Rules for Riley

Jonathan Farrell
2 min readMay 6, 2022
Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

While awake for a 3:00 AM feeding and diaper change with my newborn girl, Riley, I noticed that my brain was working as tirelessly as my body was. There had been such a big change in those past few days and the thoughts floating around in my head felt a bit more important — I may have also been a bit sleep deprived. But I got myself thinking about this new reality: what it meant for me, and more importantly, what it meant for her. Squinting through one bloodshot eye, I wrote some notes: “Rules for Riley. Rule 1: The Illusion of Reality…” The next morning, I took those half-baked thoughts and I wrote my first rule. The first of many that I will write for my daughter, to help guide her as she becomes a strong, intelligent woman; To help her define her values, and to find meaning in the world around her. To help her, one day, pass these values to the next generation.

I decided to share these rules because I think many can benefit from the thought exercises that these are meant to provoke. Although you may not agree with them all, I hope that they can help open your mind and let your creative intellect wander.

Each rule will be added to this list as they are written:

Rule 1: The Illusion of Reality
Rule 2: Always Be Curious
Rule 3: Set No Limits
Rule 4: Be Bad at Something New
Rule 5: Approach the World Through Beginner’s Eyes
Rule 6: Don’t Forget To Daydream
Rule 7: Love to Learn
Rule 8: Practice Makes Permanent
Rule 9: Pay Attention To Life’s Lessons
Rule 10: Become a Little Better Every Day
Rule 11: Reduce Wants, Increase Happiness
Rule 12: Consider Other Points of View
Rule 13: Control Your Impulses
Rule 14: Free Yourself From Possessions
Rule 15: No Blaming, No Complaining
Rule 16: There Is No One Person

These rules are meant to be bite-sized life lessons that lay a foundation to learn from. They are designed to help cultivate strength, insight, and wisdom as a part of your life. These rules are not definitive and should be used as thought provoking-exercises. These rules are not written in any particular order.



Jonathan Farrell

Full stack developer, philanthropist and triathlete focused on user experience, innovation and making the world a better place.