10 Rules To Live by for More Success, Happiness, and Freedom [Updated]

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THE #1 secret for achieving more success, happiness, and freedom in every area of your life is to develop a core set of “personal rules to live by.”

I know it might sound counterintuitive, but after building five 7-figure businesses in five different industries, I’m convinced that it’s true.

And the reason is simple.

Personal rules give you a foundational structure by which to live your life.

They eradicate indecision, temptation, and distraction and, paradoxically, create more freedom for you to do the things you love.

It’s one of the reasons why I love vegans and vegetarians (even as someone who spent $2,500 on a ridiculous steak dinner with my buddy Bedros Keuilian!)

When you’re a vegan, you live by the personal rule that “Under no circumstances will I ever eat meat.”

It’s not, “Well, I probably shouldn’t eat meat…buttt everyone else is having a burger so I’ll indulge just this once.”

No. You do not eat meat. Ever.

It’s just part of who you are.

And this is the same type of structure I want to help you build in your life.

When you take the time to develop your own rules to live by, everything in your life becomes easier. You no longer have to ‘think’ about the decisions and opportunities in your life…instead you have a clear set of operating principles that make everything automatic.

If you have the personal rule that you don’t hit the snooze button (and you truly live by that rule), you never have to sit in bed and negotiate “Just five more minutes” with yourself.

You wake up, turn off your alarm, and get to work. Period.

And in this essay, I’m going to share my personal rules to live by and the overarching philosophy that guides my life.

My 10 Personal “Rules to Live By”

These rules are not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and they may or may not be appropriate for your life. But they’ve served me well over the past 20 years and have been critical to the successes I’ve enjoyed.

My goal in writing this is not to tell you what you should do. But rather to motivate and encourage you to develop your own operating principles and use them to live a better, more productive, and happier life.

Whether you adopt my rules or not, I challenge you to think about this topic deeply and consider how a few “set in stone” non-negotiable rules could have a profound and lasting impact on the quality of your life.

1. Committment to a Consistent Wake Up Time

For years, I operated by the rule that “I go to bed and wake up at the same time 7 days per week” (8 pm and 4 am respectively).

However, more recently, I realized that this particular rule was unnecessarily restrictive. And, after reading Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, I also realized that it wasn’t healthy.

Today, I’ve modified this rule to fit my new listyle and committed to simply waking up at the same time everyday.

This rule not only helps me stay consistent in my schedule (and allows me to attack my deep work blocks every workday), but gives me more energy and motivation than I’ve ever had before.

I challenge you to try it out for a month.

Whether you join the 5 am club or the 7 am club or even the 9 am club doesn’t matter. Just commit to waking up at the same time every day of the week and see how your life changes.

2. Daily Deep Work (Writing) 

I have, quite literally, made my millions through the power of the written word.

From sales pages to email copy to my best-selling books, all of my business ventures have lived and died on my ability to put words on a page that motivate my audience to take action.

As such, I follow the personal rule that I write for at least 60-minutes first thing every morning without fail.

No matter what type of work you do, committing to this type of consistent daily deep work will have a profound impact on your business and result in more money, less stress, and more fulfillment.

3. The “No Email” Rule 

For years, I would wake up, check my email, and immediately get sucked into the vortex that is my inbox.

This caused me to start my days from a negative and reactive state and I knew I needed to make a change.

So I implemented the personal rule that “I do not check email before 11 am and don’t take phone calls before 10 am”.

The result has been more focus and productivity during my “magic time” and infinitely less stress and overwhelm.

No matter what your business is, I encourage you to set a strict personal rule around how you handle emails and other forms of communication.

It will protect your time, sanity, and success.

4. Be Polite and Corteous (and Don’t Swear) 

I’ll be honest with you…

Hanging out with my friends like Bedros Keuilian and Jason Capital, makes living by this rule a challenge.

But I still do it.

A few years ago, back in the day when I still swore like a sailor and punctuated every thought or comment with an aggressive f-bomb, I realized that I was misaligned.

I never swore in front of my family or in the content I wrote for Early to Rise…so why would I do it in my daily life?

I committed to my “no swearing” rule (with the help of my trusty swear jar) and within a few months, was able to articulate my ideas without resorting to profanity.

5. Proper Planning and Preparation 

One of the personal rules to which I attribute most of my success is my committment to proper planning and preparation.

At the end of everyday, I use my Perfect Day Formula Kit to plan my days and update my daily gratitude and achievment journal.

And it’s literally changed my life.

When you wake up knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished and why, everything runs smoother. Your days are more productive, effective, and fulfilling and you eliminate the dead time from your schedule.

6. My “No Confrontation” Rule 

99% of the time, confronatations, either in-person or online are a waste of time and energy.

And I refuse to allow menial arguments to steal my energy or happiness.

If I’ve caused harm to someone, I apologize and fix the situation. If someone on my team or in my life has over stepped a boundary or failed to meet an expectation, I communicate it as cordially and politely as possible.

But I don’t waste time with trolls or haters. And I never will.

7. My Guiding Lights 

There are two phrases that guide my life…

“Nothing Matters” and “It will all be over soon”.

Simply put, I can only work toward my big goals and vision when I silence the noise and remember that other people’s opinions (meaning the opinions of the masses…not my mentors or board of advisors) don’t matter and that, no matter how much I accomplish…my time is limited.

These ideas help me stay centered and calm in the midst of chaos and ensure that I’m always focused on what’s really important instead of vanity metrics of ego-driven desires.

8. Full Responsibility 

I believe, and have created a “personal rule to live by” that EVERYTHING in my life–good and bad–is my responsibility.

Even if a situation isn’t necessarily my fault…I am still the person responsible for finding the solution.

If an employee drops the ball on a big project, it was my responsibility to train them or communicate my expectations.

If someone violates a boundary, it’s my responsibility to communicate and reinforce that boundary.

When you take full responsibility for your life, you get out of the passengers seat and into the driver’s seat.

Blame has no place in the life of an Operator.

9. The Person I Don’t Want to Be 

Another personal rule I always try to live by is “That I will not be the person I don’t want to be.”

Pettiness, jealousy, and envy don’t drive me toward the life I desire or help me make progress toward my big goals. Gossip and bad mouthing do nothing to serve me.

As such, I don’t allow them in my life.

10. Keep the Child Alive 

As an entrepreneur and high-performer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking yourself and your life too seriously.

To be too rigid in the way you live, to avoid fun and adventure in favor of “hustle and grind”.

But, as Oscar Wilde said, “Life is far too short to be taken so seriously.”

Every day and week, I do something to keep the child inside of me alive.

Whether it’s singing karoke to Living on a Prayer in front of 200 people, wrestling with my dog Daisy, or spending the night watching one of my favorite comedians deliver an epic stand up, I’m constantly trying to inject more fun and aliveness into each day.

Because life is short. And it’s important to enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Conclusion: What Are YOUR Personal Rules to Live By? 

Right now, you’re likely having one of two reactions.

You’re either dismissing what I’ve shared today (and me), which is ok.

Or, something just ‘clicked’.

High achievers will understand the value of these philosophies and how each rule I’ve shared can improve and enhance some area of their lives.

But like I said before…

The purpose of this list is to stimulate YOUR thinking about the rules that will transform YOUR life.

So now, I’m curious…

What are your top 3 personal rules for life? Are there any rules on this list you’re going to implement? Any that sound completely crazy?

Let me know in the comments below.


If you want my help… 

…Becoming more disciplined, developing your own set of personal rules, increasing your income, and working a lot less…

Then I want to invite you to apply for my “Millionaire Coaching Case Study”.

My goal is to help 1,000 entrepreneurs double their income while working 10 fewer hours a week and to help at least 100 of those entrepreneurs make their first million.

If you control your income and you’re willing to put in the work, be coachable, and take massive action on the strategies and systems I’ll share with you…

…Then send an email to support@earlytorise.com with the subject line “I’m interested” and I’ll send you all the details to see if you’re qualified.

Craig Ballantyne

If you want to double your income, work less, and become the ambitious millionaire you've always wanted to be... Craig Ballantyne is the coach who will help you do it. With more than 20-years of experience as an entrepreneur and five 7-figure businesses under his belt, he specializes in helping "struckling" entrepreneurs get out of the mud and build the business of their dreams. To see if you qualify for Craig's "Millionaire Coaching Program" send an email to support@earlytorise.com with the subject line "Millionaire".