My Four Rules (1999)

  1. Don’t speak ill of others.
  2. Avoid passive aggressive behavior.
  3. Listen broadly, but don’t waffle on decisions.
  4. When in error — admit, apologize, move forward.

I composed these four rules when I was experiencing a high degree of frustration in my life. Over time, that frustration has always come back to me at different points.

For example, I was at a meeting in 2006 … that was a bit excruciating to bear. So to quietly relieve some of my stress, I wrote the words “thicker skin” for a total of seventy-five times. The drawing sold at a charity auction in Paris and I unfortunately don’t have a high-res copy of it anymore; but I guess that’s the point of making something: for it to someday be given away (smile).

I’ve found that coming back to these four rules each year helps give me clarity in life because it’s a constant challenge to stay true to them. Soon it will be their 20th anniversary, and I hope to keep them around in my life in the future. Let’s see what happens! —JM



1. Don’t speak ill of others.
2. Avoid passive aggressive behavior.
3. Listen broadly, but don’t waffle on decisions.
4. When in error — admit, apologize, move forward.

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