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Ten Rules for Life From Leo Tolstoy

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September 9th marks 186 years since the birth of the great Russian writer and thinker Leo Tolstoy. When he was 18 years old, he wrote down a series of rules by which to live, to develop one’s will, memory and mental abilities, and to avoid the weaknesses of greed and self-love. Here are some of these rules.

September 9th marks 186 years since the birth of the great Russian writer and thinker Leo Tolstoy. When he was 18 years old, he wrote down a series of rules by which to live, to develop one’s will, memory and mental abilities, and to avoid the weaknesses of greed and self-love. Here are some of these rules.

© RIA Novosti / Go to the photo bankSeptember 9th marks 186 years since the birth of the great Russian writer and thinker Leo Tolstoy. When he was 18 years old, he wrote down a series of rules by which to live, to develop one’s will, memory and mental abilities, and to avoid the weaknesses of greed and self-love. Here are some of these rules:
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September 9th marks 186 years since the birth of the great Russian writer and thinker Leo Tolstoy. When he was 18 years old, he wrote down a series of rules by which to live, to develop one’s will, memory and mental abilities, and to avoid the weaknesses of greed and self-love. Here are some of these rules:
© RIA Novosti . O. Ignatovich / Go to the photo bankEvery morning, set for yourself the tasks that you must complete in the course of the day, and carry out everything you have assigned yourself.

Leo Tolstoy was born September 9, 1828 at his family’s estate in Yasnaya Polyana, Tula province. He was the fourth child in his family. His family, the Tolstoys, were a Russian noble family whose name goes back to 1351.
Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy when a student, 1849. A reproduction photo.
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Every morning, set for yourself the tasks that you must complete in the course of the day, and carry out everything you have assigned yourself.

Leo Tolstoy was born September 9, 1828 at his family’s estate in Yasnaya Polyana, Tula province. He was the fourth child in his family. His family, the Tolstoys, were a Russian noble family whose name goes back to 1351.
Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy when a student, 1849. A reproduction photo.
© RIA Novosti . O. Ignatovich / Go to the photo bankSleep as little as possible.

Tolstoy began writing in 1847 when, during a stay in a Kazan hospital he began keeping a diary, in which, imitating the practice of Benjamin Franklin, he would set before himself goals and objectives for self-improvement. Tolstoy would keep this diary through the rest of his life.
Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy works in his study in Moscow, 1898. A reproduction photo.
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Sleep as little as possible.

Tolstoy began writing in 1847 when, during a stay in a Kazan hospital he began keeping a diary, in which, imitating the practice of Benjamin Franklin, he would set before himself goals and objectives for self-improvement. Tolstoy would keep this diary through the rest of his life.
Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy works in his study in Moscow, 1898. A reproduction photo.
© RIA Novosti . RIA Novosti / Go to the photo bankIf you have made the choice to start something, do not leave it without finishing.

On September 23, 1862, at the age of 34, Tolstoy married 18-year-old Sophia Behrs. This would be the brightest period of his life. He would feel a genuine happiness, thanks in large part to his wife. In her he would find an irreplaceable helper in all his affairs, practical and literary. In the absence of a secretary, she would transcribe drafts of his stories many times over.
Above: Leo Tolstoy and Countess Sophia wife on their Yasnaya Polyana estate
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If you have made the choice to start something, do not leave it without finishing.

On September 23, 1862, at the age of 34, Tolstoy married 18-year-old Sophia Behrs. This would be the brightest period of his life. He would feel a genuine happiness, thanks in large part to his wife. In her he would find an irreplaceable helper in all his affairs, practical and literary. In the absence of a secretary, she would transcribe drafts of his stories many times over.
Above: Leo Tolstoy and Countess Sophia wife on their Yasnaya Polyana estate
© RIA Novosti . RIA Novosti / Go to the photo bankDon’t worry or care about the approval of people you don’t know or care about.

Tolstoy’s marriage to Sophia Behrs bore 13 children, five of whom died in childhood. In his personal life and in his work, Tolstoy’s family always played a central role.
Above: Leo Tolstoy amid family members and friends in the garden of his Yasnaya Polyana estate, 1888. (Photo from Leo Tolstoy's state museum in Moscow).
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Don’t worry or care about the approval of people you don’t know or care about.

Tolstoy’s marriage to Sophia Behrs bore 13 children, five of whom died in childhood. In his personal life and in his work, Tolstoy’s family always played a central role.
Above: Leo Tolstoy amid family members and friends in the garden of his Yasnaya Polyana estate, 1888. (Photo from Leo Tolstoy's state museum in Moscow).
© RIA Novosti . Vladimir Vdovin / Go to the photo bankUse every increase in your social standing not for yourself, but for society.

During his lifetime, Tolstoy would become recognized as the most influential figure of Russian literature. He had a tremendous influence not only on Russia, but on the whole world. He is often credited encouraging the development of European humanism and the development of realism in world literature.
Above: Writers Anton Chekhov (left) and Leo Tolstoy in Gaspra, Crimea. Photo taken in 1901. Reproduction. From the funds of the Chekhov House-Museum.
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Use every increase in your social standing not for yourself, but for society.

During his lifetime, Tolstoy would become recognized as the most influential figure of Russian literature. He had a tremendous influence not only on Russia, but on the whole world. He is often credited encouraging the development of European humanism and the development of realism in world literature.
Above: Writers Anton Chekhov (left) and Leo Tolstoy in Gaspra, Crimea. Photo taken in 1901. Reproduction. From the funds of the Chekhov House-Museum.
© RIA Novosti . O. Ignatovich / Go to the photo bankDon’t ask for help if you can finish something yourself.

Tolstoy’s creative energies were born in the second half of the 19th century. In 1852 he first conceived the novel The Cossacks, which he would finish only 10 years later. He then set to work on what would later become one of his most famous works, War and Peace. The first three parts of the novel came out in 1868, with the fourth and fifth parts to follow. The success of the novel was so great, that the fifth and sixth parts would be released in a larger print run.
Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy takes a walk in Yasnaya Polyana, 1908. Reproduction of a photo from Leo Tolstoy museum in Moscow.
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Don’t ask for help if you can finish something yourself.

Tolstoy’s creative energies were born in the second half of the 19th century. In 1852 he first conceived the novel The Cossacks, which he would finish only 10 years later. He then set to work on what would later become one of his most famous works, War and Peace. The first three parts of the novel came out in 1868, with the fourth and fifth parts to follow. The success of the novel was so great, that the fifth and sixth parts would be released in a larger print run.
Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy takes a walk in Yasnaya Polyana, 1908. Reproduction of a photo from Leo Tolstoy museum in Moscow.
© RIA Novosti . O. Ignatovich / Go to the photo bankAbove: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, center, at the opening of people's library at Yasnaya Polyana, 1910. A reproduction photo.
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Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, center, at the opening of people's library at Yasnaya Polyana, 1910. A reproduction photo.
© RIA Novosti . RIA Novosti / Go to the photo bankBe happy in the moment.

Tolstoy was a deeply religious person, but he did not have the easiest of relationships with the Orthodox Church. To find the answers to the concerns and uncertainties he had , Tolstoy took up the study of theology, and began writing on the subject. In 1891 he published his work The Study of Dogmatic Theology in Geneva. In 1901 he was formally excommunicated by the Church.
Above: Leo Tolstoy riding a horse in Yasnaya Polyana.
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Be happy in the moment.

Tolstoy was a deeply religious person, but he did not have the easiest of relationships with the Orthodox Church. To find the answers to the concerns and uncertainties he had , Tolstoy took up the study of theology, and began writing on the subject. In 1891 he published his work The Study of Dogmatic Theology in Geneva. In 1901 he was formally excommunicated by the Church.
Above: Leo Tolstoy riding a horse in Yasnaya Polyana.
© RIA Novosti . Chertkov / Go to the photo bankDo not change your material lifestyle, even if you were to become wealthy.

Tolstoy proposed a ‘life plan’ for his family, where he planned out giving up some part of his income to the poor, to schools, all while simplifying his material lifestyle and that of his family (for things like food, clothes). This included the selling off of everything he considered ‘excessive,’ –the family piano, furniture, carriages.
Above: Leo Tolstoy (left), a great Russian writer, with his granddaughter Sonia and grandson Ilya in Krekshino, Moscow Region.
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Do not change your material lifestyle, even if you were to become wealthy.

Tolstoy proposed a ‘life plan’ for his family, where he planned out giving up some part of his income to the poor, to schools, all while simplifying his material lifestyle and that of his family (for things like food, clothes). This included the selling off of everything he considered ‘excessive,’ –the family piano, furniture, carriages.
Above: Leo Tolstoy (left), a great Russian writer, with his granddaughter Sonia and grandson Ilya in Krekshino, Moscow Region.
© RIA Novosti . RIA Novosti / Go to the photo bankLook for opportunities to do good.

Leo Tolstoy’s work marked a new stage in the development of realism in Russian and world literature, serving as a bridge between the traditions of the classic novel of the 19th century and the literature of the 20th century.
Above: Writer Leo Tolstoy (L) playing tennis.
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Look for opportunities to do good.

Leo Tolstoy’s work marked a new stage in the development of realism in Russian and world literature, serving as a bridge between the traditions of the classic novel of the 19th century and the literature of the 20th century.
Above: Writer Leo Tolstoy (L) playing tennis.
© Sputnik / O. Ignatovich / Go to the photo bank Do what you can to make the lives of those your care about more pleasant.

Tolstoy died November 20, 1910. Tolstoy’s work was repeatedly portrayed in stage and film in the USSR and abroad; his plays were staged at venues the world over.
“In order to continue to live, keeping in mind the inevitability of death, there are only two means; the first is to endlessly aspire to achieve the joys of this world, in order to drown out the thought of death. The second is to find in this life, whether it be long or short, a deeper meaning which cannot be destroyed by death.” –Leo Tolstoy
Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy is reading morning mail. The village of Meshcherskoye, Moscow Region.1910. Reproduction.
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Do what you can to make the lives of those your care about more pleasant.

Tolstoy died November 20, 1910. Tolstoy’s work was repeatedly portrayed in stage and film in the USSR and abroad; his plays were staged at venues the world over.
“In order to continue to live, keeping in mind the inevitability of death, there are only two means; the first is to endlessly aspire to achieve the joys of this world, in order to drown out the thought of death. The second is to find in this life, whether it be long or short, a deeper meaning which cannot be destroyed by death.” –Leo Tolstoy
Above: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy is reading morning mail. The village of Meshcherskoye, Moscow Region.1910. Reproduction.
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