Thomas Jefferson’s 10 Rules For A Good Life

Thomas Jefferson Quote

Thomas Jefferson — author of theDeclaration of Independence and theStatute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia — voiced the aspirations of a new America as no other individual of his era. As public official, historian, philosopher, and plantation owner, he served his country for over five decades.

During that time I would think he learned a thing or two about life. Not long ago I stumbled across these 10 Rules For A Good Life written by Jefferson and I wanted to share them with you guys. It’s interesting how good wisdom always stands the test of time.

Thomas Jefferson’s Ten Rules For A Good Life

1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

3. Never spend your money before you have it.

4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.

6. Never repent of having eaten too little.

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

8. Don’t let the evils which have never happened cause you pain.

9. Always take things by their smooth handle.

10. When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry count to one hundred.

Certainly these words apply just as much today as they did back in Jefferson’s Time.

Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, just hours before his close friend John Adams, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. He was eighty-three years old, the holder of large debts, but according to all evidence a very optimistic man. During his last hours he had this to say about his death…

I have done for my country, and for all mankind, all that I could do,
and I now resign my soul, without fear, to my God, – my daughter to my country.

I can only hope to have this same sense of accomplishment and contentment with my own life in its final hours.

How about you…are you implementing Jefferson’s rules for a good life?

Do you think these rules still apply today?

Leave a comment below – I would love to hear your opinions .


  • I find it interesting his final words – my daughter to my country. Makes you think he put his trust in his country to keep her – something many people don’t think about. Our country is what we make of it and our children will have to resolve the problems we create and reap the benefits of the good decisions we make. Guess I need to work on #8. haha

    • Haha you and me both! And I have to admit I was a little taken aback by “my daughter to my country” as well. You make a good point about our country being what we make of it and our children reaping the consequences of our decisions whether good or bad. Certainly makes you think twice about the responsibility we all have. Thanks chiming in.

  • Linda

    Reply Reply

    I worry about this country and my 2 daughters AND my 3 grand-children!!!

  • Denny

    Reply Reply

    Great basic rules to help lead a simple life. Yes, they have stood up to the test of time. And just to be clear, the last part of rule #4 listed above should read “it will never be dear to you.”

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