Let’s get serious — I have collected a few principles for thriving.
This document is categorized into four: expectations, principles, algorithms, and beliefs. Algorithms are specific actions that are taken under a specific set of circumstances. Principles are broader categories of actions. Beliefs are cognitive and pertain to how I perceive the world.
Love is the ability to see another’s perspective. Wisdom is the ability to let go of all your perspectives. Power is the ability to get others to see your perspective.
Expectations about the world
- I expect things to go wrong, to not go as planned.
- I do not expect others to keep their promises.
- I do not expect others to be non-conformist, independent thinkers.
- I do not expert others to have an organizational system and calendar.
I’m tired of being frustrated that most humans are zombies. They soak in their Netflix and follow the prescribed social norms. I realize that this is how the world is designed. The hyper-capitalist world we inhabit has programmed people this way.
- I do not expect others to be present-minded.
- I do not expect others to be conscious.
- I do not expect others to be psychologically stable and calm.
Here’s why I am an advocate for having low expectations for others: happiness. When you expect others to act consciously, you don’t get your hopes up. Consistently, I have been let down. I have been left out. I have felt alone. No one reaches out to me. This is the lonely journey of being a giver. You are rare. Most humans do not give, do not create experiences for others. It’s unfortunate, but true.
Beliefs about myself
- I have limitless self-control.
- I have complete control over my body and mind.
- I have no control over the moment.
- I have control over outcomes over time.
Beliefs about others
- Everyone is doing their best with the best available information and cognitive capacities they possess
- Humans are quite sensitive and defensive.
- Everyone is my coach for enlightenment.
- Malice can often be attributed to mere incompetence.
- Other people are allies, not obstacles, to my success.
- Potential contact is always there for all individuals.
- I pick up the trash of my guests.
As a facilitator and practitioner of service-based leadership, I make it visible that I am here to serve. I take pleasure in raising the rapport of those around me. I make it known that I am below my constituents.
- I change my situation, not my willpower.
I know that relying on willpower is a short-term and exhausting play. Changing the situation such that there are no temptations, such that the default path takes you to success is much more powerful.
- I apply buffers.
Expecting that things will not go as planned, I apply buffers. I have reserves. I have cushions in my schedule but also in my resources. I pay attention to the planning fallacy, so I plan accordingly.
- I have no demands on the moment.
However the moment evolves is ok with me. Because I have no expectations, whenever something goes wrong, it does not affect me mentally. whenever I feel frustration with the moment, I remind myself of this.
- I avoid the fundamental attribution error.
I know that there are more multiples invisible reasons, which go beyond one’s character, that explain unfortunate events or harms.
- I do not attach to influencing how people behave.
When we attach ourselves to having influence over someone, we lose the influence. When we apply force, we become powerless. When we push, people push back. This principle is also related to the reasons why I avoid convincing and recruiting people. Instead, I let their passion come forth naturally.
- I am virtue-finding instead of fault-finding.
Humans are fallible, fragile creatures. They are also filled with love and expression. When I look for virtues, I will find them. When I look for faults, I will find them in everyone. I choose to search for the virtues and focus my attention on the beautiful parts of human nature. I want to bring out virtues in others. Until they show me they are not worthy of my trust, I will find and recognize their virtues.
- I am curious by default.
When my body starts to feel resistance. When I have an urge to disagree, I default to curiosity. I seek out more information. I broaden my mind and learn more. I diverge. I do not jump to conclusions. I do not act on being triggered. I take a walk.
- I take action before I am 100% ready.
The truth is, I’ll never be 100% ready to do anything. Waiting to be ready is a perfectionist’s action. Learning occurs when you are not ready. When you are challenging yourself.
- I focus on the 1 percent that leads to 99 percent of the results.
This is simply the Pareto principle, over and over again. The tasks that i focus on are what I call system-amplifiers. They are about creating systems of automation, outsourcing, and employment.
- I practice coachability.
This one trait encompasses forgoing being right, de-escalating conflict, absorbing destructive or constructive feedback, and seeing the bull-shit of others as teachers.
- I make others look good.
This is about raising the face of others, giving them credit, introducing them fancily, and continually complimenting them meaningfully. I give others the spotlight so that they can become successful.
- I seek the truth however much it hurts.
Seeking the truth is about embracing bad news. It’s about going outside your perspective and forecasting the worst-case scenario. It’s about embracing a little healthy pessimism.
- I say no by default.
I think things through before saying yes. This ensures that what I am saying yes to is a Fuck Yes. Saying no gives my body the time to be aware of itself.
- I speak with a high signal-to-noise ratio.
This world is saturated with ramblers. They say the same thing over and over again multiples times. This programs others to not listen to them intently. I want everything that comes out of my mouth to be highly valuable and succinct.
- I celebrate to motivate myself.
Too often we celebrate only at the end. When we break down milestones into smaller steps, we can use celebration as a source of motivation forward. This also applies to when I complete a task that required a lot of willpower, such as a new habit.
- I diverge and then converge.
Before making conclusions, i take the outside view. I broaden my perspective. I seek out new information. Once i have collected the relevant statistics, i make an informed choice.
- I have faith but confront reality.
Humans are naturally optimists, due to the confirmation bias and our narrow view on the world. Confronting reality is about being a wide-eyed realist. Having faith is about being belief-driven. Knowing that suffering is temporary and that consistency is the greatest determinant of success.
- I motivate myself intrinsically and integratedly.
This is about finding the enjoyment in the activities you dread. It’s about re-programming yourself to enjoy an experience, or pivoting to an alternative activity that you do enjoy. Integration is about identification. When we integrate a behaviour or goal into our identity, we are much more likely to be motivated to pursue it.
- I have no destination.
The moment is the end. The moment is the end. Meaning, the moment is all we have and when we focus on it, when we focus on the means, the end comes naturally.
- I take calculated risks.
I make decisions consciously and slowly. I consider the outside view. I brainstorm what i may not know. I calculate the likelihood of different scenarios.
- I embrace intelligent failures.
Intelligent failures are failures resulting from calculated risks. Resulting from experiments that were well thought out and had risk. Preventable failures, i do not celebrate.
- I boost others’ sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
(1) Autonomy — the desire to direct our own lives; (2) Mastery — the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and (3) Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
- I recognize more than I criticize, at a ratio of 6:1.
Due to the negativity bias, we need much more praise to offset any criticism.
- I present solutions.
Before presenting problems to others, I try to figure out the solution on my own. Often, with just a double-check, I will solve the problem. When we ask questions, where the answer is readily available if we had just looked it up, it illustrates to others that we are incompetent. Look before asking. Don’t just ask. although encouraging people to ask for help is great leadership, we must be cautious to not encourage dumb questions. Dumb question-asking is an act of giving up one’s independent thinking ability.
- I source my self-esteem from my progress, purpose, and people.
This is in contrast to focusing on winning instead. The comparative analysis kills joy. It raises our expectations for how we should be living.
- I unconditionally accept others.
This means I do not wish that they change. I make suggestions, but I love them regardless of whether they heed my suggestions. I do not resent the people who choose not to evolve. I distance.
- I do what I say and say what I mean.
Nothing comes out of my mouth without a commitment to myself and my action. I do not want to be the boy who cried wolf. People adapt gradually to what you say. If generally, what you say is trustworthy, they will see your word as the word of Christ.
- I favour the process over the outcome.
Process orientation aligns with the logic that “the moment is the end.” The outcome usually depends on luck. However, when we focus on the process over and over again, the influence of luck dissipates. Life is better when we enjoy the process.
- I specify when and where I will do something.
The more specific I can get with my commitment, the more likely it is I will succeed. This principle mandates the use of rigorous scheduling systems.
- I say thank you 20 times per day.
I practice gratitude in many ways. But, this way is simple. I say thank you when people do things for me, small or large. When someone fills me with joy, when someone calls me, when someone invites me. I find reasons to thank and recognize the generosity of others.
- I spend my weirdness points wisely.
i don’t spend my weirdness points on lookism. I am wise with how I decide to spend them. If I look different, and think different, people will be less likely to be open to my thoughts than if I just thought different.
- I spend my money on creating experiences for others.
If there is one principle in this essay that is most correlated with my happiness, it is this one. I live and breathe bringing people together. This is how I want to spend my money. Good company is worth all my money.
- I live unrushedly.
Luxury is the privilege of not having to rush. Most of my poor decisions have resulted from too fast of a pace. Slowing down the pace of my decision-making and relationship building has proven effective for long-term thinking.
- I identify root causes, not villains.
Often, beneath the villain, there is a cause. Often, the cause is not a human. It is a choice architecture or a system. The sleepy pilot is not at fault. So, when someone makes a horrible mistake, I look for the underlying system or lack of one thereof. Consider the time you crashed your father’s car, Jacques.
- I think on a multidimensional spectrum (non-binary).
People are unique. Situations are nuanced. Consider the human body. Gut bacteria can cause depression. If I spend more time identifying the nuances, I get closer to actual reality.
- I respond with I don’t know.
Knowledge is constantly evolving. To claim that you know something is to deny the fact that things are impermanent. Appreciating your own ignorance and collecting more data is a good approach to decision-making.
- I do not delay crucial conversations.
Lying is the opposite of embracing crucial conversations. These conversations take place because I want to cooperate with others. I want people to regard me as someone who tells the truth in an empowering way. Empowerment feedback is the type of feedback that I practice.
- I trust myself because I am accountable to myself.
In David Goggins book, he talks about the accountability mirror. This is his method for holding himself accountable. He asks himself in the mirror, ‘are you one to do that? Are you trustworthy?’ He embraces the reality of his integrity. Although social pressure is stronger by default, relying on others for accountability is weaker than relying on yourself. Your mind. Your voice.
- I do what I can do with stamina.
Stamina is the greatest predictor of success. By nature of the compound effect, when an action is repeated consistently over time, luck and chance circumstances fade into the background. It is inevitable that a behaviour will achieve a result if repeated infinitely.
- I dig beyond the opinion.
Beneath every opinion, there is a human experience. Humans have opinions because of their experiences. once we identify the experiences, we have a lot more patience in understanding one’s (potentially alien) opinions. It would make sense for someone to believe in conspiracies if their parents had been wronged by the justice system.
- I make it fun to make it consistent.
I tap into intrinsic motivation to keep my habit and project engines churning. When we sincerely enjoy the journey, the activity no longer requires motivation. We look forward to doing it. Finding a means to enjoy or gamify monotonous tasks is one of my favourite life hacks.
- I do not manufacture consent.
Manufacturing consent is about pressuring or manipulating people into doing something that they really wouldn’t want to do if they were left to themselves. The opposite of this is to allow people to be attracted to your project, community, or just YOU.
- When judging whether to trust an expert, I evaluate whether they have skin in the game.
- If someone is eager to say something, I implore them to share it and validate them.
- When someone shares good news with me, I practice active constructive responding.