Rules For Life – Testing the Rules
by Ken La Salle
I began this series just one year ago and, in that time, we’ve discussed some of the most important rules to help make sense of this great, big experience we call “LIFE.” But that doesn’t mean there’s no room left for questions. In fact, one of the biggest questions you may have is, “How do you know these rules actually apply to my life?”
That’s a great question to have. That’s the kind of question we should ask ourselves every day, because the ability to doubt, the ability to question what we know to be true is one of the most important abilities you can have. This is especially true in the 21st century, when the line between the co-called experts and everyone else has become smudged, blurred, and in some cases erased without a trace.
How can you know these rules for life really work?
The answer is very simple: Test them. Find out for yourself. When I wrote, “No one is alone,” it was a supposition you could test for yourself. Find out for yourself if I was correct when I wrote “No Backsies.” Because I’ve been proven wrong before… just ask my wife!
More importantly, you should apply such questioning in every aspect of your life. You should be testing even your own rules for life. You should test everything.
And that’s this month’s rule for life: Don’t accept anything as truth without first testing it for yourself.
The world is filled with competing world views and each one is going to tell you that it is absolutely right. Some will even reassure you that you don’t need to do any thinking for yourself and even say, in some cases, that it is wrong to do your own thinking. This should set off a red flag in your mind right away. Anyone who suggests that it’s better not to think probably doesn’t want you finding out just how wrong they are.
Fortunately, most ideas we are presented with aren’t quite so suspicious – but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be checked. Some views, such as those embodied in politics and religion, may suggest that you’re better for seeing things their way or worse if you don’t. They may not necessarily come out and tell you not to think but they may complement you for avoiding too much thinking. Again, this should be seen as suspect. Whenever a view puts one person or group of people above another, you should try putting yourself in that other person’s or group’s place. Is superiority really a better place, or is it just a different place made to look better by those who want you on their side?
Many ideas we encounter may seem harmless – driving a stick is better than driving an automatic, lifting weights is better for you than running, eating gluten is bad for you – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t question them. Few ideas are necessarily universal and thinking for yourself is never a bad thing.
You see, your brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the better you get at using it. The more you think for yourself, the better you get at thinking for yourself and the more you want to think for yourself. Those “experts” I referred to earlier have not necessarily done all the thinking for you. In fact, many of them don’t think at all. They just parrot what they’re told to say. That’s how we have ended up with so many “experts” who tell us that global warming isn’t real despite the mountains of proof that it is. And it doesn’t stop there.
Remember: you are the most important expert there is in your life. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two but it does mean that it’s up to you to determine if you’re really learning or just believing what others want you to believe. In the end, that determination is the most important thing you can do.
About the Author
Author and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. His plays have been seen in theaters across the country and you can find a growing number of books available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com. Ken La Salle is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency, LLC.