Rules to Work and Live By Expanded

Yesterday, Avanish Kaushik made a post, “Nine Rules to Work / Live By.” It began as a blog post, became a Google + post, and then he tweeted it.

I first saw the tweet and replied:

@avanish My5 perfect yourself daily, make haste slowly, act like the world is watching, recognize others wins, no silos, share #lifelessons

Considering he has nearly 53,000 followers on Twitter I was a bit surprised that he replied immediately saying he loved the list, which was a great pat on the back, coming from someone whose work I so admire.

I also felt some elaboration would be helpful in more than 140 characters. So here goes:

1. Perfect Yourself Daily. This was taken from “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” by Balthasar Gracian, a Jesuit Priest (1601-1658), who lived in Spain. The following quote is from the link above, the translation in the book I have is a bit different and speaks to rounding the corners of your being each day until you achieve the perfect roundness. From this translation: “A Man at his Highest Point: We are not born perfect: every day we develop in our personality and in our calling till we reach the highest point of our completed being, to the full round of our accomplishments, of our excellences. This is known by the purity of our taste, the clearness of our thought, the maturity of our judgment, and the firmness of our will. Some never arrive at being complete; somewhat is always awanting: others ripen late. The complete man, wise in speech, prudent in act, is admitted to the familiar intimacy of discreet persons, is even sought for by them.”

2. Make Haste Slowly. I actually had to Google this one because I knew it wasn’t original, but couldn’t recall who said it. Turns out it was Augustus (Suetonius the Divine Augustus). Regardless of the type of organization I’ve been affiliated with, I find people too often forge ahead without thinking everything through or are cautious to the point of paralysis. To be successful you must act, but only after you’ve given due consideration. The same is true in life. You have to move through it, don’t be reckless, but don’t stand still either.

 3. Act Like the World is Watching. Truth is they probably are. Not only are digital communications such that copying, archiving, etc. are nearly instantaneous, other people can now capture your voice or image from their phone without you being aware, hackers can access information about you through your own network or others’ that store information about you, not to mention all the cameras employed by businesses and government to protect assets and property. It’s good to be transparent, assume you are whether you are trying or not.

4. Recognize Other’s Wins. It is easier than ever to give someone an attaboy today, a one click Like, +1 or what-have-you is all it takes. You can make someone’s day with a simple gesture, and best of all, it is contagious. When my oldest daughter was in her 2nd year of dance, after the recital one of the graduating seniors came up to her outside the building as we were getting ready to leave and said, “excuse me I just want to tell you how much I enjoyed watching you dance. I hope you keep doing it.” As a father I couldn’t have been more proud. My daughter was inspired by those simple words and so was I. Each year I now do the same.

5. No Silos – Share. Compartmentalizing information is old school. It is the way managers once maintained their position. Similarly, silos are an industrial era structure that doesn’t work in today’s environment. Working only within your silo results in being blind to other parts of the business and often results in duplication of effort and an ‘it’s not my job’ mentality. Similarly, in life you don’t want to box yourself in, expand your horizons and explore. You’ll be surprised how many times you’ll gain insight and be able to solve problems you’ve struggled with after doing so. On the Share side, we have such an ability to share information and help one another thanks to the web, it’s a shame we don’t take greater advantage of it. In 2006 I started as a way for residents to learn what was happening in their communities. It took a while to gain a foothold. Now I regularly get emails or comments asking about a local issue, event, or activity. Often I can point them in the right direction. I don’t get paid for this, but it is a simple way for me to contribute to the community in which I live.

So roughly 15 minutes after Avanish posted his list, I replied via tweet with my five. As I expanded on them for this post I recalled that a few months ago I engaged with Most Interesting Person in the Room, and the standard intro was the the ten most important things to know about me, which I replied to and thought it would now be interesting to compare those 10 to my 5 rules to live by, since I wasn’t thinking about one while writing the other. Here they are:

1. I put my family first and believe that children need to be raised by their parents and enjoy the benefit of supportive grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends (Rules 1, 4, & 5).

2. I majored in interdisciplinary studies and have had an interdisciplinarian career ranging from my current corporate position to previous employment in government, education, and non-profit sectors (Rules 1 & 5).

3. I was laid off for the better part of 17 months during which I launched a local Center for the Arts and continue to serve as its business manager, I worked to help an open-wheel race car driver secure sponsorship at no cost, and for four months I worked at a local auto dealership trouble shooting their CRM and mapping an emarketing program (Rules 1, 2, 4 & 5).

4. I read about 40 books a year and am trying to more carefully study the writings of JRR Tolkien through the History of Middle Earth series (Rule 1).

5. I have a wife and two kids – we have lots of stuff (Rules 1, 4 & 5).

6. I write occassionally on wordpress, try daily on Twitter, and gather up all my stuff at (Rules 1, 3, & 5).

7. I don’t want to live a filtered life, so I try engage in a wide range of disciplines, interests, and so on (Rules 1 & 5).

8. I’m left-handed (the list is modeled, so this one if anything goes to 5).

9. While I wouldn’t consider myself an environmentalist, I am very much a conservationist and am deeply concerned about the impact development has had and continues to have on wildlife worldwide (Rules 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5).

10. With no music background I’m trying to teach myself how to play a Martin Mandolin (Rules 1 & 5).

I’m pleased to see that things I want people to know about me were consistent with the rules I try to live by. So what are your rules and what would you want people knowing about you?

If tweeting add #lifelessons



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