My 10 Commandments

My10 Commandments

There’s nothing like time off from your normal life to give you another perspective on things. I had 2 different types of time off recently. The first was a fabulous Mediterranean holiday and there is no treat like a break in the sun to help you see things from another angle. The second “time-off” was thanks to some knee surgery. When you take your health and independence for granted, feeling weak and insecure turns things right on their head. As things get back to normal after the good, and the bad, I decided to write down what I have learned are my 10 principles or commandments for life. Yours may be very different. Please send them to me or reply to this blog. I’m interested in what you have to say.

  1. Be yourself. Our personality, behaviour and even likes and dislikes are formed from a very young age. Some things about us do change, maybe according to our surroundings or experience but I feel that we are broadly the same now as we are as children. My first lesson for life is to be yourself as that is the path of least resistance. That’s not to say that we can’t change but I would try to change small things, or facets which don’t require huge expenditures of emotional and physical energy. Don’t try to be something or someone you are not; it doesn’t work.
  2. Don’t be an idiot. We all know when we are doing it. You know when you are being argumentative for no reason, or holding on to a grudge, or passive-agressively refusing to be a good corporate citizen. Of course, sometimes we are angry or feel wronged but try to catch yourself when you are behaving badly and just stop. Be decent and kind.
  3. Let it go. Following on from that, so many of us have a natural in-built sense of injustice or a feeling of being a victim that we carry around feelings of resentment and negativity. Make a positive decision to let those feelings go and to focus on being in a better, happier, more positive place. Don’t bore your friends and family with tales of petty disputes. Let them know how contented you are with your life and get on with enjoying their company.
  4. Have fun. We get so wrapped up in the daily grind – emails, the tube, homework – that we forget how to have fun. Being away with my family always reminds me how to enjoy life as I am freed from my daily chores. If you want to know what fun looks like, watch kids in a pool or a playground. Or a dog chasing a stick. Try and recreate that sense of freedom for yourself on a regular basis, even if for half an hour. I love music but I realised whilst away, that I don’t listen to it as much as I used to as “I’m too busy”. Nor do I dance much. But I’m making an effort to as having fun is infectious. Try it and watch it catch on.
  5. Don’t try to change people. Just as we are born a certain way, so are your friends, your partners, your colleagues and kids. To try to change them is not only pointless but also insulting. You are saying that they, or what they do, isn’t good enough. There is no way that this can be a positive experience. The same is true in the workplace. “Feedback” is usually thinly veiled criticism. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to make improvements everywhere in life but lets focus on processes, error rates and productivity as a team instead of individual people. In the home, create an atmosphere and systems to help your children tidy up and do their homework instead of trying to “reform their messiness”.
  6. Everything has a place. In the home, and at work, everything should have a place and everyone should know where that place is. Then, everyone will know where things are. Not knowing where things are is one of the biggest causes of stress, and disputes, in our daily lives. Having a place for everything will help with “letting it go” and “having fun”.
  7. Ask for help, and opinions. Life is better for having good relationships, and good relationships are 2-way and balanced. Therefore, make sure the people in your life are wanted and needed by asking their opinions on anything, and everything, from where to go for dinner to what to do for a career. Having help, and support, can be very liberating when life gets too much so make sure you have built a network of relationships with people who you value, and who value you too.
  8. Sleep cures most things. Sleep is the best, and cheapest, remedy for an awfully large number of problems in life. Sleep is good for your health, your temper, your relationships, your creativity and your looks! Things almost always look better in the morning. If you feel over-whelmed, frustrated, sad or lacking in ideas, try sleep first.
  9. Have a plan. I love planning and having an idea of what is coming next, whether its work, holidays or even social plans, is what keeps me going. We all need to know where we are headed in life so that we can assess whether we are satisfied, and if not, what to do about it. Have a plan and go for it.
  10. Do it now. The bad thing about plans is that sometimes they become overwhelmingly big. Big plans are hard to start because they seem unachievable. Whatever it is you are thinking of doing next, whether it is a piece of work or booking a holiday or tidying a drawer, just do it. Start now and take small steps. You’ll be glad you did.

3 Comments on “My 10 Commandments”

  1. Ross E. Chapman
    September 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Great holiday-induced insights, Penny!

  2. Bill Hodgson
    September 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    Send more sleep please 🙂

  3. Deborah
    September 25, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    “Do it now” is great advice. Small steps really does work but why do I keep forgetting this!

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