10 "Rules of Life" from Tolstoy

Posted on February 5, 2011

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From www.happiness-project.com, these are supposedly Tolstoy’s 10 Rules of Life, written when he was 18. Let’s see how I stack up against them.

Get up early (five o’clock)
There’s a five o’clock in the morning now?

Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock)
And miss out on all the thrills of the late-night ‘infomercials’?

Eat little and avoid sweets
Oh strewth – this man was a masochist!

Try to do everything by yourself
Nobody else going to do it for me, so that means I have to do it for myself. But surely it is a good thing to utilise the resources of others when relevant?

Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for every minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater
This I agree with. I do not always do it as often or as well as I could or should, but I think he’s right on the money.

Keep away from women
Definitely not an issue for me except that it’s the women staying away from me! I think that my deodorant must emit the wrong sort of pheromones.

Kill desire by work
Man, this fella had the constitution of a Benedictine monk!

Be good, but try to let no one know it
I hide my goodness by being a bastard – and I’m good at it!

Always live less expensively than you might
Aren’t we writers all supposed to be starving in French garrets anyway?

Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer
Oh please – continue starving in a garret even after you start getting the seven-figure advances?

So how do I rack up against Tolstoy? Not terribly well. With those rules, he must have lived the life of a particularly unhappy monk. Or were these the sacrifices he was prepared to make for his calling? The question then becomes just how much am I prepared to sacrifice for my chosen vocation?

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