I remember reading a post someone had made about some cute but silly laws like karma, and so on. I can’t recall the list, nor can I find it online, but one that stood out to me then — because of how funny it was — was the law of farting. It said something about when you’re alone, feeling safe, and you fart, some uninvited person must always walk by or walk up to you at that moment. It was funny to me because it was kind of true for me. I’d experienced people coming up to me at right after I’d fouled the air thinking no one was around.
But that doesn’t make it a law, does it? It’s not always guaranteed to happen. Only that, when it does happen, the experience burns in our memory because of the little emotions of shame, fear and anger attached to it. But remembering this silly post about the silly laws led to me thinking about some not-so-silly laws that we often ignore in life. These are laws that, if we slowed down to observe and then obey, could take us to greater heights in all areas of life.
The Law of Trying
We often dismiss our ability to do something without even trying first to see if we can do it or not. The prospect of taking a new job with more responsibilities rolls around, and we dismiss it at once, concluding that we could never do what the current occupant of that position does.
It’s a humble place to be sometimes. But at other times, it’s crippling. We never take the first step or make the first move. And so we don’t even have a chance of getting the outside help we would need to succeed — because it’s impossible to steer a parked vehicle. We imagine all the chaos that would ensue if we got ourselves into that new venture because of our perceived lack of ability, and become paralyzed to give it a try.
But the law of trying states that we must take the first step, we must get our feet wet, before it all begins to come together. We’d be surprised how much we could do if we only tried. And if, at first, we try but don’t succeed, we must try, try again!
The Law of Planning
Now, trying alone is not enough. We must come up with a plan for success. Failing to come up with a plan is like coming up with a plan to fail — that’s basically what the law of planning states.
I remember in secondary school when I would get too lazy to study for a math quiz. I would then tell myself that whoever invented math did not have to go to school like I did and take tests and quizzes like I was doing. He just knew what to do. So why not me? I would walk into that exam hall and know what to write because the inventor of math was a human being like myself. That was my (non-existent) plan for success and I’m sure you can imagine the resulting failure.
We must rely on those who have gone ahead of us in certain areas we wish to succeed in, study their methods, adopt some of them, and develop a plan for ourselves to succeed in those same areas. There’s really nothing new under the sun. My teachers had gone ahead of me, they had even taught me their methods. But I didn’t adopt them because I was too lazy to study, and that resulted in my woeful failure.
We can’t wing it in life. We can’t keep showing up unprepared and expect to give stellar performances. We must have a plan of attack, or we’d forever be living our lives in defense.
The Law of Pain
My university chancellor had a favourite saying, “There are two pains in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.” He always urged us to choose the pain of discipline so that we’d have fewer painful regrets in life.
As humans, we are naturally inclined to avoid pain – to choose the path of least-resistance. But we can never truly avoid pain. If we choose the easy way to life and never do much work, we’d have little to show for it in the future, and that’s very painful, especially when those around you put in the work and have the rewards to show. Such regret is painful to swallow.
To be on the good side of the law of pain, we must choose the pain of discipline. And we must constantly increase our threshold for such pain by choosing to get out of our comfort zones from time to time and challenge ourselves to do more. It may be painful to start a family and raise kids, but it’s even more painful to live a lonely old age. It might be painful to save money rather than spend it frivolously but it’s even more painful to have no money to fall back on when you don’t have the ability to earn more. It might be painful to live on the straight-and-narrow now but it’s much more painful to wind up in jail or worse, hell.
The pain of discipline or the pain of regret? You choose.
More laws exist and I’m sure you know some of them that seem to rule our everyday lives but we tend to ignore. They may not be cute and silly and easy to remember, and they may not have immediate consequences attached to them and thus difficult to ignore. But they do run our lives and the earlier we begin to pay attention to them, the better our lives would turn out.