Ground Rules For A Good Life

From Og Mandino’s book, A Better Way To Live…

Rule One…

Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you… with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.

Rule Two…

Today, and every day, deliver more than you are getting paid to do. The victory of success will be half won when you learn the secret of putting out more than is expected in all that you do. Make yourself so valuable in your work that eventually you will become indispensable. Exercise your privilege to go the extra mile, and enjoy all the rewards you receive. You deserve them!

Rule Three…

Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don’t look back at it too long. Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come.

Rule Four…

Always reward your long hours of labor and toil in the very best way, surrounded by your family. Nurture their love carefully, remembering that your children need models, not critics, and your own progress will hasten when you constantly strive to present your best side to your children. And even if you have failed at all else in the eyes of the world, if you have a loving family, you are a success.

Rule Five…

Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts. Never fret at any imperfections that you fear may impede your progress. Remind yourself, as often as necessary, that you are a creature of God and have the power to achieve any dream by lifting up your thoughts. You can fly when you decide that you can. Never consider yourself defeat again. Let the vision in your heart be in your life’s blueprint. Smile!

Rule Six…

Let your actions always speak for you, but be forever on guard against the terrible traps of false pride and conceit that can halt your progress. The next time you are tempted to boast, just place your fist in a full pail of water, and when you remove it, the hole remaining will give you a correct measure of your importance.

Rule Seven…

Each day is a special gift from God, and while life may not always be fair, you must never allow the pains, hurdles, and handicaps of the moment to poison your attitude and plans for yourself and your future. You can never win when you wear the ugly cloak of self-pity, and the sour sound of whining will certainly frighten away any opportunity for success. Never again. There is a better way.

Rule Eight… 

Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busy work. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!

Rule Nine…

Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find “tomorrow” on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, “If I had my life to live over again…”Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day!

Rule Ten…

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

Rule Eleven…

Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come. Never take yourself too seriously.

Rule Twelve… 

Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things.

Rule Thirteen…

Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.

Rule Fourteen… 

You will achieve grand dream, a day at a time, so set goals for each day — not long and difficult projects, but chores that will take you, step by step, toward your rainbow. Write them down, if you must, but limit your list so that you won’t have to drag today’s undone matters into tomorrow. Remember that you cannot build your pyramid in twenty-four hours. Be patient. Never allow your day to become so cluttered that you neglect your most important goal — to do the best you can, enjoy this day, and rest satisfied with what you have accomplished.

Rule Fifteen…

Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the fault-finding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealously, and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.

Rule Sixteen… 

Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all the darkest valley you must traverse. Stars may be seen from the bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be discerned from the mountaintop. So will you learn things in adversity that you would never have discovered without trouble. There is always a seed of good. Find it and prosper.

Rule Seventeen… 

Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.



  1. Jen · November 11, 2007

    ooooh, i love this. can I snag?

  2. sardonicnell · November 11, 2007

    hello jen, glad you like this. please feel free to grab or snag this entry. i dont mind at all, hope you’re having a fabulous week end 😉

  3. eric aka senor enrique · November 11, 2007

    Thanks for sharing, Nell. Great read for this early Monday morning 🙂

    Hmmm … perhaps, I should share this with my readers as well and cross link to your site.

  4. sardonicnell · November 11, 2007

    hello eric, thanks for the visit and for your kind comment. it is truly inspiring reading og mandino’s book, red it once before; but reading it now made all the big difference. and please feel free to share these words with your blog readers. thanks again and God bless 😀

  5. bw · November 11, 2007

    I think I may have beaten number #2 to the bone hehe 🙂 I love # 11 too – never take yourself too seriously. I need to learn more about this 🙂

    They’re all gems of wisdom – thanks for sharing.

  6. pusa · November 11, 2007

    very nice read, blog hop from señor, will quote rule #9 tomorrow in my blog, thanks for sharing this =)

  7. Leap of Faith! · November 11, 2007

    Nell, very inspiring. Thanks for sharing these with us.

    By the way, I just have to comment that your pictures are always so nice. Do you take them yourself?

  8. sardonicnell · November 11, 2007

    BW: thanks for the kind comment. workaholic ka rin pala, hah? but dont forget #4. we need balance in our life, dont you think? ako naman eh i need to work on #8, big time! hahaha :mrgreen:

    PUSA: glad you like it and thanks for visiting my blog. please feel free to share this with your friends and family. and hope that this enlighten them as well 😉

    KEITH: isn’t it wonderful rules to live by? i’m glad you like this entry as it has opened my eyes to some things that i need to work on. we only have one life to live, so we may as well enjoy every moment of it. the pic? this one was taken at this community garden in san francisco, right near the russian hill. it’s nice noh to see all these beauty around us. i’ve taken some of the pictures i’ve used here in my blog, and some are taken by friends who also enjoy photography 😀

    thanks for the kind words guys, hope you had a fabulous week end!

  9. Pinky · November 13, 2007

    Og Mandino was an early favorite for me. I remember reading “The Greatest Salesman in the World” during my grade school years and was thoroughly inspired by it. “The Gift of Acabar” is something I wish I could read again – especially around this time since medyo appropriate siya for the Christmas season. 🙂

    Keep those inspirational posts coming! 🙂

  10. sardonicnell · November 13, 2007

    hello pinky, og mandino is truly an inspiration. i red about him and his books back in highschool. i have the books — a better way to live and gift of acabar. and those two are like more than a decade old books, bought them back in manila pa. i’ve kept those two for so many years and i’d like my nephew to read it when his older. tipong pamana na food for thought, hahahaha!

    thanks for the kind comment, dear. God bless :mrgreen:

  11. Pingback: blog-thing : I could learn a thing or two from this.
  12. tulipfleurs · November 19, 2007

    Hi there! I stumbled across your blog and found this wonderful & inspirational piece about “life.” Can I also “snag” this one? Thanks, and I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day . . .

  13. tulipfleurs · November 19, 2007

    It’s me again . . . I was able to view more of your blog, and I just want to tell you that I love the pictures that you take, especially the roosters. 🙂 Take care!

  14. sardonicnell · November 19, 2007

    no prob, tulipfleurs. please feel free to snag and share it thru your blog. thanks for visiting my crib and your kind compliment. God bless and have a happy thanksgiving 😉

  15. tulipfleurs · November 19, 2007

    Thanks! I’ll add you to my blogosphere. Keep up the good work that you do on your blog!! 🙂 Have a wonderful evening!

  16. sardonicnell · November 19, 2007

    you’re welcome! thanks again for your kind compliments, nakakataba ng puso. God bless 🙂

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