Camera and Flask
The Photography of Steven Gray


Camera and Flask // Steven Gray: Photographer. Storyteller. Artistic journalism and storytelling around the globe. Based in Pensacola, Florida.

Blog Entry: Rules to Live By


Growing up, whether I liked it or not, I was often held up to younger boys as an example.  Today, even though the razor-sharp wit of my childhood was dulled and blunted by four years in a state college, people still ask me for advice on photography, weight loss, college life and other things in which I have some experience. I’ve seen a few blogs wherein people much more successful than me have condensed their philosophies and habits into bullet points for their readers.  While I take a lunch break from today’s projects, I thought it might be fun to do that here, for whoever is interested, (that is to say, all three of you).

So, here we go:

  1. Read books.  If you don’t like reading, you haven’t found the right book yet.
  2. If you have an opportunity to travel, take it.
  3. If you forget to brush your teeth in the morning, just carry a coffee mug.  There doesn’t need to be coffee in it, but the sight of a coffee mug will excuse bad breath.
  4. If you can’t comfortably be by yourself, why should anyone else put up with you?
  5. Early classes can suck, but getting in and getting out of classes early leaves more time for other activities.
  6. Avoid the chains.  Eat, drink and shop local whenever possible.
  7. Use to-do lists to prioritize your day. Get stuff done first, “fill time” later.
  8. Start or finish your day with exercise.  It clears the head.
  9. Don’t check email until after breakfast.  As Tim Ferriss said, “email is other people’s agenda for your time.”
  10. Whether you’re writing or speaking, use specific language. Broad terms like “this,” “that,” “they” and “them” provide no information to the listener and lead to miscommunications.
  11. It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.
  12. Never, ever text someone and ask them to call you. When people do this to me, I refuse to call them back on principle, no matter how much I like them.  If you want to text, text.  If you want to talk, call.  Don’t add steps.
  13. Carbs in the morning mean more body fat in the evening (unless you are genetically gifted with a basketball player’s ripsaw metabolism).
  14. Good books trump good films.
  15. Be polite. Ye shall catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
  16. If you truly care about good-tasting coffee, Starbucks should always be a last resort.
  17. “Carpe diem” is all you need, don't habitually share inspirational photos on Facebook.
  18. Question everything.
  19. If you can’t drink coffee without a half-cup of cream, sugar and flavorings, don’t say that you like coffee, because what you really like are milkshakes.
  20. If you can’t back up your opinion with sound reasoning, don’t give it.
  21. Six to seven hours of sleep a night is the sweet spot.
  22. A big glass of ice water is better than hot coffee for a fast wakeup.
  23. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use if the final product is good.
  24. Insecurity is always transparent.  Fix personal problems instead of ignoring them. Your friends will thank you.
  25. Don’t dress like you’re going to the gym unless you’re actually going to the gym.
  26. Not everyone has to like you.
  27. Give direct answers. If someone asks where you are, don’t reply that you “are on your way.” Your location and your state of locomotion are separate matters.
  28. If you can shock people with brutal honesty while still being polite, do it.
  29. Never dismiss anything out of hand; always be ready to hear a new concept through from beginning to end.
  30. Never let emotions cloud objectivity. Easier said than done, but important.
  31. 10pm is perfectly acceptable sack-out time for a Friday night.
  32. Telling people that you love Monty Python or Fawlty Towers will always earn you more respect than professing love for Saturday Night Live.
  33. Eat. More. Protein.
  34. Never watch any Adam Sandler film made after Punch Drunk Love.
  35. Don't take health advice from newspaper articles.  I refer you to point 1.
  36. Pepper-eating contests are perfectly acceptable masculine challenges.
  37. Train like your smarter, stronger, faster evil twin wants to kill you.
  38. People will groan, but everyone knows "that's what she said" jokes will never truly be out of style.
  39. Wear a belt or get pants that fit.
  40. Never settle for ice cream if gelato is available.
  41. Smart is the new sexy. Don't waste your time with stupid people.
  42. Whenever possible, make a joke that shocks politically correct graduate students.
  43. Fight dirty. If someone throws a punch at you, don't punch back; kick them in the crotch as hard as you can.  When they go down, kick them in the head so they won't get up.
  44. For awesome home cooking, buy as many of your ingredients as possible from ethnic groceries.
  45. Give back and pay forward.
  46. Never, ever assume that your problems are worse than anyone else's.
  47. Any weight loss diet that recommends fruit and whole grains is crap.
  48. Memento mori.
  49. True respect is always mutual; all else is deference.
  50. Avoid "flavor of the month" music.
  51. Make your own list.