I didn’t put something here for every rule. Just the ones that I got through, or the ones that appealed to me.
Rule 1 - Stand up straight with your shoulders back
- As humans we live in a dominance hierarchy, a construct millions of years old. It is much better to be on the top than on the bottom.
- “If you can bite, you generally don’t have to”.
- Your posture shows the world your position in the hierarchy.
- Speaking your mind, standing up for yourself and being assertive are the keys to moving up the hierarchy. Being assertive is one consistent message in this book.
Rule 2 – Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
- You know what is good for you, but odds are you don’t do it. The analogy is that only about half of patients actually take their prescribed medication in the manner that they should.
- “If you are arguing with someone and you don’t argue as hard on your behalf as they are on theirs, you are a slave, and they a tyrant”
- You can bargain with yourself -e.g. ‘if I do this I will get a cookie, or do this thing’
- Think what advice you would give to a friend, and do it yourself
- One good idea is to get your friends to make your decisions and follow them (assuming they have your best interests at heart)
Rule 3 – Make friends with people who want the best for you
- It’s impossible to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Don’t be a martyr or a saviour. It’s likely your motives for being a saviour aren’t pure.
- Standard assumption should be: a fallen person has rejected the path upwards. It is much more common than being a victim of circumstances
- An obsession with fairness leads to your friends being screwed, because it is one sided. You remember the wrongs you took, not the ones you dished out.
Rule 4 – Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today
- There are so many dimensions in which we compare ourselves with others that comparison is meaningless. “He’s richer than me, but my girlfriend is hotter, and I have more spare time, but he is better at sports”. The only meaningful comparison is with yourself.
- By aiming at the top you can paralyse yourself from taking any action at all. It feels meaningless because the gulf is so big
- We have a bias to undervalue what we have and overvalue what we don’t have.
- “When you have something to say, silence is a lie”. Battles must be fought on the road to peace.
- You cannot say you want something when internally you do not. You cannot fool yourself. Not one bit. When you really want something you will even perceive the world differently
- What do you really want? Your actions will tell you.
Rule 5 – Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
- Like in relationships, conflict with your children is necessary for the road to peace
- Use the least amount of necessary force for discipline
- You are a parent, not a friend, to your kids. Your kids have many friends but a maximum of two parents only
Rule 8 – Tell the truth, or at least, don’t lie
- Most lies are not told but acted; the times you say you will do something but don’t, or when you cheat, or omit, or exaggerate, or are silent, or rationalise, or the things you don’t let yourself think about
- Lying is especially bad because over time, you believe your lies. Your personality is warped.
- During the act of lying, we know we are doing it. Afterwards we may convince ourselves it was true, but we know when we are in the act.
- Life lie: where you pick an outcome, choose your thoughts and actions so that only that outcome is allowed to exist.
- Wilful blindness: when you refuse to know something that could be known
- By speaking up when you have to, you become the kind of person who speaks up.
Rule 9 – Assume the person you are speaking to knows something you don’t
- Conversational technique: listen to what they say, and then summarise it to them before replying
- If conversation is boring ask: are you really listening?
Rule 10 – Be precise in your speech
- Living things break down. Life is thought of as bailing a ship out with water continually. Note: the smaller the ship, the faster it goes.
- When you talk about a problem, specify the exact action that you would like to see in order to fix the problem.