What is that you have encountered so far that makes you rely on it?
And helps you become or have what you wish for in life?
What determines success in life?
What guarantees you bliss in life?
Is there a sure shot success formula for everything in life?
Before I reveal the answers, I must admit that there are obvious rules to life which if applied can help you succeed in every arena…
Now, let’s have a look at the answers-
Attitude is the cause of all results in life.
I work hard and I am determined, so it leads to success for me always.
My experience coupled with the experimentation drives me to the results.
I am blissful if I act in alignment with the goals I have set for myself.
The sure-shot success formula is –
Be determined, focused and desire the goal desperately to have it at any cost and it will be yours.
But there is an irony I have always encountered and that is
Are there any rules of life?
And if there are, what are they?
How can they be implemented to be successful at every stage?
The answer which I found after having to struggle for days and nights in search of what was mine was-
To be successful is not equivalent to be happy,
To be happy could mean success
Happiness is acquired by not searching for it,
Motivation couldn’t be found without action
Every monument was first built in mind and then outside,
Thinking leads to becoming
Writing leads to the inscription on mind and actions.
If you found the answer that I discovered to be a little confusing, let me break them for you in the form of rules that would help rule your life and become happy and successful…
The rules are the most obvious things that we tend to ignore in our life.
These rules would help you become better at your personal end and revolutionize the way you perform on the professional front…
To understand each rule, Adams would help us find the truth and the hidden meaning.
STORY OF ADAMS
If you were to ask me Who is Adams?
Just making you familiar with Adams quickly and crisply will not be appropriate owing to the question at hand.
Hence, to make you aware of Adams I would ask you to go ahead and discover about Adams.
Adams is an advertiser and we generally call him Adams Obvious for the matter that he performs the tasks and finds the solution in the most obvious manner putting people in surprise and regret to have missed out on details.
His obvious way of looking at things solves more than half of the problems and sooner than later the problem stands solved.
He has a penchant for closely observing the details of the case at hand and wishes to perform a 3 Day Rule in every case.
3 Day Rule involves the following:
DAY 1: Observing the place of action
DAY 2: Observing the actions and interpreting the results
DAY 3: Assimilating the learnings based on observations in the first 2 days
This description of Adams is in no way close to the caricature of Adams.
Hence, I would prefer you to read more about him here before going ahead with the rules of life.
So, let’s begin to unveil the rules of life…
Adams was once faced with a particular situation wherein he was asked by Mr Oswald to come up with an Ad Copy for a Bakery business without coming to the notice of the owner.
The time allocated for the same was just a day as the earlier assigned person had failed when the results turned out against the desired ones.
Adams was baffled as he couldn’t perform the 3 Day Rule and so drawing conclusions was somewhat difficult owing to incomplete knowledge about the business.
Can you guess what he did?
He was confused as he could not ask the bakery owner’s help as that would have put the firm in a dicey situation.
It would get difficult for Mr Oswald to prove the competence of the firm as a whole.
So what should he do in such a situation?
He decided that he would think of an alternative and while he was thinking about the same, he glanced over his medals and accolades of the previous victories.
This not only gave him the perfect start to think based on the documents he had received about the bakery but combine them with past experiences.
He slowly figured out the problem at hand and decided to make the Ad copy accordingly.
The Ad Copy went as follows:
Freshly baked cakes in shapes we adore
Made by hand with care and attention,
Keeping in mind the taste buds waiting for them
Making it perfectly apt for the occasion.
Have one of your choices from our end,
As one is what we would freely lend
To make you experience the exotic finesse,
As we make healthy ones not a menace.
Packed with grace and humility,
We serve you with great tenacity
To serve you with great interest,
Carefully baked ones without haste.
On reading the Ad copy, Mr Oswald was astonished as it had nothing out of the box content but everything quite obvious on the plate.
Reluctant to use it, he wanted to ask him for another.
But owing to the deadline and schedule, Mr Oswald went ahead to take the risk of using the Ad copy, though having trouble in relying on it…
What were the results?
The results turned out to be amazing as what was showcased in Ad copy was nothing difficult to believe for the ultimate consumers.
And the promises made were proven right over time with the giveaways and open gate policy of inviting the people to observe the baking and interiors.
This proved the first rule where the SEROTONIN proved a great role in igniting the fire and elevating the spirits, to win against the odds.
When no alternate was found, the self-trust worked miracles.
He found a solution following the principle of CME:
Capture the observations -> Manage the learnings to devise a plan -> Execute the actions to conclude
Finally delivering Ad copy in time with brevity and wit.
RULE 1: FIX YOUR POSTURE & UNDERSTAND YOUR WORTH BY STANDING STRAIGHT
If you think that this is it, then let me tell you- this is just the beginning of a roller coaster ride…
Buckle up your belts, as adventures await you.
What is the next rule?
The rule talks about how to treat yourself. It puts the spotlight on the manner we interact and behave with others determining the way we behave with ourselves.
To determine it at length, let’s bring Adams back…
Adams was asked to travel to Toronto once by Mr Oswald owing to the Ad Copy of their client in Real Estate.
He after getting off the train, went for dinner and kept looking at the menu even after placing the order as if there was something hidden between the lines.
Two men who sat at the table behind the back of Adams, quite clearly identified that it was Adams, the man talked about in the Ad world for his obvious grit and wit.
Unaware about these two men, he was completely indulged in making his discovery from the menu, but before he could make one he was interrupted by the waiter with his order.
As the meal came and he got busy eating, these two men kept discussing him and his success.
Unbothered as if the talks never touched his ears, he kept quiet and had his meal.
Upon completion of the meal, he asked the waiter if the waiter would lend a copy of the menu to him as he loved the food and would order again from the place of his stay.
The waiter agreed to provide a copy of the same and upon receiving the same, Adams left for his hotel.
After reaching the hotel, Adams kept playing with the menu copy till he discovered something great which would assist him in writing a great ad copy for the Real Estate client.
Why did he refer to the menu of the restaurant when the question in place was about Real Estate?
He looked into the menu of the restaurant because of his Rules of Content Marketing
He knew that whatever be the content you put out there,
If it is not obvious that calls for a surprise and are not easy to understand, people would not be interested to read it in the first place.
He also knew that though the content is obvious, it should sound as if it missed the sight of the reader.
To make the reader believe that he could have got it in the first place by being more observant.
This exercise which Adams carried out for the client was obvious believing the fact that he valued his client.
But that was his way of treating others which was a by-product of his attitude towards himself,
Meaning he took great care of himself and never compromised on looking into the details.
His practice to help himself become better is reflected in his manner of helping others,
And since he cared about himself as much as he cared about others, he paid attention to himself…
That brings us down to the second rule i.e.
RULE 2: TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF
Let’s now proceed further and find the most crucial one attributed to your success, also referred to as the Rule of Life to be successful.
Let’s bring Adams to the picture to figure out how he applies the rare rule and gets successful…
One day when Adams was about to leave the office as it getting late, suddenly Mr Oswald called for him and introduced him to Mr Malfoy, the newly appointed Chief of the Editing department.
Since Adams was assigned the task of streamlining the editing of the books in the publishing section and ads copies,
He was to report to Mr Malfoy instead of reporting directly to Mr Oswald.
He was referred to as a man of great accountability and so if anything didn’t go as per the schedule or as per plan, he would take the responsibility and admit it to improve in the given course of time.
A similar thing happened when Adams was done with the editing of the Ad copies for the clients of Manhattan and had handed it over to his subordinates, who were to then deliver it to the clients over email after typing it out with the corrections.
Now you may want to ask, what happened that had put Adams into jeopardy?
Well, as Adams had done his part and was thoroughly prepared for the next round after the mail was sent to the clients, he never expected an error on the part of the subordinates.
So, an error did take place after the completion of typing and before mailing.
It was unexpected as all precautions were taken but this time the system crashed in the middle after the typing was completed,
And to recover the subordinate just pressed recover and the file got back but it was the previous version.
Looking at the outline, the versions would look similar and so, it was approved by the subordinate leading to mailing the unapproved version.
When this news got to Mr Malfoy, he was furious and ordered the pink slips for the subordinates but before this could have materialised,
Adams chipped in and admitted the fault on his part.
Though Adams was completely aware that it wasn’t his mistake, still he went ahead and defended his subordinates which otherwise would have cost them their job.
What Adams did was just a gesture of care for his subordinates, just replicating the act done by Mr Oswald some time ago!
Mr Oswald saw that if Adams was nurtured the right way, he would surpass all the records and benchmarks and so saved Adams his fortune by admitting his fault when it wasn’t Mr Oswald’s in the first place.
Similarly, Adams believes high in his subordinates and if they don’t have his back, they would have got into deep trouble.
This brings us to the lesson:
RULE 3: SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO WANT YOU TO SUCCEED
Once you are done with the first quarter, you might be overwhelmed but trust me what’s coming is just beyond awesome…
It has always been there that at several times in our life we compare ourselves with others and feel bad about it.
What leads to this is more important than the comparison.
It is about the mindset which doesn’t accept things as they are but keeps showing you a tainted mirror whereby you envy and disregard others.
Not because you can’t do anything about it but because you don’t have what others possess.
Adams was once unhappy about the fact that a bakery client who was stung by the advertising bee was being handed over to Mr Holland, a veteran editor in the organisation.
He felt as if the breath was taken away from him and still went after it,
He would come up with several ad copies for the client in his leisure time at home without becoming noticeable.
He would consistently perform the 3 Day Ritual that he does always to get to the crux of the situation and devise a way out, but this time no one knew about it.
Not only was he accomplishing it as a secret mission but also he was completely prepared if someday by some luck, he gets it.
The day had arrived when the Ad copy went public as designed by Mr Holland.
When he read the ad copy, not only was he shocked but also out of his mind, as he could have never thought of it this way and the ad copy portrayed the cake as the Nectar of Gold for the Gods delivered to people on earth.
Well, he could have neither thought about it this way nor would he be able to write an ad copy like that considering his weakness (It just came up by looking at the Ad copy – Doesn’t exist).
This made him feel bad and the next act proved that he didn’t like it.
He went back home and threw every piece of work into the bin relating to the client.
He felt lost and disgusting just because he compared and so it’s correct when we say-
Comparison seduces you to believe that you are either too good or you are worst
And everyone who falls into the trap loses judgement for the time being.
This is the lesson of life which states-
RULE 4: JUDGE YOURSELF BY YOUR GOALS NOT BY OTHERS
Following the lesson we just learned, it becomes crucial to understand that one must never undermine one’s potential but at the same time do nothing unacceptable…
If you have a question about what’s unacceptable?
The answer is simple.
It states that though nothing is right or wrong and all the judgement is determined by perception.
There exist certain rules either set by society or the family to ensure decorum and politeness on the part of the individual.
If this raises the question of whether rules are correct or are meant to be broken?
The answer would be clear that though the rules are set by humans and humans are never objective,
Rules are subjected to several presumptions and in certain cases where the presumptions cause trouble, one can choose a bypass not explicitly breaking them.
How do I prove that?
Well, Adams grew up in a Rurban area where education was not possible beyond a high school.
This demanded that he shift to town and carry on his further studies.
While he was ready to move to town, his parents who happened to be farmers would feel lonely and he would indeed feel homesick.
Not only would he be required to take care of himself w.r.t household chores, but he will also have to manage the expenses on his own owing to not so good production at the farm.
Under such circumstances, people tend to call in for quick money rich formula which could lead to trials or the path less travelled,
But since Adams was made strong enough by the actions of his parents from the time he entered high school, by making him manage his expenses on his own,
He would never switch to any tasks which lead him to quick money or cause him a disgrace.
Thus, the lesson that one could learn would be
Actions speak louder than words
But the true lesson would be
RULE 5: AS PARENTS, TRAIN YOUR CHILD TO FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE SOCIETY
Like comparison is a trap that takes you down the lane similarly, shifting blame is also a trait that provides you with the easiest route to account for losses or failure.
But it never shows where you went wrong or did you fulfil your job as per your potential.
This is the problem, it’s easy to shift the blame but difficult to accept your mistake.
This was the best thing Mr Oswald had found in Adams and he proved it to him time and again.
Once Adams was given a chance to prepare an ad copy for a paper manufacturer but since he was new to it,
He went ahead reading into the ad copies that had been approved before to check for the nitty-gritty of it.
What he found in the ad copies prepared him to make one of the best ones.
The best ones are never complicated or sophisticated but damn simple and to the point.
But as the sector was new to him, he missed out on a particular detail,
Which was so important that if it had been missed,
The Ad would have cost the client several million and in turn, change the advertiser…
What happened then?
As the ad was about to go on air, one person in the publicity department contacted and wanted to confirm if everything was right?
This is when Mr Oswald called in Adams to enquire and after knowing about the mistake,
He replied that it was his mistake and it would be corrected within an hour.
This time the ad was checked personally by Mr Oswald and then aired.
What Mr Oswald found when the ad copy had gone back to Adams for correction was that all the ad copies that he provided Adams had the same problem.
Though Adams was unaware owing to the ad copies he went through as a reference, he never shifted the blame onto his predecessors.
This proves another rule you should always remember
RULE 6: DON’T BLAME, CHECK IF YOU FULFILLED YOUR POTENTIAL
If you wonder that certain administrative tasks must be performed as without them you cannot prove your worth in a corporate setting?
My answer would be a complete NO!
When the work is evaluated keeping in mind the desired goal, what leads to it is primal.
But all that assists in it is always secondary and if possible must be delegated.
So what should be done?
The answer is loud and clear.
Focus on fewer tasks but with complete attention and it must lead to the desired goal not assist in it.
The thing that makes you procrastinate because it is difficult and it requires a lot of attention not because it is difficult to concentrate but because the span of attention has gone down.
This thing is what I refer to as Frog and I advocate that if this is completed first it would not only boost confidence but also give you a headstart to go and grab the other tasks.
Let me illustrate this with an example from Adams life…
Adams though is referred to as the quietest guy who is completely off the record in office but when the work is assigned to him and to accomplish the same he needs to meet and converse with people, he would quickly get hold of them and ask them all sorts of questions which could assist him while he sits back to analyze and conclude.
To ensure the conversation goes perfect, he would do several mocks and decide in advance the follow-up questions and conclusions that could be drawn from it.
He believes that a strong foundation is a must to have a building that survives the storm.
So, he always plans ahead of time and makes his moves when you least expect it.
He would create a complete vacuum with no phone or any other means disturbing him and perform the work that ends up in results.
His focus would be high even when he is in a restaurant having meals as only one thought runs through his mind i.e. how to achieve results.
To keep himself adept at his work, he takes breaks after accomplishing his micro goals and gets back to work in time with full discipline. He is consistent and this leads to results…
This denotes that he knows the lesson-
RULE 7: DO DEEP WORK THAN SHALLOW WORK
If this prompts you to believe that you are lying to yourself by showcasing that you are too busy, let me bring to your attention the next rule which talks about your truth…
One can lie to anyone and everyone in the world but never should one lie to himself/herself.
If you have a question, why?
The answer is already known to you I.e. if you lie to yourself, you don’t betray anybody but yourself and when you do that, you break yourself into pieces which if tied together would still not come to become you.
This could be proved by the fact that once you lie to yourself, you commit the biggest crime of compromising yourself for something that doesn’t matter.
You lose the conscience of right and wrong and become a robot on the earth performing every action without a second thought.
If you don’t wish to do something don’t sell it to yourself on the presumption of getting money or surviving as when you do that you force yourself to do something, you wouldn’t do if not forced and certainly not when you feel tired.
You see the thing that makes you happy in the first place is not something to be asked of you,
As you would do it willingly even without being asked to,
Whereas you do something that you force out of yourself only when asked to.
A similar thing happened with Adams when he understood that he was meant for advertising and not being a salesman at some store.
He made up his mind when he watched Mr Oswald deliver a speech at his evening school, that he would do advertising and work for this man.
He with his firm conviction went straight to Mr Oswald without a second thought and conveyed it.
Though this was the most obvious thing to do,
We hardly find courage in our hearts to do such a thing these days.
This makes him an exception and also shows that whatever is done with true desire turns out great irrespective of the short term shortcomings.
The same happened with Adams when after 10 years, he headed the Oswald Advertisers.
This highlights the true essence of life I.e.
RULE 8: ALIGN YOURSELF TO YOUR TRUTH BY ACTIONS AND STOP LYING
The next question that comes to my mind as would yours would have enquired I.e
Does alignment to truth make you grow?
I believe YES!!
So, is growth continual or one time?
It’s in the mindset that you choose Growth or Stagnant…
So, if it’s a growth mindset then it’s a continual affair completely opposite to the stagnant one,
Which means that you can learn as long as you are ready to learn.
Adams as far as I know is the best amateur you could ever meet, the reason being that he never misses a chance to show that he needs to know more.
He makes the person in front of him look like an expert and grasp eagerly whatever other person could teach.
A similar thing happened to him when for the first time he was asked to review the Ad copy of the existing clients.
Though he is smart when it comes to making one, he does not know how to go about review.
So he went straight to the person who had drafted it and asked him the question,
“How many marks would he give to the ad copy if he was asked to review his ad copy?”
Hearing this, Mike who had drafted the ad copy look disturbed and step back as if there was something wrong with it.
Hence, he asked Adams if there was something wrong with it and where should he make the corrections?
To reassure the point that he must know the points looked into while review, Adams asked him again the same question.
This brought chills on his face and Mike surrendered.
Adams couldn’t have given his chance to learn about the review process and so asked him for a formal review of his ad copy, as he would accept the same only after looking at the review.
This forced Mike to conduct a review and highlight the findings making Adams look as if he knew what was wrong with ad copy and wanted Mike to find the same.
This way he learned while showing himself as an expert (Truth- Amateur) at the same time.
The lesson learnt wasn’t obvious but naïve as much as it could be.
RULE 9: LISTEN TO OTHERS THOUGHTFULLY, THEY WOULD TRUST YOU AND YOU WOULD LEARN SOMETHING
What do you think is the prerequisite to growth?
Is it knowledge or is it direction?
I think and I believe it’s the direction and I base my thinking on the rule that though knowledge is helpful,
It’s not useful if not applied.
And to apply it in a manner to benefit yourself,
Direction is a must.
As direction leads to clarity and avoids any confusion,
One must try and achieve clarity to grow in life…
Clarity solves the problem and once the problem is solved,
Results motivate you and you approach faster than regular speed towards the upcoming tasks.
Adams had followed the ritual of TDR or 3 Day Ritual consistently whereby he observed the place of action for a day, people in action for a day and his observations for a day.
This helps him get clarity and with this clarity, he plans and executes the preparation of the ad copy.
The ad copy drawn on this basis would be nearly failproof until some material facts are deliberately hidden from him.
This way he connects the dots and finds out if some link is missing or he has all that he needs to succeed at assessing requirements.
If he feels that all that is required is present, he successfully makes an ad copy and succeeds at what he desires.
This proves that Clarity precedes everything and for clarity, direction holds the key.
Hence, the lesson I just learnt narrating it to you is-
RULE 10: HAVE CLARITY IN DEFINING YOUR PROBLEM, IT’S LEADS FROM CHAOS TO CLARITY
This brings me to the next question I.e.
If you are always given the direction, what happens when you have to choose it on your own?
Firstly, if this happened unexpectedly, you panic.
Whereas, while you still have a backup and you choose, you never lose confidence.
This means that you start making decisions on your own so that you become independent and take the responsibility for the same,
Whether it takes you to the tops or makes you fall to the bottom.
This is necessary because it makes you prepared for everything that can happen and at the same time, makes you never lose your calm.
Similarly, if you care about somebody don’t try to teach them or convey what you feel about it when they are skateboarding.
This is to mean that you allow your children to take a risk, learn it the hard way with you by their side so that if anything doesn’t fall into place, you could still assist them and they come out stronger the next time.
This happened with Adams when he was onboarded by Mr Oswald.
He was allowed to take risks only to understand how much a wrong decision could cost him and the organisation.
This made him twice sure about his results and from the next time, he made sure that the risk he took in the first place, gets the double return for both him and the organisation.
This brings me to the fact that it is not Adams to be praised but Mr Oswald who never handheld him but stood by his risks and asked him to fix them up while still being around.
The lesson of life is immensely useful as it states
RULE 11: ACCEPT THE INEQUALITIES AS THEY EXIST, EMBRACE THE OPINIONS AND STAND BY THEM
Do you think this way the life is going to be easy?
If you thought it would, let me remind you that life is going to be easy if you challenge your existing version and fight the difficulties with calmness and embrace the situation as it knocks at your door.
Life could not be without problems, because if it was, it would make you feel bad as it got monotonous and there’s nothing you could do to spice it up.
But the truth is, every action has an equal and opposite reaction,
This implies that every problem has a solution and you could get it if you stay calm and work your way out.
Adams is a simple guy, everyone admires him not because he is simple but because
Though there are too many problems associated with a client,
He is willing to come face to face and enjoy the process of solving it, not finding happiness in the results but content in the process of discovery…
How hard may be the situation to think through, he never loses his calm and that leverages the firm against the client and strikes the best possible solution!
Finally bringing us face to face to the last but most crucial lesson of life,
RULE 12: LIFE IS ROUGH, BUT HAPPINESS IS ETERNAL IF YOU ARE IN SEARCH OF IT
If you wish to lead a simple life, the ways are right there,
But before you think about a goal, think beyond passion!!
If what we learnt today, makes you feel great and you wish to level up further,
Don’t miss to grab this gift from my end,
As what I wish for you is getting the best version out…
Let me know what you feel about the rules in the comments section or you can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S I am all ears to listen to you…
All that has been narrated is of a fictional character but leanings have been timeless.
I express my gratitude to all my mentors for teaching me this and special thanks to Jordan Peterson for his amazing book “12 Rules of Life”…