The First Principle of no-t usage is nots work for rules but fail for directions. Nots for rules not directions. No-t directions are impossible and frustrating directions.
Not rules tell you what not to do. No-t directions tell you how not to do something. “What is” versus “how to” is the difference between effective and ineffective no-t usage for the First Principle. Reduce how-to no-ts as much as possible.
If you use nots for rules, then you are using nots correctly and effectively: “what is”. For example, if you do not drink alcohol or eat meat, then your rule is not alcohol or not meat. If there is an exception to your not rule, then that exception will arise and you will break your rule. Hence, not rules are most effective when there is no option, no exception. For instance, an alcoholic has a rule of not drinking without exception, and a vegan has a rule of not eating meat without exception. Having no exceptions makes not rules something to use sparingly. If you make many not rules, then you will be unable to follow them all. One reason you will fail is the amount of variability in life which causes exceptions and special circumstances to arise. An example of a short not-rule list is The Ten Commandments. There are not a thousand commandments, because humans cannot follow a thousand commandments.
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