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10 Rules to Live By

Outside my bedroom door is this print, professionally framed (by Wilson Family Picture Framing):

Photo credit: Etsy, NYCLaurenFritsch

It’s Thomas Jefferson’s Canons of Conduct, or 10 Rules to Live By. From the Thomas Jefferson Foundation website: Thomas Jefferson often took the opportunity to advise his children, grandchildren and others on matters of personal conduct. Over the years he developed a list of axioms for personal behavior. Some seem to have been of his own invention; others derived from classical or literary sources.

I love it. Not only for the super cool look, luxe gold lettering, and thick charcoal gray paper, but for the message it holds. It’s like the best practices for becoming a responsible, upright person.

  • Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
  • Never spend your money before you have earned it.
  • Never buy what you don’t want because it is cheap.
  • Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
  • We seldom repent for having eaten too little.
  • Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
  • How much pain the evils have cost us that never happened.
  • Take things always by the smooth handle.
  • When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, count a hundred.

There are so many times I am about to do something, think of one of these rules, pause and change my mind. Having the print visible where I pass it several times each day makes it almost a mantra to me. I especially love the fact that this was written 200 years ago, and is still relevant today. Good advice never goes out of style.

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