I like dolphins. I like chimpanzees. I adore turtles. I even like octopuses.
But my favorite animal by far is the elephant.
For some reason, I identify elephants with sagacity, with wisdom.
Perhaps because they are so slow and ponderous, they live long, they maintain relationships throughout their lives, including family.
And last time I checked, elephants never divorce.
So today, I consulted my own personal elephant, Pilipilon in Hebrew. And I asked, Pilipilon, would you tell me what are the six rules that encapsulate, encompass and contain life's infinite wisdom? What are the six rules which apply not only to interpersonal relationships, intimate relationships in the workplace, in various organizations, clubs, the church, nation state, all kinds of relationships? So rules that apply not only to relationships, but also to decision making, to choices, to our internal landscape, to psychological processes. What are the six rules that if we were to follow, we would likely have a much better, much more balanced, much more regulated, much healthier, and consequently much happier life.
And these are the six rules imparted to me by my Pachydermic friend.
Rule number one said my elephant, you get as much respect from others as you respect yourself.
Others gauge how self-respecting you are, and then they respect you equally.
So don't bother respecting others. Focus on respecting yourself.
And then you will have created an environment of mutual respect.
Rule number two, people will give you the absolute minimum, or nothing at all, if they can get away with it, unless and until you openly and vocally insist on getting more.
It is up to you to obtain justice. It is up to you to even the scales. It is up to you to transact in a way that won't leave you feeling used and abused. It is up to you to level the playing field. Only you. No one owes you anything.
Rule number three, if something possibly could be a lie, if it could be a fantasy, could be, even if you don't have any evidence, if it could be a lie or a fantasy, it very often is.
Of course, there's a famous saying, if something is too good to be true, it's not true.
But that's a private case. It's a subset of a much bigger rule, much more all-encompassing, all-pervasive rule.
Ask yourself, if something you hear, something you're being told, something you're being cajoled and convinced to do, something you're asked to do, ask yourself, could this be a manipulative ploy, a stratagem, a lie, a fantasy?
And if there is the slightest chance that it could be, it very often is.
Trust your gut, instinct, trust your intuition.
Rule number four, in life, there are good advisors and bad advisors.
How to tell them apart? Who or what should we listen to?
Well, here's a simple rule.
Loneliness is a bad advisor. Sadness is a bad advisor. Anger is the worst advisor.
Time is the only good advisor, the only advisor you should listen to, adhere to, the only advisor you should follow.
Give it time. Don't act on the spur of the moment. Don't be impulsive. Don't rush anywhere. Don't assume that you would run out of time. There's no such thing. Time is an infinite commodity. Infinite commodity, even for finite creatures, mere mortals like us, give it time. Hold your horses.
Wait. Waiting is the greatest wisdom.
Look up Kunktator on Wikipedia. He was a famous Roman general who defeated Rome's enemies simply by waiting them out.
A procrastinator. Procrastination is not the same as waiting. Waiting is an informed decision.
It's because you expect things to develop and evolve and additional information to flow your way.
Procrastination is when you have all the information and refuse to act.
Or when you know you have to do something and you won't do it. Procrastination is closely allied with fear of failure and with perfectionism.
Waiting is simply a wise strategy. Time heals all wounds and provides solutions where otherwise they're none.
Rule number five. If you want to see the true face of a person, of someone, try saying no to them. Just say no.
Decline, refuse, walk away. Then you will see the true face of that person.
The way people react to adversity, to failure, to defeat, to the frustration of their wishes and dreams, to breakups. It's then and there that you see the true face under the mask.
And rule number six.
How would you know if you have changed? If your behavior has changed? If you have avoided bad outcomes, then you have changed.
You see, we all learn, we all evolve. We're never the same.
But the test, the test of maturity, the test of adulthood, the test of wisdom and sagacity, this test is, am I avoiding bad outcomes the way I didn't use to in the past?
It has my behavior changed substantially, essentially, truly.
And if the answers are yes, if the answers are in the affirmative, then you have changed and transformed and matured for the better.
That's all there is to it. That's all there is to life.
Said my favorite, Pilipilon elephant. I would advise you to listen to him. He is really a wise, sage, old being.