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Rewriting the Rule Book

Rules are made to be broken, right? Well, not all of them…

If you were told that you could re-write the rule book, in your own fashion, and change your life for the better by doing so, you’d jump on it, right?

Well, guess what? You can…

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder, now founder of Square, and one of today’s most ambitious, focussed and consistently successful tech billionaires, revealed today that he has a Do’s and Don’ts list that he refers to EVERY DAY. Every. Single. Day.

And best of all, he shared it:

Jack Dorsey's Do's and Don'ts

Jack’s list is surprising in many ways, not least in it’s simplicity – or, for that matter, the bizarre reference to heavy bags!?! – but above all else, it demonstrates a self-discipline that so many of us leave on the pillow most mornings (guilty as charged).

Jack’s revelation, at a recent Y Combinator Startup School event, got me thinking. Why don’t I have such a list? Why do I think it’s possible to stay focussed on what I believe and what I hope to achieve, if I don’t have even the most basic of guidelines to keep me in check? Where’s my Rule Book?

If I’m working on a project for a client, the first thing I do is write a simple to do list. In fact, I even keep a daily task list for my day-to-day needs and demands, but when it comes to the BIG picture – the rules by which I want to live my life – my Rule Book is notable only by its absence.

So, here it is. Version One of my Rule Book. Feel free to have a gander and tell me what you think. Indeed, I’d love to see what others would write on their own. I highly recommend having a go.

Hey, if it’s good enough for Jack…


(Annotations are included to explain my thinking)

[icon name=icon-thumbs-up-alt] DO

1. Be curious.
Everything around you was made by people no smarter than you. Question everything.

2. Be thankful.
Take time to appreciate the things you have. I guarantee you’ll approach the rest of your day with a more positive attitude.

3. Work hard. Really hard.
There’s no substitute for it, and no easy way around it. Roll up your sleeves and get your head down.

4. Have fun. But not too much fun.
You know what I mean… Stay focussed.

5. Network.
Great things are rarely achieved alone. Get out there and get to know some people.

6. Try new things.
New experiences lead to new thoughts, new connections and new opportunities.

7. Embrace fear.
Do one thing each day that frightens you. Why? Because this.

8. Pursue greatness (but know you’ll never truly get there)
Always strive to do your best, but be ok with the fact that you will never reach perfection

9. Cherish your family.
Because you can never practice rule number 2 enough.

10. Share Knowledge.
Knowledge is better shared. It’s a two-way street.

[icon name=icon-thumbs-down-alt] DON’T

1. Don’t focus on what you haven’t got.
It will just make you feel inferior and depressed. Stop it.

2. Don’t stop believing.
Anything is possible. There are no limits.

3. Don’t be angry. Be better.
Anger is often just a sign that you can’t make things work out right. Make them work out right.

4. Don’t be lazy.
Get off your arse and get working. No excuses.

5. Don’t beat yourself up. Make mistakes, often.
If you’re not failing often you’re not trying hard enough.

6. Don’t dwell on the past – learn from it and move on.
Nothing can be gained from dwelling on the things you can’t change. Focus on the things you can… your present and your future.

7. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with other peoples highlight reels. We are all fighting battles others cannot see.

9. Don’t drink too much.

10. Don’t spend too much time writing lists.
Get on with it!

That’s it! Thanks for reading. Do you agree with anything in my Rule Book? Would you include any of my rules in your own Rule Book? Please feel free to share your own rules, thoughts and feedback with me in the comments. I would LOVE to hear what you think.


Rick PalmerIs this your first time here? If so, thanks for stopping by! If you’re looking for my Tumblr blog, you can find that here. I’m a Digital Strategist, entrepreneur and Head of Digital Business at Advertising M&A, the specialist Mergers and Acquisitions consultancy exclusively for the advertising, digital, media and marketing services sectors. I am also the Founder and Editor-in-chief at advertising industry blog Inside MarComs, featuring Q&As with brilliant people in advertising and marketing, as well as Founder and Principal of Rick Palmer Consulting, offering my personal expertise to private clients. You can find out more about me by reading my biog or connecting with me on LinkedIn.

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