Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things I've Learned (Part I)

Over the past forty years, I’ve learned a thing or two about LIFE. I know some of you only see the big “IF” in it, while others think it’s just a big F in LIE, but for me, and my cereal eating counterpart, when it comes to LIFE, Mikey likes it. He really likes it!

And today I would like to share with you some of the wisdom and guiding principals that have helped me make the most of life. I like to think I made them all up, came up with them on my own, but I’m sure someone somewhere has uttered similar sentiments, but so what? All I know is I’ve learned these from personal experience, and not out of a book, so in my opinion, they’re MY rules. And since I have a lot of them, I will share them over several weeks. Enjoy

Rule 1: “It’s easier to apologize than to ask permission”  - I swear I came up with this on my own way back in my early 20's (and I never heard of Grace Hopper, who it’s attributed to) but maybe I saw it on a bumper sticker or something.  Either way, it has served me well - not so much at home (since my wife knows my rule) but out in the world, it's a real timesaver. Asking, "Is it okay if I park here?" or "Do you mind if I go through your 12 items or less line with these 27 items?" invariably lead to "no" answers, so just do it, and only say you're sorry if they complain. And please note, it says “easier” not better.  Or more considerate

Rule 2: “When someone goes out of their way to tell you what they’re not saying, that’s exactly what they are saying” -  We’ve all heard it before. Someone will start a sentence with, “I’m not trying to be mean, but…” or “I’m not saying she’s lazy, but…” But that’s exactly what they are saying. They ARE trying to be mean. They DO think she's lazy. They’re just too wimpy to admit it. I find it's best to stay away from these people.

Rule 3: “When someone goes out of their way to warn you about someone else, it’s them you need to worry about” – whether it’s your first day on the job or first week in the neighborhood, someone always feels like it’s their duty to give you the rundown on who’s who and what’s what. And nine times out of ten, they’re just trying to get you on their side before the real truth comes out. Again, stay away from these people. 

Rule 4: “The size of the poop is inversely proportional to the nastiness of the smell” – This is my most recent truism. Two years of changing diapers has taught me that it’s the small ones you need to worry about. I’m sure this could be used as a metaphor for human relations as well, but I’ll leave it to you to figure that out.

Rule 5: “If you can’t leave your problems at home, stay there and keep them company” – I’ll probably take the most flak for this one, but I stand by it 100%. And if more people followed it, the world would be a happier place. Sure, there’s a time and a place to moan, groan, cry, complain, whine, and wail, but it’s not at work between the hours of 9 and 5. Or at Happy Hour either! Find a therapist. Take a sick day. Or just suck it up. To me, work is a respite from life, so I don't get why people would want to bring their life’s problems there, and vice versa. The same way I don't like to complain about work at home, I don't like complaints about home at work. "So where should I complain?" you may be asking. The short answer is, nowhere. The long answer is, nowhere that I can hear you.

That’s all for now. I can’t promise that following these rules will lead you to a better life, but they work for me. And feel free to share any of yours below. 


  1. Very interesting, Mike. Not sure these would work for me, but if they work for you...

  2. And therein lies the problem: if people DON'T follow my rules, then they don't work for me either, as then I have to deal with a bunch of passive-aggressive, whiny complainers with poopy diapers!

  3. Mike I'm glad these work for you.... It's a great thing not to hear anyone gripe.

    This would be a nice world indeed, but with life as stressful as it is, if everyone used your philosophy the world would blow up from the pressure... lol


  4. Um-kay, something must be wrong here, because for the most part? I agree with you. Well, except that first one should read: It's easier to seek forgiveness later, than to ask permission now. Works for me. :D


  5. Gideon, stop griping! Just kidding, you're right. But every little bit (less) helps

    Murphy, what's wrong with agreeing with me? Other than having the rest of the world looking UP at us from their puny perches

  6. Love, love, love number five, especially since I work alone, at my house of solitude. So THAT means I gotta suck it up -- no complaining -- around me, myself and I.