100 Very Short Rules for a Better Life
Ryan Holiday’s favorite lessons on success, relationships, and being a good human
In his essay On the Happy Life, the philosopher Seneca makes an extended list of rules for living a good life. It’s everyone’s wish to live better, he says, but we are often in the dark on how to do so.
Except… we’re not. At least, we don’t have to be. So many people have struggled in the dark before us, and their experiences and lessons have created light. Living a good life starts with learning from one another.
With that in mind, here are 100 rules that have helped me live the life I want. Some have come from my own experiences. Others are pieces of advice I’ve been given, or wisdom from things I’ve studied. Your mileage may vary for each of these, but hopefully some of them will help you in your own pursuit of living a good life.
1. Wake up early.
2. Ask: Am I using this technology, or is it using me?
3. Forget about outcomes — focus on making a little progress every day.
4. Say no (a lot).
5. Read something every day.
7. Comparison leads to unhappiness.
9. Strenuous exercise every single day.
10. Character is fate.
11. Practice the law of action, not attraction. Instead of envisioning the future you want, create it.
12. Get up when you fall/fail.
13. Prove your life’s philosophy with actions over words (and that’s not easy).
14. Don’t argue with facts just because you don’t like them.
15. It’s not about routine but about practice.
16. Forget credit. Do the work.
17. Do a kindness each day.
18. Every situation “has two handles,” Epicurus said. Choose the one that allows you to see the meaning and good that can come out of suffering.