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25 summer goals

Set seasonal goals – start with summer!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer (at least to those who live in the Northern Hemisphere). Some of the telltale signs of summer include the weather heating up; everyone starts smelling heavily of sunscreen; and the stores are suddenly stocked with beach umbrellas, boogie boards, and pool toys.

One of the best ways to make sure that you have a great summer is to set goals for the summer. Below you’ll find 25 summer goals to make the most of the season.

Idea Book - 500 Ideas For Your Summer Bucket List1. Meditate Outdoors. One of the great things about summer is that you can take your meditation routine outside. Try walking meditation — go out for a walk and cultivate mindfulness by placing all of your awareness on walking. Imagine that you’re kissing the earth with your feet with each step.

You can also try Tai chi in the park, or yoga at the beach.

yoga at the beach

2. Make a New Friend. Regardless of your age, it’s important to socialize. Summer is a good time to make friends—either meet new people or turn an acquaintance into a friend—since there are so many activities for people to participate in together.

Invite someone to join you for a bike ride, a hike, or a game of tennis. Get things off to a good start with the 36 questions to kick-start a friendship.

3. Try a New Hobby. There are many hobbies which are perfect for the summer months. One of these is photography. A great way to improve your photography skills is by tackling a project, such as taking a photo of something that represents the season every day throughout the summer. Here are some ideas:

  • Pool floats
  • Summer plants and flowers
  • Jumping into the water
  • Fourth of July Shenanigans

summer goals

Another hobby you can try is coloring. Get yourself a box of colored pencils, some coloring books for adults, and head on outside to sit under a tree and color your heart out. Then, share your masterpiece on social media.

4. Stay Hydrated. When you’re out in the summer heat you have to make sure that you stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you—preferably one made of glass– and eat fruits that are high in water content, like watermelon. Drinking coconut water is also a good idea.

5. Read a Classic. Summer is for reading trashy novels while lying on a beach towel, and I certainly don’t intend to interfere with this time-honored tradition. However, it’s a good idea to squeeze at least one classic into your summer reading list.

I recommend reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but other good choices include “Middlemarch” by George Eliot, or “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy.

reading at the beach

6. Try a New Lawn Game. Lawn games are outdoor games that can be played on a lawn. This summer, set the goal to play at least one lawn game you’ve never played before. Here are three ideas for lawn games you can try:

  • Washer Toss: This game is similar to horseshoes. Washer Toss involves teams of players that take turns tossing washers–metal disks about two inches in diameter–towards a pipe placed in the center of a box.
  • Kan Jam: Kan Jam is a flying disc game. It’s played with a flying disc and two large cans. The goal is to get the disc to hit the kan, or to go into it (either through the opening on top or the slit on the side). 
  • Spikeball: Spikeball is a game that’s similar to volleyball, but it’s played with a small trampoline instead of a net. It’s usually played with four players. You smack the ball over to your opponent–just as you would in volleyball–but the ball has to bounce on the trampoline first.

7. Tackle a Personal Development Goal. Be a better person by the time fall comes around by tackling a personal development goal this summer. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

8. Learn to Do Push-Ups. Doing push-ups has many benefits, not the least of which is having strong, toned, sexy arms.

Push-ups are a compound exercise which calls upon multiple muscle groups. This means your heart has to work hard to pump blood to all that muscle tissue, so it’s also getting a workout. Doing push-ups also improves your posture, it helps you to prevent lower-back injuries, and it strengthens your core.

Progress your way to the perfect push-up. Start with an inclined push-up by using a bench or a barbell on a rack. Gradually lower the position of the bar until you can do a push-up on the floor. Aim for being able to do ten push-ups in a row, all with proper form.

9. Enjoy Simple Summer Pleasures. Make a long list of simple summer pleasures to engage in this summer. Your list can include walking barefoot on the grass, filling vases with brightly colored geraniums and placing them around the house, eating strawberry popsicles, and lounging in a hammock.

Then, each day of the summer, engage in at least one of these activities.


10. Knock One Item Off of Your Travel Bucket List. One way to make this a memorable summer is by going somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. So, take out your travel bucket list, choose a destination, and plan your vacation. Then, when you get back, regale your friends with tales of foreign lands, exotic foods, and mysterious folks.

11. Complete a DIY Project. Completing a DIY project can be incredibly fulfilling, and there’s no shortage of projects you can try. Put up shelves (to hold all the books you’ll be reading this summer), build a stone path for your garden, or build a bird bath.

12. Make Your Own Beauty Products. Making your own beauty products is healthier than using store bought brands which are filled with toxic chemicals. It also costs less in the long run. I make my own face wash, deodorant, conditioner, hair dye, facial mask, and toothpaste.

You can start making one beauty product and move up from there.

13. Learn a New Skill. This summer, set aside one-hour-a-day to learn a new skill. Here are three ideas:

  • Learn how to use GIMP or some other graphics editor for image retouching and editing.
  • Learn how to use a good presentation-making tool like MS Powerpoint, Prezi, Keynote, or Canva.
  • Learn how to cleanse your house properly and quickly.

14. Hold a Fundraiser. Hold a fundraiser and donate all of the money that you make to your local charity. Ideas include the following:

  • Hold a car wash.
  • Hold a dog wash.
  • Hold a garage sale.
  • Hod a “Bingo Night” — have prizes donated and charge an entrance fee.
  • Set up a smoothie stand — this is a twist on the traditional lemonade stand.

15. Have a Laugh a Day. Make this a joyful summer by setting the goal to laugh every day of the summer. Laughing has a myriad of physical and mental heath benefits. Plus, it just feels good to laugh. Need ideas on how to laugh more? Here’s 22 of them.

16. Play a Giant Board Game. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post on 12 Board Games for Developing Thinking Abilities and Life Skills. Given the many benefits of playing board games, make sure to incorporate board games into your summer.

However, give playing board games a summer twist by playing outside–you can play in your backyard or at the park. And, of course, since you’ll be in the great outdoors, you’ll need giant board games. You can try giant scrabble, giant chess, or giant Chinese checkers.

giant chinese chckers

17. Make Your Home Green. This summer, do your part to save the planet by taking one step to green your home. Some easy ideas are: recycle, buy a houseplant, get a reusable water bottle, leak-proof your home, use water wisely, and use non-toxic cleaners.

18. Make Some Extra Money. Every season brings with it opportunities to make some extra money. Summer money-making ideas include starting a lawn mowing business; taking care of pets while their owners are away on vacation (water their plants while you’re at it); and barbecue catering.

19. Try a New Sport. One of the great things about summer is that you get to spend lots of time in nature and the great outdoors. This means there’s lots of sports you can participate in. This summer, set the goal of trying a sport you’ve never tried before.

It can be a water sport–such as paddleboarding or skimboarding–, or it can be a land sport–such as rollerblading or archery.


20. Swim in A Natural Body of Water. This summer, make sure to swim in a natural body of water, whether it’s the ocean, a lake, or a river. Not only is swimming great exercise, but contact with natural water stimulates the immune system. In addition, some people compare floating in a lake or in the ocean when the water is calm to a meditative experience.

21. Play Mini-Golf. For many, playing a round of miniature golf is a summer tradition. Mini-golf can be played by anyone, from the little ones to the grandparents, so make it a family outing.

22. Plant Something. Feel immediately reconnected to the earth this summer by planting and growing something. Here are two things you can grow:

  • Create a fairy garden — a miniature garden complete with tiny structures and small plants.
  • Grow a vertical vegetable garden –you can create one using shelves, hanging baskets, or trellises.

23. Watch the Big Movie Blockbuster of 2016. There are going to be lots of great movies to watch this summer. For me, the blockbuster of the season is going to be X-Men: Apocalypse (I’m a big fan of the X-Men). There’s also Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, and Steven Spielberg’s The BFG.

24. Watch the Summer Olympics. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio have been mired in controversy, including water pollution problems, the Zika virus, a presidential impeachment, gang violence, and the collapse of a bicycle path built for the summer games.

Nonetheless, it looks like the games will go on. So, make yourself a snack, sit down in front of the TV, and cheer for your favorite athletes. You can even invite a group of friends over for a Summer Olympics party.

25. Try a New Ice Cream Flavor. Summer is ice cream season. My favorite ice cream flavor is Rocky Road. It’s been my favorite since I was a little kid, and I’m pretty sure it always will be. I’m sure you have a favorite flavor, as well.

However, everyone should be open to trying new ice cream flavors for the sake of novelty. Each year new ice cream flavors come out, so find one that looks tempting, and dig in.

blueberry ice cream


Have a great summer by setting summer goals. You can find 500 summer goals to choose from in my eBook,  “Idea Book: 500 Ideas For Your Summer Bucket List“.


Summer Bucket List Ideas

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be more conscientious

Conscientiousness is the personality trait most directly linked to success.

Conscientiousness is one of the five traits of the Five Factor Model of personality. This model suggests that a person’s personality can be described using five traits: openness, agreeableness, extroversion, neuroticism and conscientiousness. At the same time, studies show that the most important personality trait for predicting success is conscientiousness.

onehouradayformula banner longThe Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “conscientious” as “very careful about doing what you are supposed to do : concerned with doing something correctly”. Here are some of the many benefits of being conscientious:

As an illustration, if Tom and Anne are conscientious, they’re likely to be at a healthy weight, be happy at work, have a good marriage, and have paid off their mortgage.

On the other hand, if Bob and Laura score low on conscientiousness, they’re likely to be overweight, dislike their jobs, be headed toward divorce, and have tons of debt.

The good news is that conscientiousness can be cultivated, even into old age. You become more conscientious by adopting the habits and attitudes of conscientious people. Below you’ll find 19 ways to be more conscientious.

1. Conscientious people pay their bills on time. People who are not conscientious are late paying their bills, so they end up paying late fees and their credit rating is negatively affected. Be more conscientious by setting up a bill paying schedule and sticking to it.

2. Conscientious people spend less than they make and set aside some money for savings and retirement each month. They plan their purchases and are less likely to buy stuff on whim – they think of the future consequences of what they buy.

People with low conscientiousness tend to spend their money almost as fast as they make it. To become more conscientious, create a budget and don’t exceed your spending limits.

3. Conscientious people live in clean, organized homes. People who are not conscientious live in wildly cluttered, untidy homes. This causes stress, it means they lose time trying to find lost items, and it generally creates a chaotic living environment.

To be more conscientious, declutter your living space. Then, create a cleaning schedule that works for you.

4. Conscientious people plan their day, while people who are not conscientious wing it. To be more conscientious, take five minutes before going to bed at night, or five minutes in the morning, and plan your day. Create a realistic daily schedule, and stick to it.

5. Conscientious people wear clothes that are clean and ironed, and that fit well. People who are not conscientious wear clothes that are stained and/or wrinkled, and which are usually too big or too small.

To be more conscientious, declutter your closet and make sure that everything that you put back in looks good on you and is ready to be worn. Then, start following wardrobe maintenance essentials.

6. Conscientious people purchase, prepare, and eat healthy meals. People who are not conscientious grab whatever they can find to eat, which means that they often end up eating meals which are high in calories and low on nutrients.

Become more conscientious by planning your meals weekly and organizing yourself so that you can cook yourself healthy meals.

7. Conscientious people keep their desks clean and tidy at work, with all of their papers filed away for easy access. People who are not conscientious have piles of paper sitting on their desks, they can never find a pen when they need one, and they usually have a few half-filled coffee mugs lying around.

Become more conscientious by decluttering your desk, setting up an effective filing system that allows you to quickly find the documents that you need, and by taking a few minutes to clear your desk before you leave work each evening.

8. Conscientious people are punctual. People who are not conscientious are chronically late, and are constantly missing appointments. To be more conscientious, work on your punctuality.

9. Conscientious people finish what they start. People who are not conscientious have poor follow through. If you want to be more conscientious, create the habit of sticking to a task, project, or goal, until you cross the finish line.

10. Conscientious people are dependable; when they say they’re going to do something, they do it. People who are not conscientious are constantly breaking promises and letting others down.

To become more conscientious, don’t commit to more than you can handle. In addition, when you do make a commitment to do something, uphold your commitment.

11. Conscientious people have grit; they persevere until they get the job done. People who score low on conscientiousness tend to give up when the going gets tough. To become more conscientious, work on becoming more perseverant.

12. Conscientious people are polite; they’re respectful of others. People who are not conscientious tend to be oblivious to social propriety.

If you want to be more conscientious, you may want to brush up on your etiquette, review George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Descent Behavior, or just pay more attention to how your behavior affects others.

13. Conscientious people eat the frog –they work on the most difficult task of the day first, in order to get it over with. People who are not conscientious avoid difficult tasks. If you want to become more conscientious, tackle the most difficult task of the day before 10 am.

14. Conscientious people meet deadlines. People who are not conscientious procrastinate on tasks until the last minute, which means that they often miss deadlines and have to ask for extensions.

If you want to be more conscientious, stop procrastinating and start handing assignments in on time and meeting project deadlines.

15. Conscientious people go to bed 7.5 hours before they have to wake up so that they can get enough sleep and get up when the alarm goes off. This means that they’ll be able to get to work on time, take their kids to school before the bell rings, or be on time for their first morning activity.

People who are not conscientious stay up later then they should and then oversleep the next morning. This means that they get a late start, which sets a bad tone for the rest of the day. If you want to be more conscientious, start following a sleep schedule.

16. Conscientious people get some form of exercise on a regular basis. People who are not conscientious lack the self-discipline to follow a fitness regime. If you want to be more conscientious, take up some sort of physical activity which you’ll engage in routinely.

17. Conscientious people have good impulse control. That is, they have high self-regulation. People who are not conscientious usually have low self-regulation. To become more conscientious, work on becoming better at regulating yourself.

18. Conscientious people are goal oriented. People who are not conscientious are usually not goal setters. If you want to be more conscientious, sit down and set some goals that are important to you, and create a plan for achieving those goals.

19. Conscientious people have an internal locus of control. That is, they take responsibility for themselves and what they do. People with low levels of conscientiousness have an external locus of control. When something goes wrong they blame others, or the circumstances, and refuse to take responsibility.

In order to make yourself more conscientious, begin cultivating the belief that you’re in control of your life, and whether you fail or succeed depends on you.


Keep in mind that there’s a scale of conscientiousness. All you need to do is work on moving up the scale until you reach the point at which you’re getting the results that you want from life.

Live your best life by being more conscientious. Get started by doing the 19 things listed above.

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self-improvement tips for making more money

To make more money, you have to become the type of person who makes more money.

There are an endless amount of tactics, strategies, and techniques for making more money. Some of them include freelancing, asking for a raise, turning your hobby into a side-business, promoting other people’s products, writing a book, and creating an app.

So, with so many ways to make money, why don’t people make the amount of money that they want to be making?

onehouradayformula banner longPeople don’t make the amount of money that they want to make not because the opportunities for making more money don’t exist, but because they’re not the type of person who is able to fully appreciate, and take advantage of, those opportunities. That is, because they do things like the following:

  • When they notice an opportunity they fail to act on it.
  • They decide that the opportunity is just too risky.
  • They start to take action, but then they don’t follow through .

To become the type of person who makes more money, you have to work on yourself. Then, when you’re ready to make more money, you will. Below you’ll find 15 self-improvement tips for making more money.

1. Stop Procrastinating. Procrastination can cost you big time when it comes to money. Look at the following:

  • You see a job posting for a position you’d be ideal for, that pays more money than you’re making now. However, you keep procrastinating on updating your resume and sending it in, until it’s too late.
  • You have an idea for an online course that you think would sell well, but you keep procrastinating on learning how to make videos.
  • You know there are courses you should take to make yourself more marketable, but you keep putting it off.

In order to make more money, you need to stop procrastinating.

2. Increase Your Self-Esteem. There’s a positive correlation between self-esteem and money. That is, the better you feel about yourself, the more money you’re likely to make, and be able to keep. Confident people have all of the following going for them when it comes to making more money:

  • They make better connections. Their friends are likely to be more successful, which makes it more likely they’ll be sent opportunities their way.
  • They’re less likely to give in to fear. After all, they feel that they have what it takes to do well and get what they want.
  • They’re better emotionally equipped to ignore naysayers.
  • They’re better at setting boundaries and placing limits on demands for their time and other resources from others.

To increase your net worth, begin by increasing your self-esteem.

3. Change Your Beliefs. As I wrote in my post, 35 Powerful Beliefs About Money: From Trump to the Dalai Lama, in order to make more money you need to create empowering beliefs about wealth. Here are a few negative beliefs about money:

  • It’s hard to make money.
  • Wealthy people are spiritually bankrupt.
  • If I make more money, that means others have to make less.

Now, compare those negative beliefs about money with these positive beliefs:

  • Money is what you receive for creating value, and I have lots of value to give.
  • The more money I have, the more good I can do for others.
  • There’s enough for everyone.

Obviously, it will be a lot easier for the person with the positive money beliefs to be wealthy than it would be for the person with the negative money beliefs. If you want to make more money, change your beliefs about money.

4. Build Your Courage. Making money takes courage. In order to make money you have to put yourself out there, take smart risks, and convince others that what you have to offer is worth their money. That is, you have to be brave.

5. Read More. One of the habits that most wealthy people share is that they read. According to Thomas Corley, author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals,” wealthy people love to read.

In fact, 88 percent of rich people claim that they read for self-improvement–both books on finances and personal development–for 30 minutes or more per day.

6. Stop Being Afraid of Failure. In order to make more money you have to act on your ideas. Your ideas may be right, which means you’ll succeed. But your ideas could also be wrong, which means that you’ll fail. If you’re so scared to fail that you don’t test your ideas, how can you expect to succeed?

If you want to make more money, you have to be willing to fail.

7. Take Responsibility. Lots of people have a long list of excuses of why they’re not making more money. And the excuses usually involve somebody else, or something outside of themselves. Look at the following:

  • I can’t make more money because of the state of the economy.
  • I can’t make more money because my boss is a jerk who won’t recognize my worth and won’t give me a raise.
  • I can’t make more money because my parents failed to provide me with the education that I need.

People who  become wealthy believe that they’re in control of their lives, and that making money depends on them and on what they do. If you want make more money, take responsibility for yourself and for your financial situation.

8. Make Yourself Lucky. What does luck have to do with making more money? A lot. Making money is a combination of skill and luck. That’s because there’s randomness involved in everything you do, which means that chance plays a role in how the chips fall.

However, as I explain in my post, “How to Make Yourself Lucky“, there are things you can do to improve your luck. These include the following:

  • Lucky people have the ability to maximize chance opportunities.
  • Lucky people listen to their “gut feelings”.
  • Lucky people expect good fortune.
  • Lucky people see the bright side of bad luck.

In order to make more money, make yourself lucky.

9. Learn to Manage Risk. Making money almost always requires taking risks. Here are some examples:

  • Investing in the stock market is riskier than putting your money in a savings account, but it will make you more money in the long run.
  • Starting your own business is riskier than holding down a job, but it also has the potential to make you a lot more money.
  • Asking for more responsibility at work is riskier than just sticking to what you already know, but it also makes it more likely that you’ll get promoted and be given a raise.

Learning to manage risk is vitally important if you want to make more money.

10. Learn to Focus. In order to make money you have to stop flip flopping from one thing to another. Choose carefully what you’re going to devote your time and attention to, and then give that project everything you’ve got until it’s done.

Ten half-completed projects won’t make you any money. However, one well-chosen project carried out to completion, will. Learn to focus on one thing.

11. Strengthen Your Self-Discipline. There are at least two ways in which having self-discipline will help you to become wealthy:

  • First, you have to have the self-discipline to set some money aside each month in order to invest it so that you can make more money.
  • Second, whatever method, technique, or strategy you choose for making more money, you’re going to need the discipline to work on it day in and day out until you get results.

Without self-discipline, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever become wealthy.

12. Boost Your Happiness. There are studies that show that happy people make more money. Therefore, instead of telling yourself that you’ll be happy once you start making more money, boost your happiness now. Once you’re happier, you’ll start making more money.

Here are some of the reasons why this is so:

  • Happy people are more optimistic, which makes them more open to opportunity and new experiences.
  • Happiness plays a role in overall well-being, which impacts your health. The healthier you are, the more time you can spend working on increasing your income.
  • Happy people are more likely to invest in themselves–in education, fitness related activities, personal development, and so on. The more you invest in yourself, the more likely it is that this investment will pay off in the form of increased income.

Increase your wealth by increasing your happiness.

13. Learn to Manage Your Time. One of the main reasons that people give for not making more money is lack of time. That is, they don’t have the time to look for opportunities, learn new skills, or do the necessary work.

Although there will always be just 24 hours in a day, no matter what you do, you can “find time” for making more money by learning to manage your time. In fact, to make more money, all that you need is just one-hour-a-day.

14. Set Goals. In order to become wealthy you have to set the goal to make more money. Your goal should specify all of the following:

  • How much money do you want to make?
  • What are you going to do to make that amount of money?
  • By when do you want to be making that amount of money?

Remember to start off with an amount that’s small enough to be reasonable. Then, move up from there. Here are three examples:

  • In six months I’ll be making an additional $100 a month by adding Google Adsense to my blog and posting high-quality articles at least once a week to increase traffic to my blog.
  • Within the next 12 months I’ll have applied for and gotten a new job which pays 5% more than the job I have now.
  • By the end of the year I’ll have set aside $5000 to invest in income producing assets by taking on freelancing gigs.

15. Increase Your Motivation. A lot of people set the goal of making more money and get to work on their goal right away. However, if they don’t see results in a short amount of time, they lose their motivation.

If you want to make more money, you have to keep your motivation high until you succeed.


Live your best life by becoming the type of person who makes more money. Start by following the 15 self-improvement tips for making more money explained above.

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happy birthday

Birthdays are an important milestone.

Today, May 2nd, is my birthday. It’s a holiday here in Panama today (because it’s Labor Day, not because it’s my birthday). To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I’ve collected the 25 birthday quotes below:

  • onehouradayformula banner long“The first fact about the celebration of birthdays is that it is a good way of affirming defiantly, and even flamboyantly, that it is a good thing to be alive.” – G.K. Chesterton
  • “Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.” – Menachem Mendel Schneerson
  • “Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” – Larry Lorenzoni
  • “Someone asked me once what I wanted for my birthday. I said, ‘I want more. More love, more laughter, more peace, more fun, more good days than bad.’ Simply more!” – Anonymous
  • “You don’t get older, you get better.” – Shirley Bassey
  • “Old enough to know better…Young enough to still do it.” – Anonymous
  • “Pleas’d to look forward, pleas’d to look behind, And count each birthday with a grateful mind.” – Alexander Pope
  • “The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune.” – Pope Paul VI
  • “Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” – Pope John XXIII
  • “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” – Madeleine L’Engle
  • “Don’t just count your years, make your years count.” – George Meredith
  • “Every year on your birthday, you get a chance to start new.” Sammy Hagar
  • “A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip!” – Author Unknown
  • “Youth has no age.” – Pablo Picasso
  • “A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.” – Robert Frost
  • “I intend to live forever — so far, so good!” – Stephen Wright
  • “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
  • “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” – Lucille Ball
  • “Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” – Franz Kafka
  • “Youth had been a habit of hers for so long that she could not part with it.” – Rudyard Kipling
  • “Age is just a number – totally irrelevant. Unless you happen to be a bottle of wine.” – Joan Collins
  • “Deep down I believe my year was a special year: it produced me.” – Ned Vizzini
  • “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr. Seuss
  • “A man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it.” – By R. C. Ferguson
  • “May you live all the days of your life.” – Jonathan Swift
  • “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford


Keep these quotes handy so you can take them out on your birthday. And, happy birthday to me! 🙂

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creative spark

Sometimes your creative spark goes out, and needs to be reignited.

In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals.  This gift of divine fire unleashed a flood of inventiveness and productivity in humanity. However, sometimes, that fire goes out.

If you currently feel like you’re sitting in a dark cave and the fire of creativity refuses to be ignited, below you’ll find seven ways to reignite your creative spark.

1. Toss In the Kitchen Sink

onehouradayformula banner longLife coach Martha Beck recommends that when you need to ignite your creativity in order to solve a particular problem, that you toss in the kitchen sink.  The process is the following:

  • Think of the problem that you’re having.
  • With this challenge in mind, read bits and pieces of several different books on non-related items.  One can be a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, another can be a book on bat behavior, and still another can be a book about raising alpacas.
  • The third step is to relax.  This can mean driving to your favorite rollerblading location while listening to an audio tape of a stand-up-comedian, and then rollerblading until a solution pops into your head.
  • If no solution is forthcoming, think of the problem periodically and then drop it again.

Following this process allows the right-brain hemisphere to step in and help you solve the problem. Here’s an example Beck uses:

“Laura wanted to travel but hated kenneling her yellow Lab, Buster. She also had partial hearing loss due to meningitis. One day when she had trouble hearing a flight attendant—ping!—she realized she could train Buster as a hearing service dog. Now they fly the skies in style together.”

2. If You See a Good Idea, Bend Down and Pick it Up

A lot of the time, when we have an idea we stop ourselves from pursuing it by saying the following: “If this were a good idea, someone would already have thought of it”. However, that’s not always the case.

There’s a story of a man who was walking down the street with an economist. As they were walking along he noticed a $10 bill on the sidewalk. Since the bill was closer to the economist, he thought that the economist would stop and bend over to pick it up. Instead, the economist walked right past the $10 bill.

At this point, the man stopped and asked the economist: “Why didn’t you pick up the $10 bill that was lying on the sidewalk? It was right next to your foot.” And the economist answered: “There can’t be a $10 bill lying on the sidewalk, because if there were, someone would already have picked it up.”

How many times have you had the spark of a great idea, but you’ve neglected to follow through on it because you told yourself that if it were a good idea, someone else would already have thought of it? Stop assuming that all the great ideas are already taken.

If you think you see a good idea, bend down, pick it up, and run with it.

3. Release Your Need for Recognition

A lot of the time, our need for some extrinsic reward, or external validation for our work, chokes our creativity. Here are some examples:

  • We may want our short story to be published in this or that magazine;
  • Our objective may be for our painting to be hung in the best gallery in town;
  • We may be hoping to win some award or other; or
  • We may be looking to be praised by someone we hold in high esteem.

You need to release the focus on an external reinforcement of your work, and, instead, allow yourself the freedom to focus on creating for the sake of creating itself.  Charles Johnson says this beautifully in the following quote:

“I think a real writer simply has to think in other terms. Not, ‘Will I get in this magazine?’ ‘Will I get the NEA next year?’ but whether or not this work is something he would do if a gun was held to his head and somebody was going to pull the trigger as soon as the last word of the last paragraph of the last page was finished.

Now if you can write out of the sense that you’re going to die as soon as the work is done, then you will write with urgency, honesty, courage, and without flinching at all, as if this were the last testament in language, the last utterance you could ever make to anybody.

If a work is written like that, then I want to read it. If somebody’s writing out of that sense, then I’ll say, ‘This is serious. This person is not fooling around. This work is not a means to some other end, the work is not just intended for some silly superficial goal, this work is the writer saying something, because he or she feels that if it isn’t said, it will never be said.’ Those are the writers I want to read. And there are not many twentieth-century writers like that.”

4. Who Cares What They’ll Think

Sir Ken Robinson argues in his book “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” that we need to look for that “sweet spot” in which our talent meets our passion; that’s our element. One of the chapters in the book is titled: “What will they think?”

In that chapter, Robinson explains that many times we don’t discover what we truly love and are talented at because of self-censorship. We’re afraid to go against the grain and be ridiculed by society.

In addition, opinions offered by friends and family–often well intentioned–can derail us from pursuing what we’re uniquely good at. I would argue that this same fear of what others will think can derail our creativity.

Robinson uses Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho as an example of how people can find disapproval for trying to follow their passion, if that passion is not in line with what is considered a traditionally acceptable career. Coehlo–author of “The Alchemist” and one of the world’s best-selling authors–wanted to be a writer since he was a kid.

Unfortunately, his parents greatly disapproved of this since it was not in line with what was expected from the son of people of their station. Yet Coelho persisted. When Coelho was approaching the age at which most people go to college, he wouldn’t let go of the idea of being a writer.

At this point, his parents had him committed to a mental institution. Coelho was given three sessions of electroconvulsive therapy to try and get the idea of being a writer out of his head. Fortunately, it didn’t work, and he turned into the Paulo Coelho we know.

Worrying about what others will think is like throwing a cold bucket of water on your creative spark.  If you’re trying to ignite your creative spark, one of the best things you can do is to follow Paulo Coelho’s lead and do what you feel you need to do, despite what anyone else may think.

5. Create a Shrine

Create a shrine filled with objects that inspire you to create every time that you look at them. In the book “Creative Sparks”, Jim Krause explains that a shrine is:

“ . . . a place or piece of furniture used to remind us of meaningful intangibles through the display of meaningful tangibles.”

Your shrine could be a place on a shelf or in a cabinet. It can include books, beads, letters, candles, small statues, artwork, images, photos, and so on. Look for things that remind you of your creative-self.

6. Use Affirmations

Eric Maisel–a psychotherapist and creativity consultant–is the author of “Affirmations for Artists”. The book is arranged alphabetically by subject (Ambition, Anxiety, Day Jobs, Depression, Failure, Fear, Inspiration, Success, and so on), with one page devoted to each subject.

Each page includes quotes from famous artists, a short paragraph to consider, and an empowering affirmation. Here’s an example of one of his affirmations (Ambition):

“I am ambitious, I want; I want so very much! I do not deny my ambitiousness; but I affirm that I will temper it with an appreciation of other things. There is both the mountaintop to aspire to and the patch of plain earth right here to love. I will not put aside my ambitions, but neither will I fail to embrace all the rest that life has to offer.”

And here’s another one (Inspiration):

“I believe I create for myself when I honor my artist’s nature and diligently practice my craft. I will work whether I feel inspired or not: I know that if I labor with an open heart and an open mind, inspiration will come. I am ready to create it, receive it, and be swept away by it.”

Create your own set of affirmations to help you reignite your creative spark.

7. Build a Mystery Box

J.J. Abrams, co-creator of the hit TV show “Lost” and director of “Mission Impossible III”, revealed in a TED.com talk that when he was a kid he would often go to the Lou Tannen Magic Store in New York City. One time he went to the magic store and bought a “mystery box” ($15 buys you $50 worth of magic).

A mystery box is a box full of items–in Abram’s case, full of magic tricks–without the buyer knowing what these items are at the moment of purchase. Even though Abrams bought his mystery box decades ago, and he keeps it on a shelf in his office, he has never opened it.

For him, the mysteriousness of the box far outweighs the value of any magic tricks it may contain. The box–which has a giant question mark on one side–represents infinite possibility, hope, and potential.

Abrams explains that mystery is a catalyst for imagination. Stories are mystery boxes. In TV, the first act is called the teaser. It raises questions which are going to be answered during the rest of the show. Ask yourself how you can use mystery to spark your creativity. What’s your mystery box?


Live your best life by reigniting your creative spark. Start with the seven suggestions above.

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How to Read Hamlet

how to read Hamlet

Hamlet is often considered to be the best work of English-language literature.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) — the Bard of Avon.

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, Shakespeare was the son of a glover. Although he only attended school until the age of 15, he went on to become one of the world’s best-known playwrights. His career spanned the reigns of two monarchs: Queen Elizabeth I and King James I.

onehouradayformula banner longShakespeare wrote 37 plays, including tragedies, histories, and comedies. These ten plays are generally considered to be his best works:

  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth
  • King Lear
  • The Tempest
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Twelfth Night
  • Henry IV, Part 1
  • Henry V
  • Othello
  • Romeo and Juliet

Hamlet was written toward the later part of Shakespeare’s life and career. The character of Hamlet was written for Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeare’s time and a member of Shakespeare’s company of actors, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later, The King’s Men).

The play’s theatrical success and popularity has continued unabated since its first performances in the early 1600s.

Hamlet – A Synopsis

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (often shortened to “Hamlet”) is set in the town of Elsinore in the Kingdom of Denmark during the late Middle Ages. Most of the action takes place in and around Elsinore Castle.

Elsinore Castle

Near the beginning of the play, Prince Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his father, King Hamlet, who has recently died. The ghost instructs Hamlet to seek revenge for his murder. The king was killed by his brother, Claudius, who then married King Hamlet’s widow—Queen Gertrude—and seized the throne.

Here’s a clip from Act I, Scene 5, showing the ghost of King Hamlet telling the prince how he died and ordering Hamlet to avenge his death:

Although Hamlet becomes obsessed with avenging his father’s death, he hesitates, and keeps brooding and philosophizing. He tries to justify why he should wait before killing Claudius. At first he tells himself that perhaps what he saw wasn’t the ghost of his father after all, but an evil spirit trying to lead him astray.

Hamlet is torn. He wants to take the time to act reasonably, but he also chastises himself for being indecisive and failing to act boldly. Some critics believe that Hamlet is being prudent by taking steps to gather evidence of Claudius’ guilt before he acts. Other critics believe that Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his inaction.

Hamlet was already moody and disgruntled before his father’s ghost appears to him—after all, his father had recently died and his mother had remarried before his body was cold in the ground. After talking to the ghost, Hamlet begins to act even more strangely.

Queen Gertrude and King Claudius begin to worry about Hamlet’s inability to shake off his melancholy mood, and they both encourage Hamlet to get over his grief. However, Claudius starts to suspect that there may be something more to Hamlet’s moodiness than simply sadness over the death of his father.

Soon, suspicion turns to fear, and Claudius concludes that Hamlet may be a threat to him. He recruits spies to try to uncover what Hamlet is up to, starting with Polonius, chief counselor of the king. Later he also convinces Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, childhood friends of Hamlet, to spy on Hamlet and report back to him.

When Hamlet realizes that Claudius sees him as a threat, he begins to act as if he’s gone mad in order to throw off his uncle’s suspicions. Hamlet feigns madness with his family and friends, including his beloved, Ophelia, daughter to Polonius and sister to Laertes.

Hamlet decides to set a trap for Claudius to try to determine his guilt. A group of actors is going to put on a play for the royal court. Hamlet meets with the actors and instructs them to put on a play about regicide.

The play is to be about a king who falls asleep in his garden, and then another man kills him by pouring poison in his ear.  That is, exactly what the ghost told Hamlet that Claudius had done.

Hamlet tells his loyal friend, Horatio, about his plan. He’s going to watch Claudius carefully during the play to see if he reacts suspiciously, and he asks Horatio to do the same. Although the name of the play is The Murder of Gonzago, Hamlet refers to it as The Mousetrap.

At the play, Claudius becomes enraged and screams for more light. Hamlet and Horatio agree that the king’s behavior is telling. Hamlet is now convinced that the ghost was telling the truth and that Claudius is a murderer. He realizes that he must act and kill his uncle.

Here’s the scene of The Mousetrap and Claudius’ reaction to the play (Act III, Scene 2):


Shortly after watching the play, Claudius is alone and, in a soliloquy, he expresses his guilt and grief over having killed his brother. However, he is unwilling to give up the things he gained by committing the murder, namely, the throne and the queen. He falls to his knees and begins to pray.

As Claudius is praying, Hamlet walks by and sees him. This is a golden opportunity to kill Claudius. And yet, once again, Hamlet hesitates.

Hamlet tells himself that if he kills Claudius while he’s praying, his soul will go directly to heaven. In the meantime, his father’s ghost was in purgatory since he did not have the chance to go to confession before dying. Hamlet wants Claudius to go to hell, so he leaves without killing Claudius.

Here’s the scene (Act III, Scene3):


After leaving Claudius in prayer, Hamlet goes to his mother’s chambers to confront her. However, Polonius is already there talking to the queen. When Polonius hears Hamlet approaching, he quickly hides behind a tapestry so that he can eavesdrop on the conversation between Hamlet and the queen.

Once in the queen’s chambers, Hamlet accuses his mother of having betrayed his father’s memory by marrying Claudius. He’s irate and menacing. At one point, the queen fears that he’s going to kill her. She cries out for help and foolish Polonius echoes her cry from behind the tapestry.

Hamlet rashly concludes that it’s Claudius hiding behind the tapestry. He lunges at the hidden figure and stabs it forcefully with his sword, thus killing Polonius. The dead Polonius rolls out from under the tapestry.

When Hamlet finally acts, he doesn’t do so in a reasonable, effective, and purposeful manner. Instead, he does so blindly, recklessly, and violently. Here’s the scene (Act III, Scene 4):

Ophelia is the only woman in the play in addition to Queen Gertrude. Hamlet was at one time sincerely in love with Ophelia. However, the circumstances that Hamlet finds himself in lead him to start feeling unsympathetic toward her.

Hamlet transfers the anger that he feels toward his mother—whom he concludes is a woman of loose morals—to all women, including the pure and virtuous Ophelia. He pushes Ophelia away and tells her to join a nunnery.

The death of Ophelia’s father, Polonius, added to her heartbreak over Hamlet’s rejection is too much for Ophelia to bear. She goes mad, throws herself into a river, and drowns.


In the meantime, Denmark is under threat of attack from Norway. Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, wants to avenge his father’s death. His father, King Fortinbras of Norway, was killed by Hamlet’s father. King Hamlet killed King Fortinbras in hand-to-hand combat, thus winning lands from Norway.

Fortinbras wants to avenge his father’s death, and he wants to retake the lands that Norway lost to Denmark. There are many parallels between Fortinbras and Hamlet:

  • They both lose their fathers.
  • In both cases, their uncles took over the throne.
  • They both want to avenge their fathers’ deaths.

However, their characters are very different. While Hamlet is hesitant and indecisive, Fortinbras is bold and  resolved. Fortinbras’ strong-willed character serves to highlight Hamlet’s tragic flaw.

While this threat looms from Norway, the Danish royal house is in disarray. Claudius has become aware that Hamlet knows about the circumstances of his father’s death, and he wants Hamlet dead.

Laertes has returned to Denmark from France to avenge the death of his father, Polonius. He returns to Elsinore with a mob, threatening to overthrow Claudius if he doesn’t explain his father’s murder. Claudius tells him that it was Hamlet who killed Polonius, and the two men devise a plot to kill Hamlet. Like Fortinbras, Laertes is a man of action.

Claudius and Laertes decide that Laertes will challenge Hamlet to a friendly duel. However, Laertes’ sword will be poisoned. If Laertes draws blood, Hamlet will die.

As a backup plan, Claudius puts poison in a goblet filled with wine. If Laertes fails to poison Hamlet with his blade, then Claudius will offer Hamlet a drink from the poisoned goblet. Here’s what happens during the fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes:

  • Queen Gertrude ends up drinking from the poisoned goblet, and dies. It’s debatable whether she does this by accident, or in an attempt to prevent her son from drinking the poison.
  • Laertes succeeds in wounding Hamlet with his sword, but Hamlet doesn’t die of the poison immediately.
  • Laertes is cut by his own poisoned sword and dies.
  • Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword and forces him to drink the rest of the poisoned wine, thereby killing him.
  • Hamlet dies immediately after achieving his revenge.

At this point, Prince Fortinbras, who has led an army to Denmark, enters Elsinore Castle. When he sees that the entire Danish royal family is dead, he takes power over the Kingdom of Denmark.

The Original Hamlet

As was common in his day, Shakespeare based many of his plays on the work of other playwrights and recycled older stories and historical material. This is true of his play Hamlet. The story of Hamlet dates back to at least the 9th century.

It centers on a young prince named Amleth who fakes being crazy in order to avenge his father’s murder. Saxo the Grammarian included the tale in a 12th century text. Later, François de Belleforest incorporated the story in his Histoires Tragiques, which is where Shakespeare may have found it.

Film Adaptations of Hamlet

First performed in 1602, Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play, and his most famous. It’s been performed countless times and many movie adaptations of the play have been made. Here are seven of the most famous film adaptations of “Hamlet”:

1. Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet: This is a 1996 film adaptation of Hamlet, adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars in the titular role as Prince Hamlet. The film features a star studded cast, including Derek Jacobi as King Claudius and Kate Winslet as Ophelia.

2. Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet: This is a 1948 film adaptation of Hamlet, adapted and directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier. Although the film has received many prestigious accolades, it cut out nearly two hours worth of content.

3. Mel Gibson’s Hamlet: This is a 1990 film adaptation of Hamlet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Mel Gibson as Hamlet. The film also features Glenn Close as Queen Gertrude.

4. David Tennant’s Hamlet: This is a 2009 television film adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2008 modern-dress stage production of Hamlet. It features David Tennant in the title role of Prince Hamlet and Patrick Stewart as King Claudius.

5. Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet: This is a 2000 adaptation of Hamlet, which is set in contemporary New York City. Ethan Hawke plays Hamlet as a film student. Elsinore Castle is re-imagined as Hotel Elsinore, the headquarters of Denmark Corporation.

6. Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet: This is a 1980 television adaptation of Hamlet done by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). It stars Derek Jacobi as Hamlet.

7. Richard Burton’s Hamlet: This is not really a film, but a recording of an actual Broadway performance. It played from April 9 to August 8, 1964 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater, and stars Richard Burton as Hamlet.

movie poster hamlet

Another famous adaptations of Hamlet–although this one took a lot of creative liberties–is Disney’s “The Lion King”. Look at the following:

  • Scar–like Claudius–kills his brother and takes over as ruler of the Pride Lands.
  • Simba–like Hamlet–gets visited by the ghost of his father, Mufasa.
  • Mufasa, of course, is like King Hamlet.
  • Timon and Pumbaa share similarities with Hamlet’s childhood friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Poor Yorick

How to Read Hamlet – 10 Steps

Here are ten steps to reading, understanding, and enjoying Hamlet:

1. Read a Plot Synopsis. Before you sit down to read Hamlet, you should read a synopsis of the play. I provide one above, but you may want to do your own research and find a synopsis that you like. There are two books that I used for this purpose:

There are also many good synopses available online. These include SparkNotes, Shmoop, and eNotes.com.

In addition to reading a synopsis of the entire play before getting started, read a synopsis of each scene before reading that scene.

2. Choose a Good Annotated Edition. Although Shakespeare wrote in Modern English, you probably won’t understand his plays unless you get an annotated version. Shakespeare uses some syntax and words that we don’t use anymore. In addition, he makes references to historical events that only people of his time would have understood.

Annotated texts provide definitions, context, and value-added information that will allow you to understand what’s going on in the play. Here are three popular annotated editions of Hamlet you can choose from:

3. Read Slowly and Carefully. Read each page once without referring to the annotations. Simply enjoy Shakespeare’s incredibly beautiful and vivid use of the language. You may even want to read it out loud. Then, read the page again, but this time refer to the annotations. Continue in this way until you’ve read the whole scene.

4. Watch the BBC’s Hamlet. After you’re done with each scene, watch the BBC’s Hamlet for that scene. The BBC Television Shakespeare is a series of British television adaptations of the 37 plays of William Shakespeare.

The BBC uses fantastic actors, and their adaptations closely follow the original material. Derek Jacobi plays “Hamlet” in the BBC’s version of the play, and many consider him to be the best actor to have played the role. In addition, Patrick Stewart plays Claudius.

5. Take Notes. After you’ve read and watched each scene, write down a short synopsis of the scene. This will help you to make sure that you understood what you just read and saw, and it will help you to retain it. Also, you’ll have something to refer to later on when the play is no longer fresh in your mind.

Here are some things you may want to jot down:

  • A summary of the scene.
  • Your impressions of the scene.
  • Anything you noticed about the characters that appeared in the scene.
  • Themes–mortality, action, madness, lies and deceit–and subplots that were present in the scene.
  • Note how the scene moves the main plot of revenge along.
  • Note any life lessons in the scene (Shakespeare’s plays are filled with life lessons).

In addition, write down any quotes that caught your fancy. Here are some of the most famous quotes from Hamlet:

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

“Frailty, thy name is woman.”

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”

6. Find Additional Material. Pick a couple of critical or scholarly works on Shakespeare’s plays, and on Hamlet in particular. Going through this material will give you a greater understanding of the play, and it will provide you with different viewpoints and interpretations.

Here are some good sources you can choose from:

Another option is to take a MOOC on Hamlet, such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Text, Performance and Culture, which is free (I enrolled for this MOOC, but they haven’t told us when it starts yet).

7. Read the Play Again. Read the play again, from start to finish. You should be familiar enough with the play by this point that you don’t need to refer to the annotations or look at any additional reference material.

8. Watch Another Film Version. I gave you a list of seven excellent film versions of Hamlet above, including the BBC version which you should have been watching as you read the play. Now you’re going to choose another film adaptation of Hamlet and watch it from beginning to end.

In case you’re wondering, I chose to watch Branagh’s version of Hamlet (and loved it). It’s unabridged and runs just over four hours. The play’s setting is updated to the 19th century, but everything else is true to the original.

9. Consider Memorizing a Soliloquy. There are several famous soliloquies in Hamlet, including the most famous one, “To be, or not to be”.

Many critics believe that this soliloquy is a contemplation of suicide. In it, Hamlet compares death to sleep. The catch is that it could be a sleep filled with bad dreams. Here’s Jacobi reciting the soliloquy:


Memorize the soliloquy, and then proceed to amaze your friends at cocktail parties.

10. Watch Hamlet on Stage. Reading Hamlet, watching film adaptations of Hamlet, and reading scholarly works about Hamlet are fantastic ways to make this fabulous work your own. However, Hamlet is a play, and to truly appreciate it you should watch it performed on stage.

Bonus points if you watch the play at Stratford-upon-Avon, or at the Shakespeare’s Globe in London.


If you haven’t read Hamlet, use the fact that 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death to do so. And if you have read it, read it again. Live your best life by reading Shakespeare’s plays.

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board games for building life skills

Board games can build valuable life skills.

My sister works for—and is part owner of—a company that brings innovative teaching methods from around the world to Panama and licenses them to schools here. One of the programs that she promotes is called the Mind Lab Method. Here’s what the method is about:

“At the heart of the Mind Lab Method is the notion that the most effective way to learn is through an immediate and authentic experience that leaves one wanting more. Game-playing is the perfect example of such an experience – it is entertaining, engaging, and exciting, and therefore stimulates eager involvement. Game-playing also provides fertile ground for the training and application of thinking abilities and life skills.”

onehouradayformula banner longThat is, Mind Lab uses games—including popular board games—to help kids learn all of the following:

  • Reflective Thinking
  • Planning
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Logical Thinking
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Cooperation
  • Competition
  • How to Deal with Mistakes
  • Deferring Gratification; and so on.

Of course, it’s not just children who can learn from playing board games, but adults as well.

In fact, in my blog post on becoming more resilient, I recommend playing board games as one of the strategies to follow in order to increase your resilience. After all, board games help to develop mental flexibility, and being mentally flexible will help you to bounce back quickly when adversity strikes.

I sat down and did some research in order to determine which board games would be helpful in developing thinking abilities and life skills, and here are the 12 that I came up with:

settlers of catan1. Settlers of Catan. Settlers of Catan is a multiplayer strategy board game in which each player is a settler on the island of Catan. The board is a map of Catan. Players try to become the dominant force in Catan by gathering resources in order to build cities, settlements, and roads. The resources consist of wood, grain, brick, sheep, and stone (the resources are represented by game cards).

By playing Settler of Catan, you learn all of the following:

  • Resource management — Players have to choose how to best allocate the resources that they acquire.
  • Negotiation — Rarely can a player win a game of Settlers of Catan without negotiating with other players in order to trade for the resources that they need. Of course, many different aspects will impact the negotiations — the current value of each of the resources; you may not want to trade with someone if that ensures their victory, even if they have something you need; you may not want to trade with someone if they refused to trade with you when you needed a particular resource; and so on.
  • Analysis of the current environment and how that impacts your chances of winning the game — How have the other players established their settlements?  What resources have lost value because they’re no longer needed? What resources have risen in demand? Given the current situation, are there certain resources you’ll want to hoard?

chess2. Chess. No list of board games that help to develop thinking abilities and life skills is complete without the game of chess. Chess needs no introduction: created in India, it’s been around for over 500 years and is one of the world’s most popular strategy games.

Playing chess promotes brain growth–specifically, it fuels dendrite growth–, and it exercises both sides of the brain. In addition, playing chess can increase IQ. A study conducted in Venezuela involving 4,000 students found that 4 months of chess instruction increased the students’ IQ scores.

In addition, chess teaches a plethora of valuable skills, including the following:

  • It teaches focus and concentration – In order to play chess well you have to focus completely on the board that’s in front of you. As you constantly visualize the board, its pieces, your moves, and your opponent’s possible counter-moves, your power of concentration grows.
  • It teaches planning and foresight – Chess teaches foresight by having to plan ahead.
  • It improves logical thinking – When you’re playing chess, you have to keep saying the following to yourself: “If I do this, then my opponent is likely to do that.” That’s logical thinking in action.

Here’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin about learning from chess: “We learn from chess the greatest maxim in life – that even when everything seems to be going badly for us we should not lose heart, but always hoping for a change for the better, steadfastly continue searching for the solutions to our problems.”

cash flow3. Cashflow 101. Cashflow 101 was created by Robert Kiyosaki of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” fame. It teaches basic financial literacy. The board has two tracks: the fast track and the rat race. The objective of the game is to increase your financial IQ so that you can get out of the rat race and into the fast track.

This game teaches all of the following:

  • It teaches you the difference between assets and liabilities.
  • It teaches you how to maintain a basic Income Statement so that you can get a clear picture of your cash-flow situation.
  • It teaches you how to create a balance sheet.
  • It teaches you basic cash management — how to budget and allocate your cash.
  • It teaches you how to evaluate financial opportunities to determine whether they’re good or bad deals.
  • It teaches you how to make money by purchasing real estate, businesses, shares and mutual funds.

Kloo4. Kloo. Kloo was a created by an American game designer named Andrew who is married to an Italian. He takes his family–consisting of his wife and his two girls–to Europe once a year, so he wanted the girls to learn languages. However, his daughters didn’t enjoy language lessons, and the material they were using was ineffective.

That’s when Andrew decided to create a game that would replicate the way we learn our first language. He wanted to make learning languages easier, and fun. And that’s how Kloo was born. When Andrew tested his game he discovered that both kids and adults learn an average of 20 to 30 words in their target foreign language per game. And without even realizing it!

Kloo games are available to learn Spanish, French, Italian, and English. Here’s their suite of products (they have card games and board games):

chutes and ladders5. Chutes and Ladders. Although Chutes and Ladders is a simple kids’  game, it’s filled with important life lessons. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post on this one: Dealing With Life’s Challenges – Life is Like a Game of Chutes and Ladders.

Here are some of the lessons in dealing with life’s challenges which you can learn from “Chutes and Ladders”:

  • The fist lesson is that you need to accept that chutes are just a part of the game of life. Even if you plan everything out very carefully, sooner or later you’ll slide down a chute (the chute can be short, medium-sized, or really long). That’s just the way it is.
  • The second lesson is that you can recover from sliding down a shoot. In fact, sliding down a chute may even be a good thing. After all, when you fall back to the beginning of the game, this gives you another chance to land on the longest ladder on the board, which shoots you right up to the top.
  • The third lesson is that, just as there are chutes everywhere, there are also ladders everywhere. When you least expect it, a great opportunity can present itself. Keep your eyes open for opportunities.

mancala6. Mancala. Mancala is a two player game  that is played on a wooden board with two rows of six holes carved into it. Many things can be used as game pieces, including beans, seeds, nuts, marbles, stones, and shells. The object of Mancala is to have the most pieces in your Kalaha, or storage unit.

Mancala has been played for thousands of years in Africa and different parts of the Middle East. There are also versions in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Mancala can teach all of the following:

  • It teaches observation skills — Players need to distinguish good plays from bad ones.
  • It teaches how to think analytically – Players must learn to plan and develop strategies.
  • It teaches problem solving — Whenever there’s a gap between the way things are, and the way you want them to be, you have a problem. At the start of a game of Mancala, the Kahalas are empty, while the players want them to be full. Players have to move their pieces in a way that will allow them to get the greatest number of pieces into their Kahala, while trying to prevent the other player from doing the same.

monopoly7. Monopoly. Monopoly–a real estate board game for 2 to 8 players– is a classic. Players buy and develop pieces of property, and whoever has the most money in the end wins. Basically, the game is an explanation of capitalism.

Phlip E. Orbanes, author of Monopoly, Money, and You: How to Profit from the Game’s Secrets of Success, explains that playing Monopoly teaches the following life lessons:

  • “To ‘win’ in life, you need to think like a game player. Establish your goals and, before making any decision, ask the following question: Will it bring me closer to my goals, or will it cause me to veer off course?”
  • “Monopoly teaches the necessity to invest in order to grow your savings. And also to wisely spread your investments (diversification) in the event one choice does not turn out as you anticipated.”
  • “You must keep enough cash handy to pay for typical setbacks in the game, and in life.”

set8. Set. Set is a card game in which each card contains four features: color (red, purple or green), shape (oval, squiggle or diamond), number (one, two or three) and shading (solid, striped or outlined). A set is three cards where each feature, when looked at individually, is either all the same or all different.

Set has won over 35 best game awards including MENSA Select.

Playing Set teaches pattern recognition. In turn, the ability to recognize patterns gives us the ability to predict what will happen next with some degree of accuracy. That is, predict what other people are likely to do, how circumstances are likely to play out, and what has a high probability of occurring next in your environment.

There are many people who think that the purpose of intelligence is prediction. After all, the better you are at predicting what will happen in the future, based on patterns that you’ve recognized in the past and in the present, the more likely it is that you’ll succeed in life.

Prime Climb9. Prime Climb.Prime Climb is a mathematical board game. The financing for the creation of this game was obtained through a Kickstarter campaign. It teaches mathematical literacy. You 
roll the dice and add, subtract, multiply and divide your way to the center of the board.

By playing Prime Climb–which can be played by people who are “bad at math” and math whizzes alike–you’ll acquire deeper mathematical understanding. This game will turn everyone in your house into a lover of math.

Pandemic10. Pandemic. In Pandemic, four diseases have broken out simultaneously in the world. It’s up to a team of disease-fighting specialists in different fields to work together in order to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. The board is shaped like the planet earth.

Unlike most board games, Pandemic is cooperative, rather than competitive. The players, as a team, must coordinate their actions to stop a global pandemic. A game of Pandemic will have all the players discussing strategy and options together on almost every turn. If everyone does their part, the world is saved and all the players win.

As you can clearly see, Pandemic teaches teamwork and cooperation.

mastermind11. Mastermind. Mastermind is a code breaking game for two players. It has a decoding board and code pegs. One player is the code-maker, who creates a secret code, and the other is the code-breaker, who tries to break the code in as few turns as possible. The game has been adapted for applications in fields such as mathematics, computing, and psychology.

Mastermind can be used to teach, practice, and discuss scientific reasoning skills. Specifically, the game can be used to to teach topics such as sound experimental design, hypothesis-testing, careful interpretation of results, and the effective use of controls.

clue12. Clue. Clue is, basically, a detective game. Players try to figure out the three main facts of a murder: the murderer, the location of the murder, and the murder weapon. The game starts with the murder of Mr. Boddy–who has been murdered in his mansion–and involves the 9 rooms of the mansion, the 6 guests at Mr. Boddy’s dinner party and 6 possible weapons.

Playing Clue teaches deductive reasoning, which encourages critical thinking. As players move about the board making guesses as to where, who and what did the killing, they have to use deductive reasoning to narrow down the list of suspects, the possible murder locations, and the possible weapons.

Clue has been used to teach propositional logic and computer programming to college students.


Board games are fun, and they’re a great way to spend quality time with friends and family. However, board games can also teach us thinking skills, as well as life skills. Live your best life by playing board games–you can start by playing the 12 games described above.

What have you learned by playing board games? Please share on Twitter (I’m @Marelisa).

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Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet
To be one of life’s winners, know when to quit.

You’ve probably read lots of quotes that paint the act of quitting in a negative light. Here are four examples:

  • “If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit.” – Michael Jordan
  • It’s always too soon to quit.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  • Age wrinkles the body; quitting wrinkles the soul.” – Douglas MacArthur
  • Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi

In addition, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post titled “How to Not Give Up – 8 Strategies For Not Quitting.” So, why is this post about quitting? Because although grit and perseverance will get you almost anywhere, there are times when the best thing you can do is give up. The key lies in knowing when to keep going despite obstacles, setbacks, and disappointments, and recognizing when it’s time to throw in the towel.

Quit Strategically

A few years back, the renown marketing expert Seth Godin published a book titled The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). In it, he offers a great primer on strategic quitting. Godin explains that, in order to know whether or not to quit, you need to determine if you’re in a “dip” or a “cul-de-sac”. Here’s the difference between the two:

  • A “dip” is when the going gets tough, but there’s the opportunity to be the best in the world when you come up on the other side.
  • A “cul-de-sac” is when you’re just going around in circles, and continued effort isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Godin explains that if you’re in a “dip” you should buckle down and keep going. But if you’re in a “cul-de-sac”, it’s time to wave a white flag. I agree with Godin’s analysis. The question then becomes:

How do you know when you’re in one of those situations in which you just need to keep going and you’ll achieve your goal, or when you need to face the fact the best thing you can do is give up?

In this post I’m going to share with you a cheat-sheet I developed for knowing when to quit. The process that you’ll be using to fill out the “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet” is the following:

  • Choose a “Quitting Trigger”
  • Make a List of Pros and Cons
  • Brainstorm With the “15 Knowing When to Quit Questions”

The “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet” looks as follows (click on it to see it clearly):

Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet

You’ll find an explanation of the process that you’re going to use to fill out the cheat-sheet, below.

Choose a “Quitting Trigger”

The first thing that you’re going to do is decide ahead of time when you’re going to quit. An example of this is set forth in the book,  The Battle For Investment Survival: How To Make Profits, written by Gerald M. Loeb.

In his book, Loeb explains that there’s a specific formula that you should use to maximize your gains and minimize your losses when you’re investing in the stock market. The formula works as follows:

  • Select a stock to buy — make your selection based on rational fact-finding and expert counsel.
  • The stock may rise for a short while, and then fall. In addition, the stock may rise for a long time. However, even if the stock does well for a prolonged period of time, you need to accept the fact that sooner or later the price of the stock will begin to fall.
  • When the price starts to fall, wait for it to fall at least 10 to 15 percent. When it does, cut your losses. That is, sell out at the chosen percentage level.

What the formula is telling you is to decide ahead of time when you’re going to quit. You should apply this same principle to other areas of your life, including goal setting.

When you set a goal, decide at what point you’re going to give up if it turns out that achieving the goal is more difficult and requires more resources than you had previously anticipated. That is, decide what’s your “Quitting Trigger”. Here are some examples:

  • You can make the decision to work on a goal for X amount of time–say, a year–, and if you don’t get the results that you’re after in that time, you’ll consider quitting. In this case, your “Quitting Trigger” is one year.
  • You can make the decision to budget Y amount of dollars–say $5,000–for the achievement of a particular goal. However, once you reach the budgeted amount, if the goal remains elusive, you’ll contemplate quitting. In this case, your “Quitting Trigger” is $5,000.
  • You can decide that you’re going to make Z amount of attempts at achieving a goal–say, three. If you fail at your first attempt to achieve your goal, you’re going to look for a different way to try to achieve it. If you fail again, you’ll try a third way. However, if you fail yet again you’ll sit down to analyze whether you should keep trying. In this case, your “Quitting Trigger” is 3 attempts.

Determine beforehand how much time, money, and effort you’re willing to devote to a particular goal. When you set a goal, grab a copy of the “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet”.  At the top, write down the goal that you’ll be working on and your starting date. Below that write down your “Quitting Trigger”.

Top of Knowing When to Quit Cheat Shhet

Then, go after your goal with gusto. However, if the resources that you allotted for the achievement of the goal turn out to be insufficient, and you’ve reached the “Quitting Trigger” for that goal, it’s to time fill out the rest of the “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet”.

Make a List of Pros and Cons

A while back I wrote a post on making decisions like Benjamin Franklin. The decision-making process, or method, recommended by Franklin is to create a pros and cons list. You’re going to be creating a pros and cons list, using your “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet”, when you reach the “Quitting Trigger” for any goal that you’re working on.

Do the following:

  • Your “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet” should contain two columns. One of the columns should be labelled “pro”, and the other column should be labelled “con”.
  • You’re going to think of all the reasons you can come up with for sticking to your goal, and write those under the “pro” column. In addition, think of all the reasons that would justify the decision to give up on your goal and add those to the “con” column. Do this by brainstorming with the “15 Knowing When to Quit Questions”, which you’ll find below.

Brainstorm With the “15 Knowing When to Quit Questions”

You’re going to fill out your “pros” and “cons” list by answering the “15 Knowing When to Quit Questions”. The questions are as follows:

  1. Have you made any measurable progress toward the achievement of your goal so far?
  2. Are you learning any new skills?
  3. Are you meeting new people and building a valuable network?
  4. Are you enjoying the process of working toward this goal?
  5. Is working on this goal helping you to grow as a person?
  6. How do you feel about the prospect of continuing to work on this goal (depressed, excited, bored, satisfied)?
  7. What’s the opportunity cost of continuing to work on this goal? Is there another, more worth-while goal you could be working on? Is continuing to work on this goal the best use of your time and/or resources?
  8. How much money will it cost to continue working on this goal? Can you afford to continue working on this goal?
  9. Is there any reason for you to think that things are going to change for the better if you continue to pursue this goal? What has to happen for things to get better? How likely is it that this will happen?
  10. If your best friend were in the exact same situation you are now, would you tell them to quit or keep going? Why?
  11. If you were making the decision today whether or not to start working on this goal, would you? Why or why not?
  12. What were the benefits you hoped to receive by working on this goal? Have those benefits decreased? Is pursuing this goal still the best way for you to obtain those benefits?
  13. Do you have new information that makes the goal less appealing to you?
  14. Do you have new information that changes your perception of how difficult it will be to achieve the goal?
  15. If you continue to work on this goal is it likely that you ‘ll be able to recoup the investment–in terms of money, time, and effort–that you’ve already made in trying to achieve this goal, or would you just be throwing good money after bad?

Middle of Knowing When to Quit Cheat Shhet

The Final Analysis

Once you’ve conducted a brainstorming session by using the “15 Knowing When to Quit Questions”, the pros and cons list on your “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet” should be filled out. Now, do the following.

  • You’re going to assign weights to each item on your pros and cons list, depending on its importance. Assign a “1” to the items that are “moderately important”; assign a “2” to the items that are “important”; and assign a “3” to the items that are “very important”.
  • Add up all of the weights for the “pro” column, and add up all of the weights for your “con” column. Write down the totals below each column.
  • If the total sum that you got for the “con” column is greater than the total sum for the “pro” column, quit.
  • If the total sum that you got for the “pro” column is greater than the sum for the “con” column, keep going.
  • If the analysis leads you to conclude that you’re going to continue working on your goal, come up with a new Quitting Trigger –work on the goal for 3 more months; budget another $1000 to the goal; try one more alternative for achieving the goal; and so on.
  • If the new “Quitting Trigger” is reached, quit.

Bottom of Knowing When to Quit Cheat ShhetConclusion

Achieving any worthwhile goal will require lots of work and determination. And, most of the time, you should keep going until you achieve your goal. However, there are times when the evidence points to the fact that it’s not a good idea to keep pushing toward the achievement of a particular goal.

If you’re not sure whether or not to give up on a goal, use the “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet” to help you make a decision. Here’s a PDF of the “Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet” which you can download.

Live your best life by knowing when to quit.

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There are 36 questions which can spark friendship or love.

I discovered the 36 questions which can kick-start a friendship or relationship in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” called “The Intimacy Accelerator”. One of the characters in the show, Amy, shares that she read an article about how people can create intimacy in an accelerated time frame.

Two other characters, Penny and Sheldon, decide to give it a try. At the end of the experiment they both decide that they feel closer to each other. Here’s part of the exchange between Penny and Sheldon:

I came across the 36 questions once again while researching an article that I’m writing on friendship. Shasta Nelson is a nationally recognized friendship expert and the CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com, a women’s friendship matching site. She’s also the author of two books on friendship. Nelson uses a variation of the 36 questions in her friendship workshops. She calls them “Sharing Questions”. Nelson explains that when women sit down together and answer these questions it brings them much closer than simply engaging in small talk or trying to look for common interests. This makes it much more likely that they’ll become friends.

Since it was the second time I had seen a reference to these questions, I decided to conduct some additional research to find out more about them.

The 36 Questions Came From a Lab Experiment

The 36 questions are the brain child of psychologist Arthur Aron, who runs the “Interpersonal Relationships Lab” at SUNY-Stony Brook. He published them in 1997 as part of a study titled “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness“.

The study revealed the results of an experiment Aron conducted to test his theory that he could develop closeness between a pair of people by having them ask each other questions designed to slowly build and establish intimacy.

The 36 questions are divided into three sets. Each set of questions gets progressively more personal. This is how Aron refers to this progression: “sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personalistic self-disclosure.”

Aron argues that vulnerability is what creates closeness between people, and the questions are designed to make two people be progressively more vulnerable with each other.

As you saw in “The Big Bang Theory” clip above, one of the first questions is “What’s your perfect day?”, which is innocuous enough. However, the questions get more probing. One of the last questions is “How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?”, which definitely enters into the “sharing personal information” realm.

Here’s how Mandy Len Catron–who wrote a New York Times article about her experiment with the 36 questions–describes this slow progression from easy questions to highly personal questions:

“The questions reminded me of the infamous boiling frog experiment in which the frog doesn’t feel the water getting hotter until it’s too late,” she wrote. “With us, because the level of vulnerability increased gradually, I didn’t notice we had entered intimate territory until we were already there, a process that can typically take weeks or months.”

There Are Many Uses For the 36 Questions

The 36 questions can be used in various settings:

  • To create intimacy with a romantic interest and increase the chances that you’ll hit it off.
  • To make new friends.
  • To accelerate the bonding process with people you need to get to know and trust quickly –a task force at work, participants in a seminar, during college orientation, and so on.
  • To deepen your ties with people you already know well —friends, family members, and even long-term partners.
  • To have fun with friends at parties and have people get to know each other better.

The Process to Follow With the 36 Questions

Here’s the process you should follow with the 36 questions:

  • Sit down with the person you want to create intimacy or closeness with (this has to be done face to face).
  • You can print out the questions (which you’ll find below), visit this website, use this app, or get these cards.
  • One person reads the first question aloud. Then, both people take turns answering the question.
  • Swap roles for the next question.
  • Continue in this way until you get to the last question (make sure you go through the questions in order).
  • If the person you’re with is a romantic interest, once you’ve answered all of the questions set a timer for four minutes and use that time to simply look into each others’ eyes (you can blink, but don’t look away).
  • Take as long as you want, but the whole process of asking and answering the 36 questions normally takes about 45 minutes, to an hour.

Keep in mind that the process is as much about how you answer the questions, as it is about how you listen and respond to the other person when they answer the questions.

The List of 36 Questions

Here are the 36 questions:

Set One

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set Two

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set Three

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.


If you want to see a man and a woman who have never met before asking each other these questions, here’s a video for you:

Live your best life by getting closer to others.

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75 Simple Life Rules

simple life rules

To have a good life, you just have to follow some simple rules.

The world would be greatly improved if everyone lived by some simple rules. The kind of rules that most people learn as kids (but promptly seem to forget the minute they enter middle school). What are these rules? You’ll find them below.

Here are 75 simple life rules to follow to have a better life.

1. Be yourself.

2. Know yourself.

3. Pick up after yourself.

4. Keep your promises.

5. Say please and thank you.

6. Have good table manners.

7. Make healthy food choices.

8. Don’t eat more food than you need.

9. Stay fit.

10. Get enough sleep.

11. Drink lots of water.

12. Keep yourself clean.

13. Wake up early.

14. Wake up smiling.

15. Spend time in nature.

16. Avoid excess.

17. Wear sunscreen.

18. Wear your seat belt.

19. Follow the Golden Rule: do unto others like you would have them do onto you.

20. Mind your own business; if it’s none of your concern, stay out of it.

21. Choose your friends wisely.

22. Nurture your close circle of friends.

23. Don’t give unsolicited advice.

24. Don’t interrupt others when they’re speaking.

25. Be honest.

26. Think before you act.

27. Count your blessings.

28. Don’t gossip.

29. Don’t take anything that is not yours without permission.

30. Be kind to yourself.

31. Be kind to others.

32. Have a positive attitude: look for the bright side of things.

33. Take responsibility for your actions.

34. If you hurt someone, apologize.

35. Spend less than you make.

36. Save money for a rainy day.

37. Budget your money.

38. Budget your time.

39. Be prepared.

40. Plan ahead.

41. Live in the now (this point and the one above it are not in conflict).

42. Make time for those you love.

43. Set priorities.

44. Plan your day.

45. Don’t over-commit yourself: say “no” to things that are not aligned with your priorities.

46. Have some “me” time each day (to think, meditate, or just be).

47. Do your best.

48. Believe in yourself, but be aware of your limitations.

49. If you fail, try again.

50. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and do what you can to fix it.

51. If you’re in over your head, ask for help.

52. Read more than you watch TV.

53. Be patient with children.

54. Respect the elderly.

55. Be kind to animals.

56. When you’re talking to someone, give them your full attention.

57. Don’t yell or speak harshly to others.

58. Don’t put others down or make them feel bad about themselves.

59. Don’t take credit for the work of others.

60. Develop your talent.

61. Share your gifts with the world.

62. Work hard –results require discipline and perseverance.

63. Set aside some time each day to play, laugh, and have fun.

64. Have goals; go after them.

65. Step out of your comfort zone; do this on a consistent basis.

66. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

67. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

68. Don’t worry about things that are outside of your control.

69. Don’t whine, complain, or make excuses.

70. Don’t take more than you need.

71. Seize good opportunities.

72. Challenge yourself.

73. Take smart risks.

74. Don’t take stupid risks.

75. Don’t break any of these rules.


See how simple rules those are? Why don’t more people follow them? Live your best life by following the 75 simple life rules above.

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