Rule #1: We all make decisions with our emotions, and emotions are more contagious than any virus.
Rule #2: In an emotionally connected group, the person showing symptoms is not necessarily the person who is sick.
Rule #3: We all act differently under conditions of conflict.
Rule #4: Love doesn’t cause someone to treat you differently; it only increases the intensity of the treatment.
Rule #5: Don’t take sides in other peoples’ conflicts. You don’t know what really happened.
Rule #6: If you want to say no, that’s a good enough reason to say no.
Rule #7: If you want to leave, that’s a good enough reason to leave.
Rule #8: And you don’t owe anyone an explanation for leaving or saying no. Which means no one owes you an explanation for saying no either.
Rule #9: Oh and for the love of God, when you want to say yes, SAY YES!
Rule #10: No one can be wrong all the time. Beware of the tendency to scapegoat.
Rule #11: An apology that contains the word “if” is not an apology.
Rule #12: People will treat you the same way they treat everyone else.
Rule #13: Distance yourself immediately from people who take all the credit for success and blame others for failures. Someone who always blames everyone else will eventually blame you.
Rule #14: People eventually treat themselves the same way they treat others. Someone’s self-hatred is not an excuse for how they treat you. In fact, it is caused by how they treat you.
Rule #15: Everyone acts differently behind closed doors.
Rule #16: Never look up to a genius, a rich person or a charismatic leader for anything other than their ability, their wealth or their inspiration. People can be brilliant in one area of life and total catastrophes in every other.
Rule #17: Your first reaction is just biology or cultural indoctrination. Your second reaction is who you really are.
Rule #18: Whatever you focus on grows, and if you are hiding something, you are focused on it.
Rule #19: Refusing to admit that a conflict exists makes the conflict worse.
Rule #20: Do not drag other people into conflicts they are not already a part of. Your goal in any large conflict should be to reduce the number of people involved, and sometimes the only way to do that is to remove yourself by refusing to take sides.
Rule #21: All emotions are valuable under some circumstances; no emotion is good under all circumstances.
Rule #22: It’s not selfish to go after what you want; selfishness is when you act angry, passive-aggressive or entitled when you don’t get it.
Rule #23: Go after what you REALLY want.
Rule #24: Always do your best. Always think your best, always try your best, always speak your best. Every single minute of every single day.
Rule #25: Your mind gets in ruts where you think the same thoughts, feel the same feelings and replay the same arguments over and over in your head. It’s work to create new paths. The work is worth it.
Rule #26: We procrastinate because only in fantasy is there no possibility of failure.
Rule #27: End procrastination by telling yourself to merely take the very first step. Pick up the scissors, floss one tooth, open up Word.
Rule #28: Money solves problems. It does not make you happy.
Rule #29: Isolation causes depression. Narcissism causes isolation.
Rule #30: Show up.
Rule #31: Your social circle now won’t be your circle forever, and some day you won’t care about the opinions of the people who surround you now.
Rule #32: You have deep values. The problem is you may not even realize you have them, because you think they are just “obvious”. But other people, and their values, are more different than you can possibly imagine.
Rule #33: Love is to continue to respect someone even when you are angry, frustrated, disappointed, or in conflict with them.
Rule #34: We all have a tendency to overrate evidence that supports our beliefs, and minimize, distort, or ignore evidence that contradicts our beliefs.
Rule #35: When you feel an emotion strongly, your brain comes up with an excuse to justify that emotion. This is how people get really worked up and anxious over trivial matters, enraged over minor insults. (The combination of rules 34 and 35 can lead you into hell if you are not careful.)
Rule #36: Everyone thinks harmful, petty and stupid thoughts. You don’t have to say every stupid thing you think. Remember that you are probably about 10 times more likely to act according to what you say than what you merely think.
Rule #37: Celebrate small victories. This is how you change your habits, your brain chemistry and eventually your DNA.
Rule #38: There is no consistent, independent self.
Rule #39: You are your role in the emotional family, which means you will be different people in different contexts.
Rule #40: Financial security matters partly because if you are spending more than you make, then you are not benefiting the tribe. When you don’t strain your heart and muscles, when you don’t go outside and feel the sun, rain and wind on your skin, when you don’t do things that benefit others, your brain tells your body to shut down.
Rule #41: You cannot find your purpose by thinking about it.
Rule #42: It is the family that is sick, not the diagnosed individual. And sometimes the diagnosis and labeling can reinforce the family sickness.
Rule #43: True freedom is being able to work together with equals.
Rule #44: True isolation is narcissism, which can be best defined as the addiction to feeling special or important instead of feeling loved.
Rule #45: I am 100% responsible for my relationship to anyone else, and to my own values, goals, problems and ideas. I am zero percent responsible for anyone’s relationship to anyone or anything else.
Rule #46: I am also zero percent responsible for my past self’s relationship to anything else.
Rule #47: We have 10,000 year old brains that still think we are living in tribes of like 50 people, where embarrassment, humiliation and rejection matter. Because 10,000 years ago, what other people thought of you really was the difference between life and death. But now, fear of failure is just self-sabotage.
Rule #48: When you win an argument, the only thing you’ve won is an enemy.
Rule #49: You are the average of the people you spend the most emotional energy on, and the ideas you spend the most time thinking about.
Rule #50: You don’t need to resolve everything. Connection is more important than resolution.
Rule #51: Whenever you try to control or manipulate someone else, you give them power over you. Your continued resentment is not because of what they did. It’s because of your frustration that you cannot completely dominate them.
Rule #52: As a result, the most resentful person is the most abusive. And in a truly toxic situation, the people making accusations are usually the ones being abusive; victims generally bend over backwards making excuses. (Whoever you are making excuses for is the one being abusive to you.)
Rule #53: We don’t remember things the way they actually happened.
Rule #54: Laugh. Sing. Dance. Tell stories. Play music. Go outside and move your body. Sleep enough. Eat real food, not processed food. Listen to your body. You are an animal. Stop denying it. Live it. Love it. Accept it.
Rule #55: People who are sometimes supportive but sometimes undermine you are worse than people who are outright toxic. And by the way, ALWAYS support your friends. Even when they don’t support you. Even if you don’t really want to.
Rule #56: Your overall happiness in life will end up being primarily determined by the extent to which you can honestly say yes to the following question: Are you happy to see your friends succeed?
Rule #57: Nothing feels better, day to day, than when you make far more than your monthly living expenses. Eliminating financial stress improved my life more than any purchase ever could.
Rule #58: Every emotion has a rhythm to it. And you can interrupt the emotion by interrupting that rhythm.
Rule #59: Just because one person is bad, doesn’t mean their opponent in a conflict is good. And just because your enemy lost, doesn’t mean that you won.
Rule #60: You will take on the emotional state of whatever family you are a part of.
Rule #61: You will need multiple families that are separate from each other in order to be emotionally stable, free from abuse, purpose-filled, financially secure, and intellectually clear. So you need to get really good at creating and maintaining new friendships.
Rule #62: Listen. No, really, shut up and listen.
Rule #63: Learn to say back to people exactly what they just said, and exactly what they feel. Let them correct you.
Rule #64: Saying yes is easy. Saying no is hard. Saying maybe will destroy you.
Rule #65: When a “friend” relates what someone else said behind your back, it’s probably what they said behind your back.
Rule #66: Everyone projects. It’s impossible to know anyone else’s intentions. Whenever someone tells you your intentions, they are actually telling you their own intentions.
Rule #67: The real issue is never what anyone says it is at first. Nearly all interpersonal conflict is actually about someone’s perceived position in the family tree. Stop thinking in terms of personalities or issues and start thinking in terms of roles and relationships.
Rule #68: Trying to lie to yourself will never work. Find things to tell yourself that are completely true and will also move you forward. Example: If I am depressed, I say to myself, “I am depressed, and my depression will not last forever.”
Rule #69: The only form of leadership is by example.
Rule #70: Do not channel, support or encourage other people’s anger or anxiety.
Rule #71: Define your boundaries clearly while still staying connected to people.
Rule #72: Always talk directly to people, even if they have left your life, even if they are dead.
Rule #73: Never deliver messages for people and never accept a third-party delivering someone else’s message.
Rule #74: Entitlement is not, “I deserve an easy life.” Entitlement is, “My life has been SO HARD! And SOMEONE needs to pay!”
Rule #75: Avoid labeling people. Here’s a fact: if you label someone a psychopath, they are more likely to act like one. Even if the label was never accurate.
Rule #76: When someone gossips, what they say about the subject of the gossip is irrelevant. But what they say about themselves can be invaluable.
Rule #77: You cannot make someone else more responsible. The very act of trying takes the responsibility from them and puts it on your shoulders.
Rule #78: When you know something is wrong in your gut, do not let anyone manipulate you into doing it anyway.
Rule #79: A come-back is not a go-back. Don’t try to go back to the way things were.
Rule #80: Tell your story. Any time you tell your story without blaming anyone (including yourself), you are helping someone else heal.
Rule #81: Money is not a reward for tolerating stress, pain or hard work. Money is what other people give you to remove THEIR stress, pain and hard work.
Rule #82: You have to be wrong before you can be right. You’re going to have to go too far in the opposite direction of whatever you were indoctrinated with growing up before you can start going in the right direction, at the right speed, in the right way.
Rule #0: The only thing I admit when I say I am wrong is that I’m smarter today than I was yesterday.