Do you have a set of rules, or principles, that guide how you approach life? I’d be willing to guess that you have some core values that whether consciously, or not, influence your day-to-day activities in some way.
Recently I’ve come across a couple of people who have articulated their principles as something to help hold themselves to account.
John Perry Barlow, founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, had a list of 25 principles of adult behaviour. Here’s the first 10:
1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, never blame. Say nothing behind another’s back you’d be unwilling to say, in exactly the same tone and language, to his face.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you yourself can deliver.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
John Maeda of Automattic identified four rules that he uses as “a compass to live my life by”:
- Don’t speak ill of others
- Avoid passive aggressive behvior
- Listen broadly, but don’t waffle on decisions
- When in error – admit, apologize, move forward
Both Barlow and Maeda are clear that perfection isn’t the aim. These principles are something to strive for. Sometimes we might fail but having a set of standards that we can return to in those situations can help us to reflect, learn from our mistakes and do better next time.