Leo Tolstoy Rules of Life

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Leo Tolstoy’s rules of life– what are yours?

leo-tolstoy September 9th marks 188 years since the birth of the great Russian writer and thinker Leo Tolstoy. Happy Birthday Leo! Tolstoy was a man of many rules. Spectacularly… Tolstoy wrote these rules when he was eighteen years old. Here are 10 “Rules of Life” from Tolstoy, some of these rules are daily habits of life, and some are more like personal commandments. From my own experience, I think it’s helpful to distinguish between different types of life “rules.” Rules are important, apparently. Get some.

Here’s a partial list of Tolstoy’s “Rules of Life”:


  1. Get up early (five o’clock).
  2. Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock).
  3. Eat little and avoid sweets.
  4. Try to do everything by yourself.
  5. Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for very minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater.
  6. Keep away from women.
  7. Kill desire by work.
  8. Be good, but try to let no one know it.
  9. Always live less expensively than you might.
  10. Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer.

It is easier to produce ten volumes of philosophical writing than to put one principle into practice. – Leo Tolstoy

Do you agree with Tolstoy’s Rules of Life? Do you have your own rules for life? If so, do you manage to carry them out over the long-term? 

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4 thoughts on “Leo Tolstoy Rules of Life

  1. Zineb

    The eighth rule reminds me of Robert Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power. I couldn’t get the fifth rule, I would appreciate having an explanation to it. Thank you in advance.

    1. Oxford Junior Post author

      Thank you for passing by and leaving your nice comment. I appreciate it very much! Concerning the fifth rule, any planning you do in your life regardless of what it is, is a goal. So the next time you are planning on doing the weekly chores or decide on watching that really cool action movie after studies or work, always keep in mind that these small tasks account as goals and while seemingly insignificant you are goal setting. You set your goals on a number of levels; you start the process of setting goals by looking at your lifetime goals. Then, you work down to the things that you can do in, say, the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them. Your goals can be changed as your priorities change, then you have to sacrifice small goals in order to achieve greater ones. Sacrifice here does not mean giving up something for nothing; it means giving up one thing for something else you believe is worth more. I hope this explanation will help, have a lovely day! 🙂


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