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ASSIGNMENT: Write 25 rules which helps others become “semi-successful.” Maximum of 4 points per rule for a total of 100 points.
RULE #1: Talking about what you’re going to do makes you a lot less likely to actually do it. Keep your plans to yourself.
GRADE: +0 According to Robert Cialdini - oral communication of your intentions actually increases commitment. See Commitment and Consistency Principle.
RULE #2: If it’s less than 2 floors, never take the elevator. Take the stairs. Nassim Taleb talks about this too: Carry your own bags. Take the stairs. Walk instead of taking a cab. You were already planning to go to the gym later, don’t be an idiot. Exercise is exercise.
GRADE: +4 Ok.
RULE #3: Always pull the car up to the very end of the curb (never waste a parking spot)
GRADE: +4 Ok.
RULE #4: Public speaking is only hard or scary if you don’t think you know what you’re talking about. That’s relatively simple to fix.
GRADE: +1 Public speaking takes practice. Knowing the subject matter is half the battle. Otherwise we’d all be able to deliver our life stories on stage.
RULE #5: Never recline your seat on an airplane. Yes, it gives you more room–but ultimately at the expense of someone else. In economics, they call this an externality. It’s bad. Don’t do it.
GRADE: +1.5 Meh, most seats are built to recline with minimal interference to the person behind you.
RULE #6: After you’re done eating at a restaurant, just hand the waiter your card. You don’t need to see the receipt first (99% of the time it’s right and if it isn’t–it’s their fault. Send them back to fix it). Also, there’s no need to calculate the tip. I just enter the final number I’m paying. I’m paying them, they can do the math for me. (Provided you actually tip well.)
GRADE: +3 Not bad, but Keith Ferrazzi says never eat alone.
RULE #7: If someone wants to go faster, let them pass.
GRADE: +4 Ok.
RULE #8: When you’re traveling to a new city, the first thing you should do when you get to the hotel is change into your work out clothes and go for a long run. You get to see the sights, get a sense of the layout and then you won’t waste an hour of your life in a lame hotel gym either.
GRADE: +4 Ok.
RULE #9: Never correct someone’s pronunciation of a word with the more appropriate ethnic accentuation. Only small people care that much about grammar or pronunciations.
GRADE: +3 Ok. Although, giving them a note in private might save them embarrassment later.
RULE #10: Everything your doctor, school and parents said was healthy is probably bad for you. Whole grains, soy, corn, wraps, milk. Ask yourself: does what I am about to eat even remotely resemble something my ancestors evolved to eat? If the answer is no, put it down. If, like me, the allure of these foods is too much, save them for one day a week where you splurge (and then hate yourself and swear them off for another week).
GRADE: +2 Just because you follow your favorite fad diet doesn’t mean you’re auto smarter than your doctor, school, and parents.
RULE #11: Unless it’s an atrocity, take responsibility for it. You’re probably more at fault than you know.
GRADE: +0 So if it’s an atrocity, don’t take any responsibility.
RULE #12: Get a dog, not a cat. One will make you a better person, the other is just an animal that lives in your house.
GRADE: +0.5 Even raising a snail teaches people about responsibility. 1/8 helpful and 7/8 opinion.
RULE #13: In business situations, your first instinct is to start negotiating. Stop that. How much is significantly less important than whether you truly, truly want to do this thing. If you do–and I know this advice is controversial–just take the deal, provided its half way decent. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Bird in the hand. Blah blah. If you don’t want to do it–don’t let money sway you. Take the deal, do a good job, get more money on the next one. This is the philosophy of doers. Sharks and sociopaths care about squeezing every penny because they’ve confused money with their worth.
GRADE: +1.5 Big difference between a penny pincher and a bonafide sucker. The feeling of entering an unfair deal will hamper your motivation - make sure you feel that you’re treated fairly from the getgo.
RULE #14: Shame is a powerful emotion that can be used for good. If it’s something you want to hide or are embarrassed about, think twice about whether it’s actually the right thing. (Two good one liners about this here).
GRADE: +2 On the flip note, think about why you feel shame, especially when it stems from social stigma generated from repressive cultural backdrops.
RULE #15: Be in the middle of a book at all times. Better still, carry one with you at all times–a physical one. You’ll be amazed at how impressed people are by this.
GRADE: +3 Except when you’re public speaking, eating at a restaurant, or jogging right after you check in a hotel.
RULE #16: Frequent Flyer Miles are for people whose time is worthless. Here’s what I do: I use a Southwest Visa card. It means I get a few extra free domestic flights a year without ever having to do anything. And then on everything else? I never, ever think about it–even though I fly close to 50,000+ miles a year. If I am going to have to juggle a bunch of arbitrary, meaningless numbers for piddly rewards, I’d rather juggle sports stats or play games on my cell phone. At least those are entertaining.
GRADE: +2.5 Sounds like shitty advice or blatant advertisement for Southwest Visa, but points for benefit of the doubt.
RULE #17: Most people are lying when they describe what their life is like. Don’t listen, don’t use what they say as a baseline, don’t get jealous, just nod and then forget it.
GRADE: +3 Ok, in situations where it’s unproductive. Bad idea when people are legitimately trying to communicate with you.
RULE #18: Speaking of which, people are constantly trying to bribe you to be like them and take on the same burdens as them. DO NOT ACCEPT.
GRADE: +2 First, stop hanging out with shitty people. And second, I guess I won’t be signing up for the Southwest Visa plan.
RULE #19: Traveling for the sake of traveling is stupid.
GRADE: +3 Nice Emerson quote, but pretty terrible way of summarizing. But…nice Emerson quote.
RULE #20: If there is a long line and you don’t want to wait in it, walk up to the front (or walk through the back or opposite way) and pretend you didn’t know you were doing things incorrectly. It almost always works. And when it doesn’t, no one thinks it was malicious. After all, you were just turned around. Note: pretending you forgot something–like you were just walking up to grab silverware at the buffet line–works well too. Grab your stuff and make a getaway.
GRADE: +1.5 Dick thing to do. Didn’t you just talk about negative externalities in RULE #5?
RULE #21: The best way to flirt is to ask provocative questions. And provocative is anything people aren’t expecting to be asked–it doesn’t have to be sexual.
GRADE: +3 "Hey baby, you like big lists?"
RULE #22: Eliminate options, concentrate your forces. Here I am combining two lessons from Tim Ferriss and Robert Greene. For example, in terms of clothes and meals, just pick a few favorites and then stick with them. This means less time is wasted thinking about choices on a daily basis. But more importantly, concentrating your limited dollars/time on fewer entities gives you more leverage. I mostly eat at the same restaurants over and over–and you know what, they always hook me up. The fastest way to VIP status on anything is to cheat by going or buying a few times in a row. There’s a saying behind this too: More wood behind fewer arrows. It applies to more than just dinner perks.
GRADE: +3.5 Kind of boring, but ok.
RULE #23: Conference calls and meetings are mostly a waste of time. If the person is more important or successful than you, consider going. If not, beg off as best you can.
GRADE: +0 (Revised) This is just douchebaggery.
RULE #24: Current events/the news should be followed only if it fits one of the following criteria 1) It directly affects you in someway. 2) Knowing about it would make for interesting conversation. If you’re watching something and you can’t tell yourself that you either plan to do something with that information or it will make you seem smart, turn it off. Or flip it over to Comedy Central because you may as well be watching pure entertainment.
GRADE: +3.5 "Directly affects you in someway" and "Interesting conversation" are vague cop-outs. Most current events can fall in these categories. But credit for referring to Comedy Central, which has good edutainment programing like Daily Show, Colbert Report, and South Park.
RULE #25: (no answer)
GRADE: +0 If you’re going to write an article about 25 rules make sure you count properly.
TOTAL SCORE: 55.5 / 100