5 Tenets to live by

Some years ago, I read a tweet from a professor at Cambridge University which quoted 5 tenets to live by. The surprise was that he wasn’t quoting a self-development guru, but Leo Esaki, Nobel Prize winning Physicist. I can’t deny that I loved it even more because of this fact, for it reinforces my belief that if we limit ourselves to a narrow source of inspiration, we risk closing our minds to the vast range of wisdom and experience available to us.

So, on to those five tenets and, of course – me being me – I’ve added my own commentary to each one πŸ˜‰

Don’t allow yourself to be trapped by your past experiences.

The obvious take is we should avoid being trapped by the negative, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion Esaki also intended we shouldn’t be limited by the positive either. I can’t help thinking that just because one option has been easy or proven to be successful, is no reason to be limited to solely that one route. If opportunity or enthusiasm leads elsewhere – it makes sense to me that we should open our minds to the possibility.

Don’t allow yourself to become attached to any one authority in your field.

I absolutely love this one, for I don’t want to be a knock-off of anyone else, no matter their success or fame. With age has come the knowledge that relying on only one source can only be limiting. Reading, studying and engaging widely ensures that ideas and information come to me from a variety of backgrounds and points of view. The danger of one single source is that it re-enforces what I already believe and know, leaving me unaware of new developments and concepts, or simply skewed to one train of thought.

Or – and because I’m a lover of fiction – in the words of Haruki Murakami β€œIf you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Don’t hold on to what you don’t need.

My personal take on this one, as a life coach who also suffers from depression, is the tendency of individuals to hold on to thoughts and emotions which are unhelpful, even debilitating. For thoughts which prove limiting and prevent a person living the best life possible, are not needed. Oh but were it as easy to let them go….

But I suspect the wider take home here is that modern day lifestyles have become skewed towards the material, and about possessions rather than experiences.

Don’t avoid confrontation.

I like that what it doesn’t say is seek confrontation. I read it as encouraging anyone who holds a belief that is well-formed and deeply held, to be willing and prepared to stand by it and to defend it. In our current world, this one feels more important than it did when I first read it.

Don’t forget your spirit of childhood curiousity.

This is such a great one to close on, for there’s so much we had as children which is now lost to us, but also because you never know what is going to β€œfeed” you.

For example, I’m not scientist (indeed, I’m as far away from one as you can possibly be) but I discovered late in life that I enjoy the challenge reading science fiction provides to my mental capacity. Whenever I read it, I look forward to checking out the seemingly out-of-this-world sciency stuff with my friendly neighbourhood scientist.

Boundaries are great for keeping people safe – both physically and emotionally – but I believe minds are meant to roam freely. I enjoy doing so, and to let what it finds – surprise me πŸ™‚

Do any of these Tenets speak to you? Do you have any Tenets, rules or guidelines of your own that you try to live by?

Β© Debra Carey, 2022

20 thoughts on “5 Tenets to live by

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  1. I used to keep a list of rules [guidelines] to live by, that I’d update yearly. The two that I still follow are: 1) Maximize your options, & 2) Don’t let the seeds stop you from enjoying the watermelon.

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  2. Those are good tenets. All seem to be about being open to possibilities, even of confrontation if necessary. How much better off would the children in the US be if the far right considered the possibilities of anything besides the hateful rhetoric spewed by Fox News (and worse)?

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  3. Autumn, I literally cannot speak about what is going on there at the moment, so I’m going to focus my response on Fox. I read the results of an experiment where regular viewers of Fox News were forced to watch CNN instead of Fox, and the change to the viewers attitudes was so marked.

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  4. I especially like the one about being trapped by past experiences. I think that’s a natural course when one gets older (I see it in myself regularly), but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way. The need to keep an open mind is ageless. – Marty

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  5. I think that if a person could follow all five of these tenets, they would live a pretty good life. I like potential they have to work in concert with each other. I’ve worked hardest to get over avoiding confrontation–oh, the pain I’ve endured trying to avoid pain. It’s still a struggle for me, but getting easier.

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  6. I agree Marty, that one’s an absolute bugger! But your final point is key, keeping an open mind is ageless (and less ageing) πŸ˜‰


  7. Yes Rita, they’re such a well balanced list. Not being a scientist, I’m going to guess that could well be a thing in Physics πŸ˜‰ I still have issues with getting angry, it rendering me unable to express my thoughts calmly & eloquently in an argument, and then I get all emotional afterwards. I wish it was only regret, but there’s more to it. May need more therapy to nail down exactly what it is.


  8. It’s very interesting how one can take a kind of generic list and find the fit in their own lives. I like these five. I know I have rules for self but it’s kind of hard to put into words. One is certainly not to keep toxic people in my life. I have one for other people, sort of – don’t ask what you don’t want to know. I try to keep my opinions to myself, particularly when it crosses into giving out unasked for advice; but if asked, I will be honest with you. And I believe in being kind.

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  9. Zazzy, first of I love your rules and agree with them. I do like the one you have for other people – oh if only we could find a way to apply it, instead we’re the ones who have to find a way to manage them. I also find it interesting how generic things like this can be such an easy to recognise fit in our own lives.

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  10. Good rules of life here Debs; I would add one more: Do not assume that anybody who doesn’t agree with you is the personification of evil (or is stupid). Much anxiety and anger would be dissipated if we just stopped, took breath and thought, instead of instantly responding.

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  11. Such wise tenets, and they require us to tune into ourselves and become more self aware, to spot the signs/unhelpful patterns.

    I’d probably also add another one around not allowing ourselves to be governed or manipulated by what other people think (or what we think they will think), as it often ends in regret for not doing what was right for you. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’«

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  12. Good one Cherryl. I especially love how you included “what we think they will think”. It’s bad enough when we react to something which has been said, but when it’s something we presume is being thought…. then we’re on the road to nowhere healthy very fast.


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