You are both more and less special than you think you are

  38. Nobody is ever against you. Nobody will ever care enough about you to be against you. It’s an incredibly liberating realisation

  39. Sympathy is a crutch; never fake a limp

  40. It’s okay to go to the movies by yourself

  41. Admitting you’re wrong isn’t a failure — it’s an opportunity

  42. If you’re frustrated with someone, change the medium: call if you usually text, email if you usually talk…

  43. Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace

  44. Remember that owning a house and having a home are often two very different things

  45. You only get one chance to notice a new haircut

  46. Remember that your personal experiences make up 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but 80% of how you think the world works

  47. Never call someone before or after 9am and 9pm (exceptions may apply)

  48. Be decisive. Right or wrong, make that decision. The roads of life are paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t commit to a lane

  49. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool — the stairs are not one of them

  50. Thank the bus driver

  51. Know at least one good joke

  52. Don’t linger in the doorway. In or out

  53. Giving up is often the best choice there is. Too many people drag along projects with poor odds of success for far too long

  54. Your goals are meant to honour you, not fix you

  55. A handshake beats an autograph

  56. Forgive yourself for your mistakes

  57. Be mindful of what comes between you and the Earth. Always buy good shoes, tires and sheets

  58. If you don’t do anything to stop a mistake from happening again, you can’t keep calling it a mistake

  59. Physical and mental health are both equally important

  60. Don’t eat lunch alone or at your desk if you can avoid it

  61. Don’t judge too quickly: we have a tendency to want the other person to be a finished product while we give ourselves the grace to evolve.

  62. Know the size of your partner’s clothes

  63. You are what you do, not what you say

  64. In order to get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done

  65. Some occasions call for vodka. Others for tea. Know the difference

  66. Don’t boo at sporting events

  67. Don’t be the talker during movies

  68. Make goals for the next 18 months AND for the next 10 years

  69. Don’t follow your dream: people who say that are already rich

  70. You’re never too old to need your Mom

  71. Costs and risks are both financial and emotional; the weight of both depends solely on you

  72. Look people in the eye when toasting

  73. Know how to cook at least one good meal and how to prepare at least one good cocktail

  74. If you’ve made your point, stop talking

  75. Get up. Dress up. Show up. That’s always a good start

  76. When giving a thank you speech, short and sweet is best

  77. Try to get rejected at least once a week. You’ll never believe all the cool places you’ll end up getting into

  78. If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company — you have to like yourself for others to like you

  79. Hope for the best. Plan for the worse

  80. Try most things once, but not everything

  81. Humility, graciousness, intelligence, and empathy tend to generate more respect than bottle service at the club

  82. The work in every relationship should be split 60/40, with both people trying to be the one giving 60%

  83. When opening presents, no one likes a good guesser.

  84. The best way to show thanks is to wear it (even if it’s only once)

  85. Never get your haircut the day of a special event

  86. The first step towards true greatness is wearing clean underwear

  87. When you marry someone, remember you marry their entire family

  88. Under no circumstances should you ever ask a woman if she is pregnant

  89. You make choices, and your choices make you. It goes both ways

  90. You only improve when you’re up against someone who’s better than you

  91. Make time for your mother on your birthday — it’s a special day for her too

  92. Sometimes, the best way to solve your own problems is to help someone else

  93. Always thank the host

  94. Never lie to your doctor

  95. Give credit. Take blame

  96. When life gives you lemon, don’t just make lemonade. Sell it, too

  97. Admit when you’re wrong

  98. Know how to keep others’ secrets

  99. Time spent with grandparents is time well spent

  100. It’s never too late for an apology

  101. Be the friend who makes a decisive call when everyone else is waffling about

  102. Don’t use your safety net as a hammock

  103. Be slow to anger and quick to forgiveness

  104. Never answer the phone at the dinner table

  105. If you’re staying more than one night, unpack

  106. Lying is OK, but every lie you tell is a lie you have to keep track of

  107. If you don’t understand, ask before it’s too late

  108. Know how to use Excel at least as well as your boss

  109. Be nice to kids and teenagers: reputations are built over a lifetime

  110. You won’t always be the strongest, smartest or fastest. But you can be the hardest working

  111. Your dance moves might not be the best, but I promise making a fool of yourself is more fun than sitting on a bench alone

  112. The most important decision in your life is picking the mother/father of your children. Compatibility, shared values, friendship, trust, responsibility, character, etc. matter at least as much as love

  113. Vote in every election (national, regional, local)

  114. 99% of people who got wealthy did it by betting ON something, not against something. Positivity wins

  115. Don’t make decisions under the influence, be that drugs, alcohol or emotions

  116. Always know the interests of the person you go to for advice. I do it for clicks

  117. If it’s easy it isn’t worth doing. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

  118. Only look in your neighbor’s bowl to make sure they have enough; not to see if you have as much as them

  119. If you launch and no one notices, launch again

  120. Don’t take yourself too seriously

  121. Don’t ask “what if things don’t work out?”, ask “what if it does?”

  122. Be who you needed when you were younger

  123. Have fun, otherwise it’s not worth it

  124. If you like something, say so. It will make someone’s day

  125. Social media only makes us feel better because we can shout into the void and the echo makes us feel like we’re being heard — avoid it

Don’t hesitate to add yours in the comments section, I have been updating this list for many years, and will continue to do so in the years to come.

Good luck out there.


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