Colin Powell Said He Lived His Life by These '13 Rules' in Memoir

Colin Powell, the first black U.S. Secretary of State who has died from COVID-19 complications, is being remembered for his impact on U.S. diplomacy—but also for a collection of life rules he published in one of his memoirs.

The rules served as an introduction to the book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, where he wrote that they originated as "a couple dozen snippets of paper shoved under the glass cover on my desktop—quotes and aphorisms that I had collected or made up over the years."

He wrote they first appeared as a sidebar in Parade magazine.

"To my great surprise—the Thirteen rules caught on," he wrote, noting their impact. Here are the rules Powell lived by.

1. It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done.
5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Powell served as Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 under former President George W. Bush. He also served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff between 1989 and 1993, overseeing the U.S. invasions of Panama and Kuwait, as well as Operation Desert Storm against Iraq. He was a key player in the build up of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

His family announced his death Monday morning. He was fully vaccinated against the virus. He was being treated for multiple myeloma, a cancer that weakens the immune system, according to a report from The New York Times.

On Monday, U.S. leaders paid homage to Powell. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush wrote in a statement that they were "deeply saddened" by his death, noting that he was "widely respected at home and abroad" and a "great public servant."

"And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man," Bush wrote in a statement.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said in a statement that he "saw first-hand General Powell's dedication to the United States and his commitment to the brave and selfless men and women who serve our country in uniform."

Secretary of State Colin Powell
Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is being remembered in part for his “13 rules.” Here, he is seen in Washington, D.C. on May 30. Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concert