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)


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