Everyone aims for a good, meaningful, and fulfilling life. Many people look for the one thing they can do to improve everything. We look for answers everywhere — in books, at conferences, in movies, and even in weird videos on YouTube.

However, there is no one right answer to what makes a good life. Everyone’s circumstances are different, so what works for you won’t necessarily work for everyone else. But common themes come up again and again as universally beneficial advice.

Good rules for life are enduring because they are founded on universal truths. They’re not specific to a time or place, or individual. They are principles that have stood the test of time and will continue to work for many people. Good rules for life challenge us and force us to think about how we can lead better lives.

Numerous philosophies and schools of thought exist on building or designing a meaningful life. These good rules for life can help you achieve a healthier, happier and more fulfilled existence.

  1. Improve and respect your opinion about yourself. It’s the only validation you need to design the life you want.

  2. All dependency leads to misery. You won’t be totally free if you are completely dependent on a single income, people or technology.

  3. Don’t believe everything you read. The news is designed to take advantage of human psychological weaknesses. Question the obvious.

  4. Think for yourself. If a decision or choice affects your future, find the first, second and third order consequences yourself.

  5. “The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

  6. You have the right to change your mind. If you find good evidence that challenges your basic assumptions about life, use it for a better life.

  7. You are responsible for the trajectory of your life — don’t make that someone else’s duty.

  8. Lose the busy life — it’s one of the greatest obstacles to a happy life. “A happy person has no time to be busy.” Get busy living or get busy dying.” ― Stephen King

  9. Learning is for life — always be learning. It’s the only way to evolve into a better version of yourself.

  10. “Your whole experience of life is in your mind. Focus on your internal world, not external world.” — Derek Sivers

  11. Find someone you won’t have to change for a happy and fulfilling relationship — you can’t change anyone.

  12. Create as many sources of income as possible — your financial independence depends on it.

  13. Learn from the smartest people. Read biographies — they are packed with lessons, principles and rules for life.

  14. “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” Vernon Howard

  15. Time is the most significant currency of life — defend it, invest it and commit to the right things that can help you live your best life.

  16. Life is meaningful if you influence it. Find your own meaning.

  17. All life is an experiment in progress — there is no perfect outcome. Do more of what makes you come alive.

  18. When you feel stuck, think forward and backwards; reverse engineer the problem. Deconstruct what you’ve already done.

  19. Commit to a few good habits that are helping you make progress. 80% of your results come from 20% of your habits.

  20. “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” ― Mark Twain

  21. Build a life, not a career. If you don’t like what you do for work, get to know yourself and invest in micro-skills that can make you indispensable.

  22. Invest in meaningful experiences, not things. Make memories.

  23. Commit to one thing at a time — it’s a better way to invest time and energy and get results faster.

  24. Don’t spend a lot of time in your head — mental clarity depends on it. Be more observant; notice twice.

  25. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them — that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Lao Tzu

  26. Don’t keep too many things on your mind — learn to offload your thoughts on paper. It’s a way out of worry.

  27. Action is optional. You don’t have to act at all, especially if your future self will be worse off.

  28. Tame your ego. Angry reactions are irreversible. People destroy decades of social connections because they can’t control themselves.

  29. If you are trying too hard to be happy, you are doing it wrong. Take things one day at a time. “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” — Seneca

  30. A growth mindset changes everything — live your entire life in this mindset. “Don’t go through life, grow through life.” — Eric Butterworth

  31. You don’t need validation or permission to pursue your true north.

  32. If you want to build wealth, become an investor; buy your own business or buy a stake in a company you understand and hold forever.

  33. Play the long game. Do small good things for as long as possible. Put time to work and compound good actions.

  34. “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”― Bill Gates

  35. Experience the unconventional. Disrupt your routine on purpose.

  36. Master something or anything that makes you lose yourself. Be so good they can’t ignore you.

  37. Separate almost everything into two: things you can control and those you can’t. Don’t waste time and energy on what you can’t influence.

  38. Focus on everything happening for you instead of what’s happening to you. That’s how you maintain a grateful mind.

  39. To make more progress at work, maintain two to-do lists: high-value and low-value tasks. Start your day by checking off high-priority things.

  40. Self-ignorance is a massive obstacle to a meaningful life. Dig deeper into what makes you miserable and what makes you come alive. Get to know yourself. What do you really want in life? Use the answers to design the life you expect of yourself. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there.” ― George Harrison

This article originally appeared in Medium.