Guiding Principles

Some years ago after being inspired by Derek Sivers talking about his “directives” on the Tim Ferriss Show (one of my favorite podcast episodes), I started keeping track of my own. His book Anything You Want is a short, fantastic read. Recently, Tim also shared a post written by Kevin Kelly in a similar vein called 68 bits of seriously good advice (great article). So I decided to post mine, a list of things to remember and things I’ve come to learn. Guidance and wisdom for how I hope to live my life. By sharing, I hope it inspires you to create your own.

  1. Be genuine, be honest, be humble
  2. Strong opinions loosely held
  3. Offer perspectives not answers
  4. Take calculated risks
  5. Embrace change
  6. Take action
  7. Live unconventionally
  8. Find your own way
  9. Be curious
  10. Never stop learning
  11. There is always something that can be learned from someone else
  12. When learning, ask why, when doing, ask why not
  13. Learn from the past, be mindful of the future, remain in the present 
  14. Decide how you want to spend your time, not necessarily what you want to do with your life 
  15. You see life through the lense of your experiences
  16. Do what makes you happy. Do what you find meaningful. Seek purpose.
  17. Appreciate everything
  18. Give first, receive second
  19. Listen carefully
  20. Breath deeply, think deeply, move often
  21. Have purpose
  22. Be mindful, pay attention
  23. How you do anything is how you do everything. Small, innocuous things matter.
  24. Slow down
  25. Never stop playing
  26. Ask questions
  27. Challenge assumptions, challenge the status quo
  28. When you get comfortable or good at something its time to change or move on
  29. Live without regret
  30. Nothing is absolute
  31. Prioritize and focus, you’ll achieve much more as a result
  32. The foundation for how we behave on a daily basis comes down to conditioning, habits, and routines
  33. Be ok with failure, learn from your mistakes
  34. Get off the couch and do something, you never know what experience you might have; this is what life is
  35. Do your thing
  36. Form is key
  37. It’s never as bad as you think it will be
  38. Don’t just tell, show
  39. Don’t judge, listen with an open mind
  40. Trust only those who have been there and done it
  41. Everything is an adventure
  42. Be interesting, be interested
  43. Words and teaching help you know what to look for, experience and practice help you find and understand it
  44. Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do right now
  45. Know thyself (yourself)
  46. Do the math
  47. When experiencing pain or discomfort, go into nature. Pain often stems from doing things humans weren’t meant to do and thus can be resolved by doing things we are normally adept to do.
  48. Correctly identifying the problem makes clear the best solution
  49. Use the past to learn, use the future to plan, guide, & direct, use the present to enjoy & act
  50. Knowledge is nothing with application (action)
  51. Knowledge can illuminate one’s capabilities and potential, but it can also reveal one’s constraints in limitations. Only balancing the two provides the courage to try and to practically succeed.
  52. Always have a backup plan
  53. Live the middle of your life like the bookends – carefree, fearless, not giving a f*** about what anyone else thinks
  54. Don’t pay for or outsource what you can do yourself, but if you can’t or aren’t doing it, consider getting help
  55. Know when to be a leader and when to be a follower and be great at both
  56. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
  57. The experience rarely matches the mind’s conception. Dread or worry is rarely ever as bad as what actually happens. Conversely, expectations can be exceeded. So just do it! What’s the worst that can happen?
  58. Leave things as you found them…or better
  59. Being cheap will cost you. Don’t be cheap. Do be frugal. Value over cost.
  60. You get what you put up with, you get what you think you deserve
  61. Action is evoked from emotion not logic. Evoke emotion through stories and human connection.
  62. Live simply, live fully
  63. Dream big, question convention, be fearless, act pragmatically
  64. We are influenced by our parents and upbringing, but not forever bound by those experiences. They are malleable, not fixed.
  65. Always look to see what’s around the bend
  66. Don’t be afraid to start again at the beginning
  67. A man’s work (actions, deeds) transcends the man
  68. Plan for the future, but don’t compromise the present
  69. See the world as it is, not as you expect it should be. Model yourself to emulate how you want it to be.
  70. The best question is why, the second best question is why not
  71. Only great questions beget great answers
  72. Easy to use doesn’t mean easy to build
  73. In work and even in life, consider and differentiate between what you want to do vs. what you want to be responsible for. This illuminates the path between management and individual contributor.
  74. Value being wise over being smart, being happy over being successful
  75. Things are rarely black and white, there’s always a gray area; seek context before judgement
  76. There’s a lesson to be learned in every experience if you pay attention.
  77. Always read the fine print
  78. Seek to understand all perspectives
  79. Know when to be direct, know when to be indirect; sometimes subtlety is required to achieve the desired outcome
  80. No experience is wasted
  81. Everyone moves at their own pace
  82. Mold yourself into a person you’re excited to talk about and share with others
  83. Dwelling in the past doesn’t resolve the present nor does it help you move towards the future
  84. Everything’s relative, everything requires perspective
  85. Decide who and how you want to be, not just what you want to be
  86. Everyone is replaceable
  87. Build on your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses
  88. Be comfortable being uncomfortable
  89. Never make a significant decision without sleeping on it
  90. Don’t do things out of obligation or that you don’t want to do, unless it’s supporting a friend or loved one
  91. Pain leads to pleasure; gives way to pleasure; sometimes
  92. Don’t spend money on things you can do yourself. Do spend money on things that make your life better or if your time is better spent elsewhere.
  93. Craft the life you want, don’t let life or others craft it for you
  94. Those who have life experience are harder to fool
  95. Life experience and exposure to other places, people, and culture breeds compassion
  96. Bookend your day; the beginning and end are yours to control
  97. Whatever happens, I’m confident that I’ll figure it out
  98. Be great at asking great questions
  99. First learn principles, then learn tools and tactics
  100. Most problems can be solved only once you reframe or otherwise look at things in a different way
  101. The best ideas come when you’re not thinking about them
  102. Embrace boredom, cultivate thought; after all, a single thought  has the power to change your life and can even change the world
  103. It’s not the words themselves, but the context and intent behind them that matters most
  104. Be a badass without being an asshole.
  105. Think of your thoughts as what you believe today, knowing full well that over time, information, your beliefs, and the world around you will change; this creates the possibility that tomorrow’s thoughts could be very different
  106. Go after your potential not somebody else’s; life’s quest is to reach your own potential
  107. Let your curiosity lead you
  108. Just because there’s room for improvement doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing it badly
  109. Amuse yourself everyday
  110. Everyone wants to speak, but no one wants to think about what they have to say
  111. In life, be a participant not a spectator
  112. If not now, when?
  113. Take credit for your own achievements, give credit to those who supported you, be grateful for your circumstances that helped get you to where you are
  114. Be frugal, not cheap; pay for value not price
  115. You are your habits
  116. Value character over accomplishments
  117. The greatest form of intelligence is simplifying complex topics
  118. The most impressive form of creativity is making the most of what you got
  119. You can’t entirely pick your experiences, you have to just live them
  120. Live life as an experiment
  121. It takes longer when you rush
  122. Being able to learn new things is better than trying to know everything

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