My Rules for Living


Balance the main thing, as in the Greeks' "Meden Agan" and Horace's "Quisquis auream mediocritatem diligit..." Strive to have balance between:

  • Teaching and Learning, like Chaucer's "Oxford Cleric, still a student though, one who had taken logic long ago...And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach," be willing to share knowledge with others, and ready to learn from anyone, because the sources of wisdom can be surprising.
  • Talking and Listening - those who talk all the time don't learn from others, or at least don't learn from those who aren't as aggressively outgoing as they are. Quiet people are just as worth listening to as noisy people, even though they don't get as much of a chance to validate their ideas by discussing them with others. Both talking and listening are necessary to making a real connection with another person. Too little of either, and there's the risk of a one-way relationship.
  • Writing and Reading - you learn mostly by reading, but also by writing. It forces you to think things through and concretize your thoughts.

Be open with others, willing to reveal things about yourself. This leaves you vulnerable, and the way to protect yourself is the way you play Push Hands in Tai Ji Quan. You're in close contact with your partner/opponent, so you can sense and deflect aggressive moves.

Accept Love Where You Can Get It
It's easy to keep track of those you care about, and how much. It's harder to be mindful of those who care about you, but this love is a precious commodity, hard to obtain, not to be lightly discarded or ignored.

Walking Backwards
Never walk backwards, if you're in a horror film.

You have several accounts in the world, beside your bank account:

  • Good Feeling: Think of the people who care about you, and how much they care. Add up the parts, starting with those who are closest to you and care the most, going on to friends who care a medium amount, and acquaintances who care a bit. Add up all this good feeling to get your account balance.
  • Karma: This is the amount of good you've done for others beyond the good they've done for you.
  • Contribution: Add up what you've accomplished to make the world a better place. You're ahead in the accounting if this amount is greater than what the world at large has contributed to make you what you are.

Copyright © 2001-2005 by Dean Wallraff. All rights reserved.