The 7 Cardinal Rules of Life and What They Mean to Us

Back in 1995, the Japanese coming-of-age anime movie Whisper of the Heart was released by Studio Ghibli. The story revolved around two young students who were struggling with their feelings for each other and their artistic callings.

A few years ago, an unidentified person summarized the significant life lessons from the movie and posted them online. Up to this day, the identity of the said author remains a mystery but the lessons that they extracted from the movie still continue to make their rounds on the interwebs and on social media.

The 7 Fundamental Rules of Life


1. Forget the former things so they don’t interfere with the here and now.

Regrets are a normal part of our lives. It is one of life’s constants in our ever-changing world. We all have made decisions that we lived to regret.

Perhaps we passed up on the opportunity of a lifetime because we didn’t know any better. Or maybe we did something foolish that made us end up bound in a wheelchair for the rest of our lives.

Whatever that is, learn from the mistakes of your past and focus on building your life today.

2. Allow time to pass so proper healing can take place.

The saying “Time heals everything” wasn’t just made up to make someone feel better and cheer them up. Like our regrets in life, we tend to get frustrated when unfortunate things happen, and we can’t do anything to make it better.

That, too, is part of life.

Sometimes, it’s better if we just take a back seat and let life take its course. While there are things that can be rectified with immediate action, there are other things that you just need to let time do its magic. Healing should come naturally and not be forced on someone or on a situation.

3. Don’t let what people say bother you.

People will talk. No matter what you do, no matter how nice you are, people will always have something to say about you and your life. Sure, it can be annoying. Sometimes even to the point of angering you.

But don’t react. Instead, choose to respond by not letting it get to you. Learn to identify whose opinions and thoughts you should listen to and value. In most cases, those who matter to you will speak the truth to you in love and give you what you need when you need it — comfort, encouragement, correction, and rebuke. Listen to them instead.

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4. Run your own race and let others run theirs.

Say this to yourself: I don’t need to keep up with the Joneses. And you really don’t. People say that life is a race. And yes, it is true. But know that it is a race against yourself and not others. You’re in it to compete with yourself, not the person next to you.

So stop comparing your situation with your friends or colleagues because they’re running an entirely different race.

Maybe it just appears like you’re running the same race because you’re both headed in the right direction but you have no idea what they went through to get to where they are. Stop comparing yourself to them and avoid judging them.

5. Don’t feel pressured to always have the answer to everything because you don’t.

We have all been conditioned to think that we’re supposed to know the answers to life’s questions. But the truth is, our feeble minds cannot even begin to fully grasp what life is really all about. At best, we only hold a few pieces of the puzzle while others have the other pieces in their hands. Then, we start putting them all together to create a bigger picture.

So, no, don’t feel bad when you have nothing to say. You don’t have that puzzle piece, and it’s completely okay.

6. Work wholeheartedly with what you can control.

We’ve all been in awful situations where we just feel like taking over and controlling the situation. But the harsh reality of life tells us that we don’t have any control over what life brings. At best, we can only work with the things within our grasp: how we respond, the words that we say, the thoughts that we think, the deeds that we do, the directions where we go.

If we learn to focus on the things we can do — the things we have control over — then life would be less stressful and depressing.

7. Smile. The world is a better place when you do.

Even if you don’t feel like smiling, smile anyway. It’s not denying your emotions or putting up a front. Specialists and experts even say that you should acknowledge your emotions and not keep it bottled up. But a smile is also known to help lift people’s moods and brighten their day. Your smile has the power to change a person’s countenance including yours.

The lessons may be quite simple, but they resonate very deeply, down to the very core of the soul. They give people a reason to believe in life again and to never lose hope despite the different challenges he or she may face.

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