21 Rules for Life

21 Rules for Life

Rules for Life are intentional, on-purpose, patterns of spiritual intentions that provide structure and direction for growth and contribution in our lives. These 21 Rules for Life are an exterior framework for an interior journey. Creating rules for yourself establishes a rhythm for life which is helpful for manifesting real personal growth that, with enough practice, starts to form part of your Higher or Spiritual Self. Rules create a rhythm that reflects our emerging love for God, self and others which is the very reason why we are spinning around on this big blue marble in the first place. 

Rules simply provide structure to remind us of what is really important in our lives. All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. 

Our rules for life should be the minimum standards for your best life that you want to live and create. Rules and practices will differ greatly from person to person but the need for direction and meaning is the same for everyone. Here are 21 rules for life to help you create a life of wellness every single day. A life driven with purpose and meaning and built from the ground up.


1. Always tell the truth.

2. Develop self-discipline. 

3. Create a plan.

4. Progress not Perfection.

5. Stay out of drama.

6. Become fearlessly authentic.

7. Let go of resentments.

8. Love. 

9. Fail Gracefully.

10. Practice the law of detachment.

11. Accept Uncertainty.

12. Insist on minimalism.

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13. Lead a purpose driven life.

14. Know your true intentions.

15. Put God first. 

16. Take Risks.

17. Look after your health.

18. Create yourself.

19. Eliminate Worry.

20. Transcend yourself.

21. Always remember that life is not about you.

1. Always tell the truth. The truth will set you free. Lies will only confuse you and others. When you tell the truth you have nothing to hide and by default and people will notice that. People are perceptive and build relationships on trust and open communication. It is true that the truth will indeed set you free.

2. Develop self-discipline. self discipline enables you to choose what you want for your life and then follow through unwaveringly with those decisions. It also gives you the power and inner strength to overcome your limitations and vices and withstand cravings and temptations for things that don’t work for you like addictions or procrastination. Developing discipline will help you to master you thoughts and emotions and get what you really, really want out of life. 

3. Create a plan. Bad plans are better than no plans. We all need somewhere to aim. Aimlessness gets us poor results and we seldom hit the targets we are aiming for. Zombies walk around aimlessly in on mans land. No mans land is a military term for an undefined place or state, a war-zone, that is much like a wasteland where little productive ever comes to bear for either side. Get out of the wastelands!  Write your plans down with a title of what your life looks like, what you need to do to get there and what you shouldn’t do that will hinder you getting there. 

4. Progress not Perfection. A key to happiness is not “perfection”, but it is “progress.” Perfection simply focuses on what is not working one hundred percent, while progress is always happening and evolving. Think about it, perfection is about the fantasy of a finished state. Death is the only real finished state that you don’t need to aim for. Focus on progress by making small steps count everyday and enjoy the journey not the destination.  

5. Stay out of drama. Dont rescue others, nor persecute them with gossip and bad-mouthing and don’t become a victim to your own thinking. Victims tend to blame others for our problems and get nowhere until they can become personally accountable for living their own lives. Drama is a bad habit that can be cleaned up with some spiritual hygiene. Let go easily. Be quick to forgive and keep your side of the street clean. What others choose to do or not do is none of our business. 

6. Become fearlessly authentic. To thine own self be true. Never loose your authenticity to people please. Prana or life energy flows at its peak when you are true to your own nature. Authenticity starts in your heart and requires vulnerability, integrity and courage to flourish. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day for ourselves. Authenticity is also magnetic to others. 

7. Let go of resentments. Have the courage to let go of resenting others. It will only make you angry and bitter. Resentment takes down more good people than almost anything else in this world. Be quick to forgive. Surrender to what is. Learn to let go. 

8. Love. Daring to love in an imperfect world takes courage. Be curious and take an interest in other people, animals and nature. Love the world with deepening affection as much as you love the skin you’re in as you practice your 21 Rules for Life everyday. 

9. Fail Gracefully. Dont be afraid to fail. Failure is inevitable and it happens to us on a daily basis. Failures make us kinder, more empathic and more real. We can connect more deeply with other people when we are vulnerable enough to share our failures as much as out strengths. Accepting our failures is a humbling process and humility is our surest sign of strength. Life is the process of failing forwards. 

10. Practice the law of detachment. Commit yourself to detachment by not trying to rigidly impose your idea of how things should be on others or on yourself. Detach from the outcome.

11. Accept Uncertainty. The egos need to for safety and certainty can lead to small thinking and small results or consequences. Think big, with curiosity and open-mindedness. This also opens you up to the realm of uncertainty where there are endless possibilities that wait you. 

12. Insist on minimalism. If you don’t use it, loose it! Minimalism is not just about consumerism and our ego’s need to gain more and more of what doesn’t make us happy. Spirituality and minimalism are also closely entwined and teach us that less is often more. This paradox is made clear when we see those people who have a wealth of peace, happiness and bliss in their lives oftentimes have less clutter and baggage to deal with in life than people chasing riches and material things. Simplicity breeds abundance mentality. It defines enough. It shows us who we are deep down within and it automatically removes the unnecessary in our lives. 

13. Lead a purpose driven life. It is easy to fall into mindlessness and meaninglessness if we’re not careful to keep an eye on what we’re really doing and where we are really going. If you loose meaning and purpose you’ll quickly become bitter and angry. Let purpose or your dharma be your compass and only do things that nourish your soul’s true purpose, which is to give, grow and contribute to a better life for yourself and others. So find your Ikigai or ‘reason to live’ as they say in Japanese and always take powerful action that is true to your purpose. 

14. Know your true intentions. Self-knowledge for the 21 Rules for Life is the beginning of all self-improvement. Know what it is you intend to do at any given moment by coming from a place of certainty, in knowing what you intend to do and create. Intentions are like pit-bull kinds of determination that help us create the lives we really want to live. Never let go of your inner intentions. Write them on a card and whenever you get confused or uncertain read the card and reconnect to the power of intention. 

15. Put God first. One thing that all spiritual practices shows us is that life is not really about just you. It is about connecting to far greater things and it tells us that all of us operate as one in this massive and mysterious universe. Put God first in your life and everything else will flow to you with grace and ease they way it is meant to, according to the law of attraction. It is not a human centric Universe and the sooner we can accept that the sooner we can start to let Love guide us in everything we do. When that happens, nothing good you desire will ever not come to you. 

16. Take Risks. Trust, risk and share who you really are with others and allow courage to be your guide. Lean into the discomfort of awkward feelings and emotions as you insist on risking your sense of certainty to embrace a flow of new things into your life. When nothing is sure, everything becomes possible. Thrive on a healthy sense of risking, daring and sharing who you are with the world. What you get in return is an endless flow of boundless possibility. 

17. Look after your health. You body needs a healthy mind, and and vice versa, to operate optimally. Wellness includes everything from drinking enough water, to good sleep and to ensuring you have the right nutrition and balanced intakes for your body. Emotional health is just as important as spiritual health, although seldom ever considered, it is super important. Take the time to meditate and contemplate. Avoid all excess. Go on silent retreats and do mindful walks alone. Health is not just an absence of dis-ease but an inner bliss that should be felt all the time. 

18. Create yourself. It is the most important thing you will ever do. In the first half of your life someone took care of you and fed and bathed you. You learned everything you know from other people. In the second half of life, each of us must re-discover who we really are underneath all we have learned. We must transcend our very own personalities, the self, so that we can live an authentic life. This is the spiritual journey of the 21 Rules for Life that we must all undertake as we re-create ourselves in a way that is real and genuine. 

21 Rules for Life
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19. Eliminate Worry. Fear does nothing other than make us angry and afraid and with both of these come obstacles we will all need to overcome to lead a spiritually successful life of authenticity. Worry about the past creates depression, and fear of the future breeds anxiety. Live one day at a time. Every day has enough content and problems of its own. Live in the present moment and train yourself to eliminate the habit of worry. Only be concerned with what is within your control. Usually all this is is our very own responses and attitudes to the unfolding of life. 

20. Transcend yourself. Master yourself. Let go of the lower self by working on understanding your ego and how it operates from a lizard-brain mindset that oftentimes ends in us taking two steps forward and one step back more often than we would like to in life. Mastering yourself brings freedom, adventure and liberty and allows you to resist any negative external forces that may pass you by. When we stop with self deception we immediately start to transcend our lower or small selves. Sometimes even to live is an act of courage – Seneca.

21. Always remember that life is not about you. Your life is not about you, but rather you are about life. Our roles in life form part of a much bigger whole and when we can understand that a sense of true freedom and peace follows. The mystery of life is far to grand a design for us to ever fully understand. Just like the earth is rounded and curved, it too has no centre. It is part of a much grader design. Our job is simply to be a human BE-ing. We can learn to be still. Not idle, just still. We can just be, without any guilt or shame knowing that all we need to do is grow, connect, contribute and become more and more of who we really are and who life really is everyday. Knowing that this is our life purpose lowers the mountains and fills in the valleys that we have created though thinking we are the centre of the Universe. 

For more information about 21 Rules for Life, or to start the 6 week course, get in touch. www.markllockwood.com

Published by Mark L Lockwood

Mark L Lockwood (BA)(Hons)(psy) teaches spiritual transformation and is the founder of Contemplative Intelligence. Author of The Power of Contemplative Intelligence, Autotherapy and Recovery Magic. Our work is about the science of finding your spiritual self.

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