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Rule 8: Take an Interest in the Outside World

You may be wondering why this Rule is here and not in with the ones in the section about the world. Well, this one is about you. Taking an interest in the outside world is about developing you, rather than for the world’s benefit. I’m not suggesting you have to watch the news constantly, but by reading, listening, and talking, we keep abreast of what is happening. Successful Rules Players don’t get bogged down by the minutiae of their own lives, they don’t live in a tiny bubble. Make it your mission to know what’s going on in the world—in current events, music, fashion, science, movies, food, transport, even TV. Successful Rules Players are able to hold a conversation on pretty much everything and anything because they are interested in what’s going on. You don’t necessarily have to own the latest everything but you should have a rough idea of what is changing, what’s new, and what’s happening, both in your community and on the other side of the world.

And the benefits? Well, for starters it makes you more interesting as a person and it also keeps you young. I met an elderly woman in the post office the other day who was going on about PIN numbers, "Pin numbers, pin numbers, what do I want with pin numbers at my age?" The short answer is that of course she needs them, she can’t get her retirement money without them. But it’s more than that. It is terribly easy to sink into the, "I’ve never done this before, I don’t need to do it now" mentality. If we do this, we stand a good chance of really missing out.

The happiest, most well-balanced, most successful people in life are those who are part of something. Part of the world, not cut off from it. And the most interesting, stimulating people to be around are those who take a great interest in what’s happening around them. As I was listening to the radio the other morning, the head of the American prison service was being interviewed and was talking about prison reform, a subject I have no interest in personally. You could argue that I didn’t need to know about the American prison service any more than the old woman needed to know about PIN numbers, but I felt more stimulated and alive and interested after learning a little bit about it. And that can’t be bad.

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