Rules of life from Russian writers

Instead of the teachings of various gurus on education, self-development and motivation be sure to check which principles of right conduct, learning and self-organization have set for themselves and their relatives our favorite classics.

Their advice may be, will not help you to live a happy life (at least, of the authors it is hardly happened), but will bring their favor. Now you will have more reasons to pursue your education, gymnastics or writing scientists essay.

Alexander Pushkin is a 17-year-old brother Lev Sergeevich

(autumn 1822)

Unfinished portrait of Alexander Pushkin, the artist Nikolai Ulyanov.


You're at the age when you should think about choosing a career; I have already outlined to you the reasons for military service seems to me preferable to any other. In any case, your behavior will define your reputation and, perhaps, your well-being.

You'll have to deal with people you don't know yet. From the beginning, think about them all the worst thing imaginable: you're not too much mistaken.

Don't judge people by your own heart, which I believe is noble and helpful and, moreover, still young; despise them in the most polite way: it is a way to protect themselves from the petty prejudices and petty passions, that will cause you any trouble when you join your in the light.

Be cool with everyone; familiarity always hurts, but especially beware of to prevent it in the treatment of superiors, no matter how they were helpful to you. They soon leave us and are happy to humiliate, when we least expect.

Engraving from a drawing by O. A. Orlovsky. In 1820-ies brother texted a lot with Pushkin and was his literary Secretary. The lion made a career of the military and wrote good poetry, and "his appearance was represented by a Negro, painted with white paint" (Delvig).

Do not show subservience and discipline heart, if you acquire; people don't understand that and are willing to accept for pandering, because always glad to judge of others by yourself.

Never accept favors. A favor and most of all — betrayal. To avoid the patronage, because it enslaves and humiliates.

I would like to warn you from the temptations of friendship, but I don't have the resolve to harden my heart to you at the time of the most of sweet illusions.

What I can tell you about women, it would be completely useless. I note only that the less we love a woman, the more can master it. However fun this is worthy of an old monkey of the XVIII century. As for the woman you love, with all my heart I wish you to possess it.

Never forget willful wrongs, whether terse or even smolki and never answer insult for insult.

If the funds or circumstances allow you to Shine, do not try to hide the hardship; rather choose the other extreme: the cynicism of his rezkostyu impressed by the vain opinion of the world, between the petty tricks of vanity and make a man ridiculous and contemptible.

Never do the debt; it just need; believe me, it's not as bad as it seems, and, anyway, it is better than the inevitability turn out to be dishonest or to pass as such.

The rules that I offer, I acquired the price of bitter experience. Well, if you were able to absorb them, not being forced. They can save you from days of sadness and rage.

Someday you will hear my confession; it will cost dearly my vanity, but that won't stop me if it comes to the happiness of your life.


Anton Chekhov — brother Nicholas

(March 1886)

Portrait of Anton Chekhov written by his brother Nicholas. He was a talented Illustrator, was friends with many famous artists and led a dissolute way of life with the partying and drinking that Anton was a frequent source of worry and concern.


You often complained to me that you "don't understand!". It even Goethe and Newton did not complain... You know... If you don't understand, then it is not the fault of others...

I assure you that as a brother and close to you man, I understand you and sincerely sympathize with you... All your good quality I know how my five fingers, appreciate them and treat them with the utmost respect. I if you want to proof that I understand you, can even enumerate these qualities.

I think you're good to trajceski, generous, not selfish, share the last penny, sincere; you're alien to envy and hatred, simple-minded, sorry people and animals, not spiteful, forgiving, trusting... You are gifted more than what others do not: you have talent. This talent places you above millions of men, for on earth one artist has only 2 000 000...

Talent puts you in a detached situation: if you were a toad or a tarantula, even then you would be respected, for to talent all is forgiven.

The disadvantage is you only get one. It and about your soil, and your grief, and your catarrh of the bowels. This is your extreme lack of manners.

I'm sorry, please, but veritas magis amicitiae [truth above friendship]... the fact that life has its own conditions... to feel at ease in an intellectual environment, not to be a stranger in it himself and not get burdened by it, you need to be in a known manner a well-mannered...

Talent has brought you into this world, you belong to her, but... you pull from it, and you have to balance between the cultural public and tenants vis-a-vis. Affects the flesh bourgeois, who grew up on the rods, ranchwagon cellar, on the handouts. Win it difficult, terribly difficult.

Anton Chekhov and his brother Nikolay. Photo By Richard Thiele.


Educated people, in my opinion, should satisfy the following conditions:

1) They respect human personality, and therefore always indulgent, soft, polite, compliant -- They are not riot over hammer or missing gum; living with someone, they do not do this favor, and leaving, not saying you can not live! They forgive and noise and cold and overcooked meat and severity, and the presence in their homes of strangers...

2) They are not compassionate to one only beggars and cats. They are worried and that they cannot see with the naked eye...

3) They respect the property of others, and therefore pay the debts.

4) They are upright and fear lies as fire. They don't lie even in trifles. Lies offensive to the listener and debases him in the eyes of the speaker. They are not drawn, keep yourself on the street as well as at home, do not let dust in the eyes lesser brethren... They are not talkative and do not climb to the revelations, when they do not ask... Out of respect to other people's ears they more often keep quiet.

5) They don't despise myself with the purpose to induce another sympathy and help. They do not play on the strings of souls of others, so that in response to them sighed and nursed them. They don't say: I don't understand!..

6) They are not vain. They do not occupy such fake diamonds, as acquaintance with celebrities, delight the counter in Salon e, known for posternum...

7) If they have the talent, then respect him. They sacrifice for him peace, women, wine, vanity...

8) They cultivate aesthetics. They can't sleep in clothes, see cracks wall with bedbugs, cheesy breathe air, walk on spit on the floor, to eat of kerosene. Maybe they are trying to tame and ennoble the sexual instinct... [...]

Educated in this respect not as a kitchen. They need from a woman not a bed, not a horse sweat, [...] not mind, expressed in the ability to inflate fake pregnancy and lie tirelessly... to Them, especially artists, need freshness, elegance, humanity [...]... They don't guzzle casually vodka, not sniffing cupboards, for they know that they are not pigs. Drink they only when a free,... For they want mens sana in corpore sano [a healthy body is a healthy mind].

Etc. Are brought up...

To be educated and not to stand below the level of the environment, which was not enough to read Pickwick and memorize a monologue from Faust.

It is not enough to take a cab and go Sightseeing to a week to get out of there...

There is need of continuous day and night work, eternal reading, studiowi, will... Then every hour... Trip to Yakimanka and back will not help. We should be bold enough to spit and sharply jerk... Come to us, break the carafe of vodka and lay down to read... at least Turgenev, which you have not read...


Leo Tolstoy — "the Rules" (from the diaries)

(may 1847)

Leo Tolstoy with his Bicycle. Yasnaya Polyana, 1895.



In order to develop the will in General and to reach the highest stage of its development, it is necessary to pass and lower level. In accordance with this division will, I rules of the moral with the subject to develop the will, divided into three sections: 1) rules for the development of the will of the flesh, (2) the rules for the development of the will is sensual, 3) rules for the development of intelligent will.

Rules for the development of will, bodily

General. All acts must be definitions of the will and not the unconscious fulfillment of bodily needs.

As we have already said will have the effect of bodily senses and the mind, these two abilities should determine the rules by which we could act will bodily for their development. Feelings give her a direction and indicate the purpose of it, the mind gives the ways in which bodily will can achieve this goal.

Rule 1. Each morning, fix yourself all you have to do in the course of a whole day, and do all assigned even in that case, if the execution of assigned entailed him any harm.

In addition to the development of the will, this rule shall develop and the mind, which will be considered to determine acts of will.

Rule 2. Sleep as possible (sleep, in my opinion, there is the situation of man in whom there is absolutely no will).

Rule 3. All bodily troubles endure, without expressing them outwardly.

4. Be true to your word.

5. If you started any business, don't leave it without completing.

6. Have always a table that would define all the petty circumstances of your life, even as pipes to smoke in a day.

7. If you're doing something, then strain all of your physical abilities on a subject that you do. If changes to your lifestyle, then peremenyi and these rules. [...]

Rules for development of intelligent will

Rule 19. I started the day all your mental training.

20. When you do, try to keep all mental abilities were fixed on the subject.

21. To nothing external, bodily or sensual had no influence on the direction of your thoughts, but that thought has defined itself.

22. To no pain, both physical and sensual, had no effect on the mind.

What would you do if you began a mental exercise, don't drop it until then, as long as you don't come. Since this rule can lead to great abuse, there is need to limit it with the following rule: have a purpose for all life, aim for well-known era of your life, a goal for a certain time, the goal for the year, month, week, day, hour and minute, sacrificing lower goals higher.

"Rules of life" Tolstoy made several times: it was an important part of his plan to improvement, partly inspired by the example of Benjamin Franklin. The diaries of Tolstoy led a life with little interruption, and in 1847 was fixed almost every single thing.

Rules for the development of memory

Rule 23. Make a summary of just what you do, and learn it by heart.

24. Every day to teach poetry in a language you know little.

25. Repeat in the evening all that I have learned during the day.

Every week, every month and every year ekzamenoj himself in all what he did, if you find that you've forgotten, then start again.

Rules for the development of mental activities

Rule 32. Don't do chateaux en Espagne [castles in the air].

33. Try to give the mind more food.

Rules for the development of mental abilities

We have five main mental abilities. The capacity representation the memory capacity, the ability to compare, ability to draw conclusions from these comparisons and, finally, the ability to bring these conclusions are in order.

Rules for development of the ability comparison

35. Study well those subjects which you compare.

36. Every new idea you encountered compare with those thoughts that you know. All the abstract thoughts justify with examples.

Leo Tolstoy in his youth, maturity and old age.

Rules for development of the ability to draw conclusions

36. Do the math.

37. Do philosophy.

38. Every philosophical essay read the critical comments.

Rules for development of the ability to bring insights in order

39. Learn the system of your being.

40. All your information on one particular branch of knowledge lead to one General conclusion.

41. All conclusions compare to each other, and that neither conclusion does not contradict the other.

42. Write essays and not small, but scientists. [...]

Rules for the development of deliberation

Inspect every object from all sides. Treat every act on the part of its harm and its benefit. Any act considered how many ways it can be made and which of these ways best. Consider the causes of any phenomenon that can be from it effect.



Daniil Kharms — Rules of life (from the diary)

(November 1926)

"Portrait Of Daniil Kharms". Tatiana Druchinina.

1. Every day do something useful.

2. Learn to use Hatha and karma yoga.

3. Lie down within 2 hours. night and get up no later than 12 hours. day, except in an emergency.

4. Every morning and every night do gymnastics and wiping.

5. p — R.

6. Waking up, just get up, do not give the morning reflection and the desire to smoke.

7. Left alone, do a certain thing.

8. Reduce the number of nonclinical and he mostly spend the night at home.

9. Zadumyvat only possible, but once conceived — do it.published

10. Cherish time.


Author: Oleg Bocharnikov




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