Six Simple Rules for a Better Life (Interview and Giveaway) | The BridgeMaker

Six Simple Rules for a Better Life (Interview and Giveaway)

By on Jun 24, 2012

Stop to celebrate the progress every day, looking back at all you’ve accomplished. – David J. Singer

David J. Singer believes if we slow down we will accomplish more; if we focus on one thing at a time we will have a better chance of experiencing positive change; and if we follow his six simple rules we will improve our lives.

After reading his book Six Simple Rules for a Better Life I believe David is right.

Unlike most self-help books that can deliver a barrage of strategies, tactics and philosophies, David keeps it simple by graciously sharing his six simple rules – Be Happy – Be Nice – Be a Leader – Be Organized – Be a Lifelong Learner – Be Healthy – and then he wraps them around a repeatable, sustainable and habit-creating process.

David’s warm spirit and genuine compassion shines through his book. He is truly a man on a mission to improve the lives of everyone he meets.

I’m happy to share a closer look into David’s heart and the inspiring wisdom found in Six Simple Rules for a Better Life, and also offer two autograph copies of his book (be sure to read the Giveaway details below).

The Interview

1. You have a diverse set of life experiences. From helping inner-city youth; to being a public speaker; to writing a book, you are accomplishing great things. Please share how you want to be most remembered.

Thank you Alex. I recently read that Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine, said when asked what the main aim of his life had been, “To be a good ancestor.” That sounds good to me. I want to be remembered as someone who helped people to be happier and healthier. I’m passionate about doing that.

2. What inspired you to write Six Simple Rules?

It’s very gratifying for me to find that my ideas are helping people, whether it’s my kids, my friends, my wife, my co-workers, or people I hardly know. I love, for example, when weeks, months, or even years after I innocently tell a friend about something that works for me, they proudly report back to me about their success since our conversation – a conversation I might not even recall because it was matter-of-fact at the time, just the passing along of some words of wisdom. I wrote the book to be able to reach a much wider audience; to be able to help more people.

3. Who would benefit from reading your book?

Six Simple Rules for a Better Life is for almost everyone. People who love personal development books love it. And many people who don’t regularly read books in the personal development genre have given me extremely positive feedback.

The youngest people I know who have read it are high school students and the oldest are in their mid-80s. My book is for anyone who wants an easy read, that isn’t preachy, and provides lots of practical, achievable ideas for positive change.

4. What are the six simple rules and how can each one create positive, lasting change in our lives?

The six simple rules are: Be happy, Be nice, Be a leader, Be organized, Be a lifelong learner, and Be healthy.

Each rule has its own chapter. Each chapter’s rule is then broken down into numerous ideas that lead to a better life — from smiling in “Be Happy” to volunteering in “Be a Leader” to healthy eating suggestions (as opposed to dieting) in “Be Healthy”. Readers are then encouraged to make small changes over the 21 days it takes to form a habit.

5. How is your book different from the thousands of other self-help books on the market?

People who write self-help books often come across as super-beings. While it’s nice to be able to look up to them, their seeming perfection can make their suggestions seem unachievable.

I’m no super-being. I readily acknowledge experiencing frustration, failure, stress, and anxiety like everyone else. And I make mistakes. Plenty of them. I work hard to learn from my mistakes. And then I share that learning with everyone I know.

A friend, after reading the first draft of the book, said to me that he loved my book because it’s unlike other self-help books that “tout all kinds of grand changes that end up oppressing you, making you feel so guilty that you avert your eyes as you walk past the shelf where they sit and accusingly call out to you, Why aren’t you following our instructions?

My book, instead, is filled with practical, achievable suggestions for all kinds of ways that you can improve your life, along with a method for making changes that stick.

6. You write in your book that living up to our New Year’s resolutions can be daunting; and when we fall short, feelings of shame and guilt can surface. How can we make resolutions that are achievable and more meaningful?

We live in a world filled with offers for immediate change. “Get rich quick,” “get thin now,” “stop smoking today.” Those quick fixes, when they do work, rarely last. In the same way, we’re encouraged each year to make New Year’s resolutions—grandiose plans, which nearly always fail.

You know how it works—gym memberships spike in January and then those same gyms’ parking lots are empty by February. The secret to making real, lasting change is to slow down to make changes.

Instead of creating the once-a-year, New Year’s resolutions type of list, the better way is to create and maintain a running list of goals—an ongoing list of life-improvement ideas. Then, because it takes 21 days to form a new habit, slow down and focus on one new habit every 21 days. This slow and steady approach is extremely effective and adds up to the positive changes we all want.

7. Complete the prompts below.

I know… that one of the secrets to happiness is to spend time helping others.
This week, I want to… spend time with my son to hear all about the overseas trip he is returning from.
This month, I want to… enjoy every moment of my twin daughters’ final days of high school, leading up to their graduation on the 21st.
In this lifetime, I want to… make the world a better place.
I don’t know… how my life will unfold, but I’m looking forward to every day of the ride.
I am… blessed to have a wonderful family and friends.

8. What question do you wish more people asked you?

That’s an interesting question. All of my initial thoughts are tongue-in-cheek (and also a bit serious)… For example, I would love it if people asked me, “How does it feel to have Oprah select your book for her book club?” And I would love it if people asked me, “How does it feel that the Jets are the Super Bowl champs?”

9. You write in your book that we need to celebrate our progress. How do you celebrate your progress?

I celebrate my progress by regularly stopping to reflect on things I am happy to have accomplished. I also like to focus on things I am grateful for and a few weeks ago I started posting a weekly list of things that made me smile that week. It’s been a great exercise for me. A great by-product of this practice is not only am I doing it weekly, but anticipating my weekly list has me thinking about it daily—and that’s awesome.

10. Your book is filled with wisdom and good advice. But for someone who reads it and says ‘what’s next?’ can you suggest in three sentences how they can begin living a simpler, better life right now?

(1) Realize that while life is short and that we have to stop to smell the roses that life is also long, meaning that the best way to make changes that you want to make is to slow down, and make smaller changes over time.
(2) Make one change at a time, each 21 days.
(3) After the change becomes a habit, celebrate your progress.

11. What is the main message you hope readers will take from Six Simple Rules for a Better Life?

If we slow down to make changes we’ll accomplish much more. I talked about focusing on one new habit every 21 days. Even if you slow down further (for example, one new habit every month, or every six weeks), you can experience many positive changes this year, and an awesome number in the years ahead. The years will go by anyway. You might as well make those changes. And you can. We all can.

The Giveaway

Two winners will be selected to receive a free, autographed copy of Six Simple Rules for a Better Life by David. J. Singer.

To enter the giveaway, share a simple rule you follow that leads to a happier, simpler and more fulfilling life. Please share your simple rule in Comments below. (Reading by email? Just click here to visit the blog so you can leave a comment, too!)

Giveaway Update (June 30, 2012): The winners for this giveaway have been chosen. Subscribe to The BridgeMaker to receive twice-weekly emails to learn about future giveaways!
The winners:
Suzy Campeol

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • Wow… So many great comments and simple rules already 😀

    I like this idea of slowing down in making changes.  I often feel I’m trying to make too many changes at once and not getting very far with any of them.  I just might have to start practicing that even before I start reading this book, which sounds like a great read. 

    As for my own simple rule that I follow, I have so many that I am trying to follow but not having much success with.  But the one I’ve been more focused on learning to follow this year in particular is to take action on the things that I know I need to do.  No matter how small that action is.  You can’t get anywhere without taking action.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Grady:

      Agreed on all counts. So many wonderful comments from everyone. And from you, taking action absolutely. When I do speaking engagements, I always start by saying that my goal is not just to give ideas, but for those in the audience to walk away with a plan to take action on those ideas. Without execution, I may have given them a nice list of ideas, but it’s not really worth that much if nothing comes of it.

      Thanks for your note.


  • Betsy at Zen Mama

    Great interview Alex!  These rules are just perfect!!  My simple rule is to have positive thoughts whenever possible.  I’d love the book, by the way!! 🙂

  • kay

    I am always smiling even when i dont feel like smiling,it make sthe other person feel at ease

  • Ohshawna

    I make an effort to smile to at least one stranger a day. I feel good when I do it and hope I make them feel good for at least a few seconds.

    • Ohshawna:

      And smiling is good for you too. It tricks your brain into being happy even if you are not at that moment.


      Thanks for the note.


  • What a grand interview! Alex, you’re THE master and I am enjoying the learning. I specially loved the “Complete the prompts” and I love no.10. David, your answers are completely inspiring and of course, I live those six simple prinicples, which makes me love them even more.

    I follow a simple rule – I just focus on my relationships and everything that they need to strengthen them, enjoy them. The first circle is my own family. The next (concentric) circle is my friends, the next is the community I live…and so on. I just prioritize on a daily basis to try and ensure I distribute my attention in the best possible way. My focus begins from within, and starts with gratitude for everything I have and will receive in this life. At the end of my day, when I go to bed, my last thought is: what have I given today that was of value? As long as I can answer that, I will be a happy person.

    Thank you very much for a great Q & A, Alex and David. Love, Vidya

    • Vidya:

      Wow. Thank you for that note.

      I agree with you. Alex did a great job with the questions. I really enjoyed answering them. The prompts were unique and fun.

      I’m a big fan of Covey and his 7 Habits. Sounds like you could have written it. Habit 2, begin with the end in mind, in your case, relationships. Habit 3, put first things first, meaning prioritize to make sure you are doing those things that you said are your goals in Habit 2.

      You mention gratitude, as several others have. It is important and wonderful. And adding value, which is great advice I am not sure anyone else mentioned. Excellent.

      Thanks so much for your wise words.

      Best regards,