Remember Rule Number 6

“Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws.

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.


When the scene is repeated for the third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?”

“Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damned seriously.”

“Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

This story is told by authors Rosamund and Benjamin Zander in their book The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life. The first time I read about Rule Number 6, I chuckled and said, ‘How true!’ The next time I feel offended by something my wife says, I’ll quickly pause and remember Rule Number 6!

Never forget Rule Number 6 not only in marriage but also in your interaction with others, your children, relatives, friends, co-workers, or even strangers. In this way, Rule Number 6 becomes your default reaction to ‘offensive’ words. I put the word offensive in ‘…..’ because whether to take offense or not is a choice. Your choice.

For example, I’ve small eyes. Earlier in my marriage, I felt a little offended when my wife (yes, she’s big eyes!) and my brother-in-laws (3 of them, and yes, they’ve big eyes too!) make fun of my ‘singkit’ eyes, that is slanted eyes or chinky eyes.

Now? Now my children also make fun of my small eyes! (Yes, they too have big eyes!) See…

Kids, too late to give up for adoption
Kids, too late to give up for adoption

And I laugh with them! I also laugh at myself! See…


Also remember, there are 2 types of people: friends and haters. If a hater makes fun of my chinky eyes, I don’t care because they’re nobody to me. If my wife, children, and friends make fun of my ‘singkit’ eyes, they love me! There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to take me so seriously.

Never forget Rule Number 6. And make sure your wife knows it too!

You may like Humor in marriage.

I love to hear your Rule Number 6 experience. Please COMMENT below.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “Remember Rule Number 6”