Posts tagged “life skills

7 Cardinal Rules for Life


I’ve appreciated the stuff that often is posted by the website at, like the 7 Cardinal Rules for Life that follow here. (What cardinals have to do with rules for life, I’m not sure.) Along with the Rules, I share a choice theory response to each of them. (Of note: The Better Plan workshop dates for this summer have been set and are listed at the end of the blog.)

7 Cardinal Rules for Life

Rule #1 – Make peace with your past, so it doesn’t spoil your present. Your past does not define your future – your actions and beliefs do.

It would be hard to come up with a more choice theory statement than this one. I think the phrase “make peace with your past” is important. We’re not trying to run from the past, hide from it, cover it, or deny it. We come to desire our joy in the present and realize our need to see the past for whatever it is and, like it says, make peace with it. I like the statement’s emphasis on thinking and acting, too, which supports the idea of every behavior being a total behavior. It really is pretty amazing that we were created to have direct control over what we think and what we do.

Rule #2 – What others think of you is none of your business. It’s how much you value yourself and how important you think you are.

Choice theory emphasizes that the only person we can control is ourselves, but I like how Rule #2 is worded. It is such a debilitating condition to be worried about what others think of you. It is so freeing to let this particular worry go.

Rule #3 – Time heals almost everything, give time, time. Pain will be less hurting. Scars make us who we are; they explain our life and why we are the way we are. They challenge us and force us to be stronger.

I hesitate to write about #3. The topic of wounds, especially emotional and spiritual wounds, is a sacred space to me and deserves a special respect. That said, it is apparent to me that some people allow healing to take place and continue to want to make the best of life, while others seem to want to nurture the hurt and hold onto it.

Rule #4 – No one is the reason for your own happiness, except you yourself. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside.

The world of choice theory is a place of responsibility. A key, though, is that responsibility is something that dawns on a person, rather than it being a message that one person enforces on another. Responsibility functions best when it is like the sun coming up in a person’s life, providing light to see the world in a new way.

Rule #5 – Don’t compare your life with others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we would grab ours back as fast as we could.

Comparing our life to that of others traps us in thinking that our happiness depends on our circumstances being different. Or worse, that our happiness depends on our circumstances being better than someone else’s. Choice theory keeps bringing us back to our happiness coming from within, not from without.

Rule #6 – Stop thinking too much. It’s alright not to know the answers. Sometimes there is no answer, not going to be any answer, never has been an answer. That’s the answer! Just accept it, move on, NEXT!

I’ll have to think about this one.

Rule #7 – Smile, you don’t own all the problems in the world. A smile can brighten the darkest day and make life more beautiful. It is a potential curve to turn a life around and set everything straight.

A smile is a choice. Yes, sometimes we laugh as a reflex, but sometimes we just need to choose to smile. And in making that choice, in a small way, the day does get just a little bit better.


Which of the Life Hack Rules do you relate to? Did any of them get you thinking about choice theory ideas? Let me know.

Reminder – Middle School and High School teachers can share the Rules with students and have them respond to them and evaluate them. They can be a great springboard for talking about choice and responsibility. Tie a writing assignment to them. Discuss them in a life skills class.


Important Dates

The Better Plan workshop dates for this coming summer at PUC have been set.

The Better Plan 1 –  June 25 – 28

The Better Plan 2 –  July 9 – 12

If you have questions about the workshops get in touch with me at


* 7 Cardinal Rules for Life first appeared as a Better Plan post on January 25, 2014. It has proven to be a popular post and I wanted to share it with those of who may not have seen it yet. Remember that the Year At a Glance pages have a lot of choice theory articles that you can easily access at the touch of a link.

What to Teach Your Kids Before They Leave Home



Reminder and Invitation
For those of you within driving distance of the Napa Valley, remember you are invited to our Choice Theory Study Group on Sabbath afternoon, September 21, from 2:00-4:00 PM at Foothills Elementary School, located just up the hill from St. Helena. The address is 711 Sunnyside Road, St. Helena, 94574. It is very easy to get to. Head north on the Silverado Trail from Napa; turn right on Deer Park Road (the blinking red light); turn right at Sunnyside Road; the school is at the corner of Deer Park Road and Sunnyside.


It would be great if by 18 every young person could do the following –

So began an article I re-discovered today while going through some old files. I am getting ready to teach a classroom management class (classes begin on Monday) and found an article I filed 12 years ago titled What to Teach Your Kids Before They Leave Home. It included a list of 12 different categories with specific skills under each one.

Domestic Skills
Cook a traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Wash and iron clothes.
Replace a button.
Bake bread.


Physical Skills
Throw and catch balls.
Swim half a mile and tread water for half an hour.

Handyman Skills
Hang a picture straight.
Paint neatly and be able to clean up afterwards.
Know which tools perform which functions.

Changing Tire_2

Outdoor Skills
Hike with friends all day.
Bait a hook.
Plan and manage a weekend camping trip.

Practical Skills
Type with both hands.
Drive a car.
Change a flat tire.

You get the idea. There were other skills, too, things like –
Speaking before a group.
Knowing how to play a musical instrument.
Reading a map.
Knowing basic first aid.


The short article of bulleted lists drew me in and I soon was evaluating the skills the author suggested, wondering to myself if these lists really did represent the necessary survival skills for life. One category, I noticed, that was missing was a category for Psychological Skills. What do you think? Of all the categories, wouldn’t Psychological Skills be the most important one of all? Let’s add this category and answer the following question –

What Psychological Skills Would You Want to Teach Your Kids Before They Leave Home?

I really want to hear from you on this one. Let’s see what kind of skills we can come up with.


Some news on the Glasser biography!! It looks like it will be published in November. Stay tuned.

%d bloggers like this: