One of the most challenging—and most helpful and fun—tasks that I’ve done as part of my Happiness Project is to write myTwelve Personal Commandments. These aren’t specific resolutions, like make my bed, but the overarching principles by which I try to live my life.
It took me several months to come up with this list, and it has been very useful for me to have them identified clearly in my mind. It’s a creative way of distilling core values.
To get you started as you think about your own commandments, here are my Twelve Commandments:
1. Be Shahinaz.
2. Let it go.
3. Act the way I want to feel.
4. Do it now.
5. Be polite and be fair.
6. Enjoy the process.
7. Spend out. (This is probably the most enigmatic of my commandments.)
8. Identify the problem.
9. Lighten up.
10. Do what ought to be done.
11. No calculation.
12. There is only love.
So how do you come up with your own list?
Consider phrases that have stuck with you.
When I look at my Twelve Commandments, I realize each person had an influence on me, but I take what I want and filter what I want and I respect each one instilled me “No calculation” is a paraphrase of my spiritual master St. Therese (“When one loves, one does not calculate”), and “Act the way I want to feel” is a paraphrase of William James.
Aim high and fight the urge to be too comprehensive.
I’ve found that my commandments help me most when I review them at least daily, to keep them fresh in my mind, and to do this, it helps to keep the list short and snappy. I suspect that Twelve Commandments is too much. Maybe I only need two, “Be Shahinaz” and “There is only love.”
Think about what’s true for you.
Each person’s list will differ. One person’s commandment is to “Say yes,” another person’s commandment is to “Say no.” You need to think about yourself, your values, your strengths and weaknesses, your point of interests!
I’ve written about commandments in the past, and it’s fascinating to read other people’s commandments. For instance:
Make a scrap book
Talk to anyone your sister or boss about your problem
People are important choose your like minded ones and stay in touch – Use Minimalism
Search for big ideas
My mind to me a kingdom is
Have you identified some of your own personal commandments? What are they? Please consider posting them. It’s so interesting to see what other people identify.
I’m working on my Self development MBA, and You, could have one ,too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.
* I’m fond of my friend Gretchen Rubin, Nuridin Islam and Amir Anzur and Lasse Rouhiainen and Josh Kaufman and Mohamed Alborno and all my Deep readers i think of, terrific blog, self development—”on ESSDS” Useful and meaty, interesting and intuitive. Who knew that clutter could be funny?