Principles of adult behaviour

Here are John Perry Barlow’s 25 principles of adult behaviour, written in 1977, emailed to his friends in 2007, and shared by Jason Kottke following Barlow’s death in February 2018. I am reproducing them here as much to remind to myself as to share with others.

  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.