My Four Commandments

By Leo Babauta

Gretchen Rubin of the excellent blog The Happiness Project recently did a post with tips for writing your own personal commandments, and it got me wondering: what are my personal commandments?

I’ve always enjoyed Gretchen’s Twelve Commandments, even before I’d started Zen Habits, but it wasn’t until now that I decided to really think about what my commandments would be.

It’s a tough question, because most of us have a lot of ideals that we’d like to embody in our personal lives. How to choose? Gretchen’s post has a good list of some ideas others have chosen, many of them things I’d like to choose myself.

So I decided to figure out what the essence of my personal philosphy was. I started with a brainstormed list, then simplified down to the essential. Actually, I could simplify even more (you could get away with just one commandment) but I like my list — it helps remind me of different things I’m trying to do.

I originally had 12 things on this list, but I decided to simplify. Here are my Four Commandments:

1. Be present.

2. Seek to understand and accept.

3. Be compassionate, and passionate.

4. Do less.

In case you’re wondering what I cut off the list: smile, go slowly, be love, do it now, keep things simple, and be harmless. I also combined some of them (2 and 3 are combos) to simplify.