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The “Rules of Life”


by Glenn Shepard
November 29, 2016
Category: Personal and Professional Development



Dalton, GA  Nov 30 
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Want to look 4 years younger? Smile! Studies have found that when you smile in photographs, people estimate you to be 2 – 4 years younger than you really are.


When you make your living from writing, the good part is that you get to touch the lives of thousands of people you’ll never meet, in places you’ve never been.

The bad part is that you’ll never hear from 99.999% of them.

Because of this, it’s a welcome treat when you do get to hear who’s reading your stuff, and how far it’s gone.

A few weeks ago, Bill Fox, who works at the Carson Center in Paducah, KY, told us that an artist who was performing there saw his “Glenn’s Rules of Work” poster backstage. After reading it, he sent his manager to Bill’s office to get a copy.

The artist was Bob Dylan, who’s been called the voice of his generation, and is the newest recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

When I heard that he asked for a copy of something I wrote, my first thought was of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in the Wayne’s World movie, saying “We’re not worthy!” to rock legend Alice Cooper.

My nephew in Georgia is a huge Dylan fan. When he heard about it, he informed me that was “Off the chain”. (Uncle Glenn had to Google this).

The next day, he texted that he had something even more “Bombdiggity” (more Googling required) to show me when he came to Nashville for Thanksgiving.

While enjoying my sister-in-law’s awesome no calorie banana pudding on Thanksgiving Day a few weeks later, he announced that he was ready to reveal his “Off the Hizzy” (even more Googling required) news.

He told me that one of his high school guidance counselors was using my “Rules of Work”, and he had taken a picture of it. It read:

RULE 1: Life is not fair – get used to it.

RULE 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

RULE 3: You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with a car phone, until you earn both.

RULE 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.

RULE 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it Opportunity.

RULE 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

RULE 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

RULE 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

RULE 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

RULE 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

RULE 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

I had to inform my nephew that I did not write “The Rules of Life”. Those come from a 1996 book titled “Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add” by Charles J. Sykes.

While I don’t have a poster of Mr. Sykes’ rules, I believe he is one of the most brilliant men in America, and deserves his own Nobel Prize. And for that reason, I thought I should share his rules with my readers.

To Your Success,

No, the banana pudding isn’t really zero calories. It’s just my rule that there are no calories in anything you eat on birthdays or holidays.

P.S.S. I must add that I met Alice Cooper in the Bahamas last year, and it was one of the biggest surprises of my life. He’s a devout Christian, a scratch golfer, and one of the smartest and nicest people I’ve ever met.

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