the 10 rules i live by. part 1.

As I have gotten older and grown out of childhood and into my own independent human, I, like most people in their twenties, have been working + struggling to figure out who I am + what I believe in. Especially in the year 2020, there can be so much noise and unnecessary labeling + “othering” of different groups or belief systems, everyone thinks they have it all figured out + believes that anyone who disagrees with their version of reality is simply out of touch. That might be okay for some people but if I’m honest, I really want more for my life and to think more of every single person on this earth.

Even though I have a hard time trying to make sense of the confusion and mixed messages, these are the 10 rules that make sense to me, everyday- no matter what. And I know I’ll want to live by these rules for the rest of my life, or until I read another mind blowing book, like these, and need to add to my list! And let me admit right now, I stray on these ideas- frequently. I am an imperfect human with the best intentions.

Rule #1: Take impeccable care of my body + my brain.

This rule is so important to me. I love my body so much. It would do anything for me + it deserves the best.

I always say that my goal is to live to be 102. The main reason is that I would have lived the entire 21st century (1998-2100) and that just seems epic! But even more than just being alive for all those years, I want to thrive. I want to give my body the best shot it has at living a long and healthy life.

I read a quote forever ago that stated, “everything you choose to eat is either fighting disease or fueling it,” and my mind was changed. I still feel so empowered reading that message and knowing that I have to power every single day to feed a healthy body. I have the power to take impeccable care of myself and to treat my body like it matters.

This shift in mindset has been so powerful in developing a healthy lifestyle for myself. It was no longer about restricting calories, seeing what I could “get away with,” or endlessly searching for gimmick diets- this was about the deepest, purest form of self love.

I truly believe my body deserves the best. I want to feed it the best foods and exercise in ways that I love. I am done with punishments and restrictions, I deserve the best. And so do you.

Even more than just food + exercise, I also require that I take care of my brain. I journal, I read, I inspire myself + get excited about life, I process negative emotions without food- I spend time investigating my thoughts and also choosing ones that serve me at the highest level.

Everything in life is determined by our thoughts, so to live the best life available to me, I must take impeccable care of my brain.

Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”

Heather Morgan, MS, NLC

Rule #2: Never make assumptions.

This is a rule that has been so relevant to me lately. It is so easy, and sometimes automatic, for humans to assume things about other humans- and usually we are assuming the worst. “That woman isn’t wearing a mask, she obviously doesn’t care about the health of others!” “They’re breaking the 6′ social distancing rule, wow they are so selfish!” “These people are wanting to go back to work, what idiots!”

We judge and we assume- and afterwards, we usually feel like crap. It feels so icky and gross to choose to see the worst in other people. We tell a story in our heads about other humans to make sense of their decisions or their choices and often times forget that just because we think something is true about someone doesn’t mean it is. It’s just an idea or story our brain has made up. That is all.

To combat my human tendency to assume the worst, I have made it a practice to challenge negative assumptions by putting myself in the other person’s shoes. I think too often we all forget that every other person on the planet lives a life just as complex and riddled with problems + emotions as we do. These people exist outside of any momentary interaction we have with them. There are a million other things contributing to the way that individual is showing up right now + I want to practice compassion by acknowledging the shared human experience.

Hi, I am a human + you are a human. I can deeply relate to you on the level of our humanness.

Aside from just assuming the worst in others, I also really purpose not to assume what others think of me. If I were to run on autopilot, my assumption of others thoughts would literally be that everyone hates me + thinks I am “too much.” No matter what they’ve said to me or how they treated me, if I am not managing my mind I will absolutely assume that everyone thinks I am a terrible person.

Not surprisingly, these kind of confidence crushing assumptions are not conducive to the kind of life I want to live- so a mini-rule within rule #2 is to STAY OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S BRAINS! Period. You don’t belong there. And you certainly don’t belong there if you are going to assume the worst and use what other people might be thinking to give yourself a mental beat down. It is unproductive and harmful.

If you really are going to spend your precious mental currency making assumptions, just assume the best. Assume everyone loves you, assume everyone is just doing their best with what they have and know, assume that other people are also human + are living the human experience, just like you.

If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.

Miguel Ruiz

Rule # 3: Never break a promise.

This rule isn’t just about promising to keep a secret or show up for a meeting on time, it’s about being someone that not only other people can trust, but that you can trust. It is about doing the things you say you will do.

In my experience, it is so much easier to show up for the things we are doing for other people. I would never intentionally show up late to a lunch date with a friend or blow off plans. If I say I am doing something for someone else, it is as good as done.

However, showing up for the promises I made with myself was a different story. For most of my life, I couldn’t trust myself to do the things I said I was going to do. Of course, this can be easily seen in my weight struggle, but even more than that I would break smaller promises with myself all the time. I would tell myself I was going to write the paper 2 weeks before the submission deadline, and suddenly I’m smashing out a 12 page paper the night before it is due. Little let downs and broken promises piled up until I had no trust in myself- it was a feeling of being completely out of control.

I never understood why I was doing this to myself! That is until I actually committed to this rule. I purposed to be the kind of person who never breaks a promise. I actively paid attention to the promises I was making and would only make promises I was prepared to keep.

A big part of never breaking a promise, is also agreeing to never over commit. There is a fine line between being generous and being a people-pleaser. If you want to be the kind of person who never breaks a promise, than you also have to be someone who only promises to do the things they are willing and want to do.

This doesn’t mean you will always love the things you are promising to do, but in your heart you should be doing them without expectations or resentment. When we resent others or do things only to make someone else happy, we are really manipulating them. We are intentionally agreeing to do things we don’t want to do + that we may not be able to follow through on, because we think others will look at us a certain way if we don’t. This is toxic. Drop the expectations and the resentment + live in alignment with the promises you really want to keep with yourself and others.

Wherever you go you will find people lying to you, and as your awareness grows, you will notice that you also lie to yourself. Do not expect people to tell you the truth because they also lie to themselves. You have to trust yourself and choose to believe or not to believe what someone says to you.

Miguel Ruiz

Rule #4: Never play small.

This is a rule I stray from almost daily + I know a lot of people battle with this too. I have this thought that I am too much. I am too passionate, too ambitious, too eager, too outgoing, too different and this one thought of being seen as “too much” has led me to play so small in my life. I often water down my personality and what I am passionate about to “fit in” or seem normal.

I have faced ridicule from the people in my life for being “too much” and while it sucks to feel different or weird, I also know I get the final say in who I am and how I show up in my life. And I am done playing small. It is a challenge everyday to force myself out of my own private shell and share who I am with others, but the thought of living my life as only half of who I really am is 100x more terrifying than anything anyone else could ever think or say about me. 

This rule is a commitment to just keep going and continue becoming more of exactly who I am. And I invite everyone to share more of their authenticity and passion and goals with the world.

I think the best way for all of us to put this rule into action is to actively work towards our big, scary goals and dreams + pursue the best version of ourselves daily. Breaking out of our protective bubbles and chasing after the things we want and who we want to be has proven to be extremely empowering and liberating in my life, while at the same time I feel I have only scratched the surface.

Let’s all commit to never play small and be all that we are + can be without hesitation.

We have patiently suffered long enough, hoping that someone or some kind of luck would one day grant us more opportunity and happiness. But nothing external can save us, and the fateful hour is at hand when we either become trapped at this level of life or we choose to ascend to a higher plane of consciousness and joy. In this ailing and turbulent world, we must find peace within and become more self-reliant in creating the life we deserve.

Brendon Burchard

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