the rules we live by: spare keys

For myriad reasons both secular and spiritual, we strive to live by a set of rules, a group of key tenets, that will best serve the overall good.

But what of the less obvious of these behaviors? What of the aspects of daily life that are not generally seen, obviously recognized or otherwise reinforced? These can be equally if not more important for lives of integrity and productivity.

Do thoughts and self-regard remain humble in the wake of praise? Is gratitude present no matter how hard the work, how deserved the reward? Is conduct that recognizes and embraces others a natural part of every day, of each interaction?

These are among the keys to lives that make a meaningful difference, not spare behaviors that offer little by way of concrete contributions. On the contrary, those aspects of life that draw little attention can be among the most gratifying. And money need not be the root of all evil, despite how that cliché continues to thrive in practice. Read The New York Times’s personal finance columnist Ron Lieber’s take on money and modesty, patience and perseverance.

What we do when no one is looking can be far more revealing than when the cameras are turned on, the people are watching, the actions are scrutinized. Must we insert ourselves into situations so overtly? Ultimately, everything is unlocked and laid bare; how we account for our actions can either be a source of stress or peace. Why not simply choose the latter?