How to Make The 7 Rules Of Life Work For You

By: Joy Youell

Updated July 27, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn

Life is complicated, but you can make it a bit easier by following these simple tips. The 7 Rules of Life can remind you where to focus and invest your energy, so you can enjoy life more. Sometimes, it can be challenging to follow them, but it is always beneficial. Here are some tips for making the 7 rules of life work for you.

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The 7 Rules of Life

Consider these rules to find more contentment and satisfaction with yourself and in your relationships:

  1. Make peace with your past, so it won't disturb your present.
  2. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  3. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
  4. No one is in charge of your happiness except for you.
  5. Don't compare your life to others, and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  6. Stop thinking too much. It's all right if you don't know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.
  7. You don't own all the problems in the world.

Tailor the Rules to Your Life

These simple pieces of advice can be applied to every circumstance in your life. Letting go of burdensome ideas and unnecessary responsibilities is the first step toward health and freedom. Overcoming offenses and being patient with yourself are vital forms of self-care. Here are some ways to apply these helpful rules to your daily life.

1: Make Peace with Your Past

The past can affect your present in unhelpful ways. An important aspect of mental health is continuously looking ahead to a bright future full of opportunities. The past is unchangeable. As you keep moving forward each day, you must intentionally move beyond the past. Here are some important components of that journey:

  • Forgive other people for offenses or past mistakes.
  • Forgive yourself for missteps.
  • Let painful memories fade by choosing different thoughts.
  • Accept what has happened in your life.
  • Make fresh commitments each day.


2: Move Past What Other People Think

This applies to rules #2, #4, and #5. You can never know another person's thoughts. Don't fall into the trap of always worrying how others will react. Instead, be true to yourself, so you can attract the kind of people who truly belong in your life. Do what makes you happy and the right people will stick around. Then, offer others the same courtesy.

3: Time and Healing

This advice is for rules #3 and #6. Often, you just need to let things sit. Life may seem difficult right now, but by following rule #1 and not dwelling on the past, you can move forward to find happiness. Acknowledge your suffering, but don't let it take over. When you don't know the right answer or the right thing to do, you can pay attention to what makes you feel better and what makes you feel worse.

4: Smile, or Don't

This may seem a bit contrary, but you don't have to force yourself to be happy all of the time. Absolutely allow yourself to feel your emotions as they are. Happiness is not about burying your feelings. It's about acknowledging them and giving them their appropriate place. Find a balance by not dwelling on problems. Instead, look at them objectively to take away their power and step toward happiness.

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5: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparison is the thief of joy. Measuring your worth or wellbeing against other people is a useless activity that ends in despair. Every day is an opportunity to celebrate who you are and what you have. Choosing contentment and focusing on the good in your life are powerful ways to overcome habits of comparison.

6: Control Your Thoughts

It's important that you feel empowered to dwell on the right ideas. Rehearsing negative interactions, revisiting the past in your mind, and repeating negative ideas are all unhelpful behaviors. Learning to change your thoughts is an important tool. Hone it, and practice whenever you're struggling with unhelpful thoughts.

7: Let Go of Unnecessary Responsibilities

There are things within your control and things outside your control. When people or circumstances are outside of your control, it is important to not hold them too tightly. Imbalanced responsibilities will make you unhappy. Accepting the right level of responsibility will help you function within your limits.

Make These Rules Work For You

When you can follow these rules, you will find your tension and worries melting away. If you're having trouble letting go or need to talk to someone, consider a professional therapist to help you figure out where you're getting stuck. BetterHelp's unique platform can provide counselors who are only a click away. This convenient process will match you with a highly-qualified mental health professional who can help you integrate these important rules into your life. Below are reviews of some BetterHelp counselors, from people experiences a variety of issues in life.


Counselor Reviews

"Amy is caring, understanding, practical and wise. She listens without judgement and helps me to see other perspectives. I value how working with her has increased my self awareness and mindfulness as I continue my journey."

"Nicolas is very down to earth and relatable. Empathetic and understanding, but sets clear goals for self improvement. I love my sessions with him and when things are difficult I know I can go to hunch for clarity to get me through a situation and to help me cope."


These 7 Rules of Life can work for you. They can help you decrease stress and increase happiness. It's important that you value your wellbeing. You are important, and you deserve to be happy. Take the first step.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the 7 rules of life?

The 7 rules of life are also knowns as the 4 Cardinal Rules of Life. They are meant to be simple rules that help to keep life simple while helping you live the best you can. They include:

  1. Make Peace with Your Past
  2. Move Past What Other People Think
  3. Time and Healing
  4. Smile, or Don't
  5. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
  6. Control Your Thoughts
  7. Let Go of Unnecessary Responsibilities

Who wrote the 7 rules of life?

You can search high and low for who wrote the 7 rules of life and there isn’t a clear answer. However, they are pieces of wisdom and advice that are often passed along to others, like they are life lessons. Following them can change your life for the better. They are very similar to having quotes to live by.

How do I make my life happier?

There are many ways to make your life happier and the cardinal rules of life help address some of the things that you can do. By following the simple rules in life, you may find that areas of your life are improving. Your relationships may become stronger. You may gain more confidence. And, your entire outlook on life may change as you don’t compare your life to others and instead focus on these 7 things.

What are the rules for success?

The Cardinal Rules of Life can be used to find success in life. You may find as you follow them your day to day life begins to improve. However, if you’re looking for actual “rules for success” it will vary based on who is sharing them. For example, Bill Gates shares the following 7 rules for success:

  1. Have patience in your ideas.
  2. Work Hard No Excuse.
  3. Learn from competitors and Appreciate them.
  4. Sometimes change is necessary.
  5. Believe in your visions.
  6. Enjoy whatever you do.
  7. Hire the best people and Innovate every day.

While some of these apply more to business success, they are definitely things that can help you find success in your personal life as well.

Is it possible to be happy without friends?

It’s important in life to have a support system that you can turn to. This could be friends or family. They can help you make tough decision if you reach a fork in the road or let you know “it’s alright” on those days when you’re feeling like life is a struggle.

However, if you find yourself at a time in life when you don’t have friends, you can still be happy. There are things that you can be happy with outside of those relationships. However, you may find it beneficial to start connecting with others. If you struggle with personal relationships, you may benefit from working with a therapist.

Can a person be happy without family?

There are many people that have difficult family situations. They may have been hurt by family in the past. They may have had to learn that time heals the hard way and it may have been years since they had connection with family members. However, there are many people that find they can have friends who fill that void of family in their life.

If your family situation was not a positive one, you may find that you’re much healthier without those relationships in your life.

How can I make my life positive?

There are many things that you can do if you want to make your life positive including following the 7 Cardinal Rules of Life. Remembering that words matter is important because it can impact the way that you interact with others. You may find that it helps you, so you don’t judge others and instead look to do things like share inspirational quotes to encourage them. You may find by doing this that it’s part of what makes your life more positive.

Learning to control your thoughts, in many of the ways shared in the rules for life, can help you make important changes in your life to better yourself. Look for ways to remind yourself of this such as posting quotes to live by around your home or office. Look for positive things you can do for others that won’t disturb them if they aren’t used to you doing those types of things.

If you struggle with feeling positive or that you’re living your best life, you may benefit from working with a mental health professional that can assist you in reaching the point you want to be at.

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