Rules of Life

"More and more, when faced with the world of men, the only reaction is one of individualism. Man alone is an end unto himself. Everything one tries to do for the common good ends in failure." Albert Camus

"The secret of happiness is not having more, but wanting less."

"The purpose of life is just going about your business. And getting there is just putting one foot in front of the other.

"It's not what happens to you in life that matters, it's your attitude towards it."

There are three attitudes that have crept into our collective consciousness over the past two decades. I don't know how widespread they are, but there are certainly some people who believe one or more of them. They are:

That you are somehow not responsible for your own actions.

The attempt to place the blame on others for our own actions has become epidemic. Everywhere you go, people seem to be pointing the finger at others for their own failures. Many people, it seems, just refuse to take responsibility for what they do, or what they cause to happen. Well, the sad fact is that you, and only you are responsible for what you do.

That the world owes you a living.

People seem to grow up thinking that they have some kind of inborn right to a good job, and a nice home and a good life. I'm sorry to be the one to break the bad news, but the world owes you absolutely nothing. Everything you achieve, you must either inherit from someone who has earned it, or earn it on your own. Society has no obligation to provide you with a place to live, or food to eat, or a nice car.

That the world has to change to accomodate you.

Some people feel that because they "need" something, that society should automatically provide it. Many people grow up thinking that they should not have to make any sacrifices at all because of their shortcomings. People should adjust their lives and lifestyles to their abilities, and not expect society to make up for their own deficiencies.

Other issues:

Special privileges:

Every group in society seems to want to assure for themselves some kind of special privilege that allows them a competitive advantage. Minorities, women, the disabled and handicapped, gays and lesbians and a host of others all want to be "protected" from discrimination. What they really want, in many cases, is simply a card to play if they need it. My view is that there should be no special privileges based on anything but merit and our human right to be treated equally.

Social Conscience:

While it is true, as stated above, that society has no "obligation" to have compassion for the less fortunate, each of us should make an attempt, insofar as it is within our power, to care for those that are not able to care for themselves. This is a characteristic of a mature society.

Changing the world:

Many people have what they believe to be a noble goal. To change the world and make it better. This is not a bad ideal, but most people don't have the means or the power to do this. You can, however, change yourself, and that will contribute to accomplishing your goal.

Taking Advice:

Be careful who you take advice from. Unfortunately the world is full of people who know nothing. But they love to tell people what to think, what to do and what to believe. It is a good idea to only take advice from reliable sources. In the long run, however, the best advice I can give you is to collect as much objective information as you can and then make up your own mind. Then, you will have no one to blame but yourself if it goes badly.

Your job:

Someone is paying you money to do your job. That person has a right to get what he's paying for. If you want more money for what you do, just ask. If the answer is no, you must either work for the amount that is paid, or leave and find another job. You have no right to a higher salary just because you need the money. Each job has a certain value, that is determined by the employer. In addition, your boss has a right to fire you if you don't meet his requirements. And, as long as he is not violating any laws, he has the right not to hire you if he doesn't want to.

Your Family:

In general, the rule is, never take sides against your family. You can disagree in private, but blood is thicker than water.

Avoiding trouble:

A good general rule is, when trouble comes in the front door, go out the back door. Of course that only applies if nothing is at stake. There are clearly times to stand and fight.

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