New Year Resolutions from the Dalai Lama & Ben Franklin

Ok, its close to New Years, so everybody is worrying about resolutions and reminiscing about old resolutions that didn’t work…  So author James Hannon decides to share two guides to a successful life from two successful people who aren’t currently trying to sell you an entire package for hundreds of dollars…   Hey, it can’t hurt, and can only help, so why not give it a shot?


Ok, this is gonna be easy to write. I’m basically gonna steal two lists of life principals from two great writers, thinkers, and humanitarians and tell you to follow their rules…   It could very well be a Twitter or Facebook update to give you motivation, but I didn’t want it to scroll off within 20 minutes after posting it – I plan to look at the list regularly during my life..   As I’ve said before, sometimes these blog entries are more for me – but if it helps someone else, all the better :)

The first is from the Dalai Lama…   Now don’t get scared – you don’t have to give up your current religion to follow these – they are practical and simple guidelines that should be a part of EVERY religion.    Even Carl from Caddyshack gets it (See the end of this blog for the video)

And now on to the first list:

20 Ways to Get Good Karma

By The Dalai Lama, Published 11/16/2006
Stolen verbatim from:

The Dalai Lama isn't pointing in judgment..  He's giving us finger guns for Pete's sake..

The Dalai Lama isn’t pointing in judgment.. He’s giving us finger guns for Pete’s sake..

Instructions for Life by The Dalai Lama

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three R’s:
    – Respect for self,
    – Respect for others and
    – Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
  20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion


For the second list, I’m going to go wayyyy back to Colonial times and one of the Founding Fathers – Thats right – Benjamin (freakin’) Franklin.  I’m referencing the man on the hundred dollar bill, so you know he’s got his stuff together…  I’ve been reading his biography from Walter Isaacson (the same guy who wrote the Steve Jobs one) and its been an eye opener for me.

Old Ben wasn’t always “old” – He was actually only 20 years old when he developed this list of things he needed to work on to make his character better.  Apparently it worked since 220 years after his death, people are still talking about him being one of the greatest historical figures ever. ( I’m sitting on my hands trying not to give you a history lesson of everything he’s ever done, but this isn’t the forum for that – Seriously, pick up the Walter Isaacson biography – you’ll love it…)

One of the coolest things about Ben is that he created this list because he knew he wasn’t perfect. But he wanted to try to become as close to perfect as he could…  He failed at the items on the list plenty of times during his life – but he kept trying, and even tho he failed often, that trying made him do did better than most…

Another cool thing is that he didnt even try to work on them all at the same time… He specifically worked on only one of them a week and let the others happen as normal.   He worked on the first one for a week, and then hoping “something stuck”, he moved on to the next one… He even developed a chart of his virtues, and put a mark when he failed – That chart had a lot of erasings as he re-used it over and over…  You have to love a guy who knows  buy xanax 400 mg where he’s weak and tries to fix it…

So now without further adieu, I give you:

Benjamin Franklin ‘s Thirteen Virtues of Life

Ben Franklin has heard all the excuses and still thinks you can do it

Ben Franklin has heard all the excuses and still thinks you can do it

Stolen verbatim from Wikipedia altho inspired to steal based on Walter Isaacson’s book “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” (which is great so far)

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates

Almost 300 years after he wrote this, they are still relevant…  If you need help translating Ye Olde English, do a Google search, or email me and I’ll give you “my” version of what I think they mean, but like anything, it will come with my personal viewpoint.

So there, if you want some good direction to your life, why not at least take a shot on two very successful people who are not trying to sell you an entire kit of how to live better…   Hmmm, maybe I should develop a kit based on these principals???   Hmmmmm…

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you get on a path to being better – whatever that specifically means to you..

Bill Murray in Caddyshack with the Dalai Lama


Now for the shameless plugs…   I let you read the blog without bugging you, so indulge me on this please?

First off, I wrote a Book last year, called Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang. It is about the real-life exploits of the Ducky Boys gang that was so terrifying in the 1979 movie The Wanderers.  They also happened to roam the Bronx neighborhood that I grew up in in the early 1960s.

Please check it out on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or get a signed copy directly from me (Its actually cheaper thru me and you get some free bonus stuff, but I understand you like the warm & fuzzy feeling of dealing with the big stores)

Secondly, I am currently writing a new book about the really cool people I have met doing this costuming thing.  There are a lot of interesting stories about how and why people got into this hobby.  Many people get into it for the nerdy and fun aspect of the hobby, but there is so much more to it – For example, The 501st and Rebel Legion devotes a LOT of time and energy into helping people (especially kids) who need it – Any given weekend, there are members of our group visiting hospitals, participating in charity walks and raising money and awareness for a variety of organizations (Make A Wish, FAAN, Autism Speaks, amongst many others) – So we’re not just geeks – we’re geeks that really try to make the world a better place…

Anyway, in this new book, I am looking for interesting stories of people who costume.  It could be Star Wars or Star Trek related; It could be Superhero costuming; It could be Renaissance Faire, SCA or even LARPing;  it could be Historical Re-Enacting; If you put a costume on outside of Halloween, I’d love to hear your story – so please drop me a line at – you could end up immortalized in a book.  But please hurry – before I finish writing it.

And the third and final advertisement… I’ve been writing this blog for a while now, and there’s a lot of variation in my topics…  There’s quite a few more costuming stories, some Bronx and Ducky Boys stories, reviews of movies, and concerts that I’ve been to, and tips for writers and/or procrastinators…  Take a look thru the rest of them – I’m sure you’ll find something that interests you.

See, that wasn’t so bad was it?  Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!


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