[FILE 1977] John Perry Barlow’s Top 25 PRINCIPLES OF ADULT BEHAVIOR

We are all searching for how to live our lives. This searching might be the most primal and core drive of our human existence. The question, however, isn’t so much wrapped up in the amalgam of how to live our lives as so much as if we have a set of principles to live our lives by.

“Take responsibility for your own happiness, never put it in other people’s hands.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, never blame.
Say nothing behind another’s back you’d be unwilling to say,
in exactly the same tone and language, to his face.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble
than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you yourself can deliver.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than whom is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Do not
endanger it frivolously. And never endanger the life of another.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason.
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission
and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Never let your errors pass without admission.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21 Forgive.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

I don’t expect the perfect attainment of these principles. However,
I post them as a standard for my conduct as an adult. Should any of
my friends or colleagues catch me violating any one of them, bust me.

John Perry Barlow (October 3, 1977)