- Mental Health
My Personal Decalogue for a Healthy Stress-Free Life
The Ten Commandments were the original Decalogue, but many people have their own personal rules that they value in their life.
Thomas Jefferson had his own ten commandments, the first of which is well known: "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today".1
Call it commandments, rules, or recommendations—it’s all the same. You make it what it’s worth for the quality of life you choose.
My Personal Decalogue focuses on avoiding stress with a positive attitude throughout life.
My Personal Decalogue
- Live by your value system.
- Wake up to each new day with a positive attitude.
- Learn from your lessons. Let others learn from theirs.
- Consider the long-term effect of every decision.
- Seek the truth, but don’t ignore the lies.
- Think about the purpose you serve.
- Read between the lines. There's always more hidden meaning.
- Always be dependable without any doubt.
- Follow your own rules, but appreciate those of others.
- Review your decisions. They may have been misplaced.
- Don’t stop at ten.
1. Live by Your Value System
What’s the power of a value system?
What governs your life? What causes your selection of goals? What leads you to achieve your dreams?
Every choice you make in life is related to your value system. You already have values you wish to live by. You may have done this by your own choosing, or it may have been taught by your parents, or enlightened by other mentors.
If you have consciously chosen values to follow that are important to you, then they are your own and are most important to you. Values you acquired by other means may or may not be who you really are. That may cause confusion in your thinking, planning, and goal setting.
If your values are clearly chosen by you, and you own them, respect them, and appreciate them, they will empower you to live the life you want to have.
2. Wake up to Each New Day with a Positive Attitude
If you can’t keep up with whatever it is you want to accomplish, always remember that tomorrow is another day. Sometimes it helps to take a step back and give yourself a break. Get a good night’s sleep. Then wake up with a positive attitude about the full day ahead.
Keep positive thoughts in your head. Try to dismiss negative thoughts as quickly as you can by immediately thinking of something wonderful.
If you have difficulty with this, plan a list of enjoyable times in your life that you can focus on when you wake up. That will help set the tone for a wonderful new day.
3. Learn from Your Lessons and Let Others Learn from Theirs
As I go through life, I consider each failure a lesson for improvement. It can be applied for the advancement of our being, or ignored to the detriment of our future.
You can learn from your own lessons. People can grow by recognizing their own faults just as well as when they are guided by mentors. So put your energy into your own advancement and let others learn from their mistakes.
I’ve had many experiences where friends asked for advice, but never took it. In many cases I just wasted my time because what they really wanted was for someone to justify the reason for their failure rather than to point them in the right direction.2 The effort is better spent on your own affairs.
4. Consider the Long-Term Effect of Every Decision
Don’t make decisions in haste, especially those that may have a life changing affect on your future.
Everything we do changes the outcome. We do have control over our destiny. The career we choose, the friends we socialize with, even the books we read, all have an effect on where we are headed.3
5. Seek the Truth
People are not always trustworthy. We all know that. Always consider that which is not obvious. It will help you see through the lies.
The truth is so easy to tell. It never changes. However, when people tell lies, they need to remember the lie or else they might inadvertently tell it in a different way the next time.
You will eventually catch them in a lie when you pay attention to detail. Seek the truth, especially when it concerns your welfare.
6. Think About the Purpose You Serve
What purpose do you serve in life? Why are you here? Do you ever think about that? Well, maybe that’s getting a little spiritual. But it’s a good thing to contemplate. It can enlighten you and help you avoid wasting time with things that don’t fit with your value system that I talked about in my first commandment.
Ben Franklin wrote an essay in one of his newspapers, the Pennsylvania Gazette, on the value of one's life.4
He mathematically calculated that over one’s life they have sacrificed tens of thousands of livestock, poultry and fish for their own survival. Then he asked if one had given back to society anything equal to that. He discussed how one might just live for pleasure and never serve any purpose.
Heavy stuff to think about, isn’t it?
7. Read Between the Lines
There's usually hidden meaning in what people do and say. Paying close attention to the difference between what people tell you and how they behave will enlighten you to what they might be up to, or what’s really important to them.
This is what’s meant by the term “read between then lines.” Try to do that whenever things just don’t make sense. You might find the hidden meaning in people’s actions.
8. Always Be Dependable
One of the traits that I feel is most important is to show everyone that you are a dependable person. When I make a promise, I keep it. My friends will always know that when I say something is going to happen, it does.
Life is full of uncertainties, and keeping a promise can be difficult when conflicts arise. However, true friends who know you are always dependable will understand and appreciate the reason for breaking a promise when you have no choice.
A strong friendship is obvious when one can say "no" as easily as saying "yes". A true friend will respect the reason why someone can’t join them in an activity due to conflicting schedules.
All this becomes easy when you are known to be a dependable person in general.
9. Follow Your Own Rules, but Appreciate Those of Others
It’s essential that we obey the rules of the land as well as our own. They have been created to insure the integrity of the entire social spectrum.
Your own personal rules that are based on your value system are just as crucial. They help maintain a strict attitude towards your own life and live based on what’s important to you.
Keep in mind that others have their own value system rules for the same reason and they should be respected too.
10. Review Your Decisions
Sure, you always make decisions. However, how often do you forget about them? You had a plan, but other things got in the way and you totally forgot about something important that you wanted to do.
The best thing to do is to write down the decisions you make for your plans and your goals. Review it from time to time just to be sure you’re not overlooking those things that are most important to you.
11. Don’t Stop at Ten
The rules we choose to live by are what make us unique. Each of us is special in a different way. What I decide is best for me might not necessarily be the best for you.
The commandments I discussed above are meant to give you something to reflect on and maybe to help you create your own set of rules.
Your own commandments will be better than mine because they will be unique to your own values. No need to accept mine. Create your own. Just remember one thing. They must enrich your life. No need to share, all you need do is, keep it in your heart.
- Examples of Decalogue. Merriam Webster Dictionary
- Five Reasons Why People Don't Listen to Advice. PairedLife.com
- How to Make Powerfully Effective Wise Choices in Life. RemedyGrove.com
- Benjamin Franklin. On The Waste of Time.Pennsylvania Gazette (Nov 18, 1736)
© 2018 Glenn Stok