In his classic work, “A Better Way to Live”, Og left each of us a precious gift — the principles that turned his own life around. They are 17 rules to live by which comprise sound, wise prescriptions, for inner growth and a fulfilling everyday life. They will work for you, as they have worked for him. 

In this series of columns, I offer you Og’s 17 rules for a better way to live and succeed, in hopes that they help you, the current and future business leaders, as they have helped me. Here is installment No. 2 of Og’s rules for a “Better Way to Live.”

Rule #6

“Let your actions always speak for you but be forever on guard against the terrible traps of false pride and conceit that can halt your progress. The next time you are tempted to boast, just place your fist in a full pail of water, and when you remove it, the hole remaining will give you a correct measure of your importance.”

Rule #8

“Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busywork. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow.”

Rule #9

“Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find tomorrow on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats, ignore the problems of tomorrows. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are ‘if I had my life to live over again…’ Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day!”

Rule #10

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”

Rule #11

“Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision, whining, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put into perspective that seeming less defeat of the moment. Banish tension and concern and worry with laughter at your predicaments thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come”.

Rule #12

“Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things!”


Charlie Dexter is a professor of applied business emeritus at the UAF Community and Technical College. He can be reached at This column is brought to you as a public service by the UAF Department of Applied Business.