John Perry Barlow’s 25 Principles of Adult Behavior

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I’d never heard of John Perry Barlow until recently, when a friend forwarded me these 25 Principles of Adult Behavior. Unfortunately, Barlow, a Silicon Valley visionary and erstwhile Grateful Dead lyricist (chew on that for a second), had already died earlier this year, so we won’t be having any spirited conversations over a beer or two. But the least I can do is re-post his thoughts, which deserve to be pondered and followed. And if my grandkids ever stumble upon this blog long after I’m gone, I hope they’ll recognize that Papa thinks this is a good way to live.

1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, never blame. Say nothing behind another’s back you’d be unwilling to say, in exactly the same tone and language, to his face.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you yourself can deliver.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Do not endanger it frivolously. And never endanger the life of another.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Never let your errors pass without admission.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21. Forgive.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

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