A while ago, I kept a running list of principles to guide my life. I recently rediscovered it, and it turns out it aged better than I thought it would. So here it is, open-sourced, for the world to see. Feel free to use it (or not use it) as you wish.
- Work hard. Take everything that you do and use it as a chance to enhance your main goals. Just make sure that it’s fun for you.
- Pay close attention to the craft. Focus on creativity and the art form rather than conforming to what is popular in the industry.
- Don’t get easily distracted. Temptation is the devil. Remember your goals. Remember why you’re doing all this. It’s a long game.
- Keep organized. Get rid of old experiments that don’t work, have everything in its right place.
- Focus on wider goals. Don’t spend too much time focusing on school and work when you know that it isn’t really the point.
- Generalization over specialization. Specialization is for insects. People are complex, abstract-thinking beings that are meant to have many different varying interests. Work around this.
- Work fast and break things. If you constantly wait until the right time, until it’s perfect, then it’s never going to be made. Just put it out there. Let things fail.
- Be at heart, a creative. Just doing tech is boring. Just being all business is boring. Find the art in all of it. It will help guide your competitive advantage.
- Make the culture, not follow it. Build the hierarchy upon which people speak and do things. Develop the ruleset, do not follow someone else’s. If someone does not want to follow, let them go.
- Be intensely curious. Follow the things you’re interested in (see below). Constantly be exploring for new ideas, new things to build, etc.
- Strictly follows interests. Don’t bother diving into things because they’re “good for your career”. You’ll be able to find a way to build regardless of your interests. You just need to make sure you explore widely.
- Be patient. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Good things may not come for you for many years. But if you’re consistent, the question doesn’t become if — it becomes when.
- Be transparent and calm when things get heated. In a fight, your natural response is to get aggressive (fight) or whimper (flight). Move away from these responses. Instead, keep your cool and smile during a fight. People won’t know how to fight it.
- Go at life actively, not passively. Do not slouch off, or mind wander. Be in the present; you do your best work there.
- Force yourself to stave off loafing, hunger, sleep, when needed. See Hesse’s Siddhartha. I can think, I can wait, I can fast.
- Never take life all too seriously. When it boils down to it, this whole thing is just a game. Try to enjoy it.
- Always be expressively grateful. People always like it. Just make sure to do it for things you really are grateful about.
- Use time wisely but kindly. Family and close friends get it for free. Everything else needs to pay.
- Play the hero. It’s dangerous, It’s reckless, It’s necessary. Put your values and the values of others ahead of yourself. You’ll be surprised how far it takes you.
- Live without fear, and be a beacon to those who have it. The shoulder to cry on, so to speak. The one person in the room who is fearless. That is heroism.
- Take responsibility. Even if it hurts you. Leaving it out in the sun just makes the whole thing worse.
- Show love, whenever possible. People to an extent live off love, and will show you love themselves if you give them it. The rule of reciprocity.
- Help the weak. Part of being a hero, part of showing love. Help those who can’t help themselves. It may reward you dividends in the future.
- Master of confidence. If you have more confidence than anyone in the room, they’ll follow what you do. No matter how dumb it looks.
- Be articulate. Articulation is key to getting people to understand your ideas and making them think you know what you’re talking about.
- Speak like a leader. Gather the weight of the room. Lead people to action, if they cannot do it themselves.
- Be eccentric yet self-aware. Being eccentric allows you to tap into culture creation. Being self-aware hedges for social status risk.
- Seductive yet loyal. Gather people to your side, but remember the ones that really count.
- Speak first. Speaking second is for followers.
- Be unafraid to speak up. Most of the reason why people speak second is because they’re afraid. Build up a tolerance for fear.
- Do not speak out against others, but be honest. Use the praise-criticism-praise paradigm. Make sure people always know the truth, just deliver it softly.
- Don’t be an asshole, but let yourself be disliked. Perhaps the most important lesson in this entire list. You are much better off in life setting the people and places you go to towards your beliefs than setting your beliefs to attract people and places.
- Do not involve yourself in drama of the people. It isn’t worth your time. Might be fun to watch, but there are better things to do. Same reason that reality TV is bad for you.
- Don’t worry about people — just about the physics. Similar reasoning to the points mentioned above. Don’t try to please people, regardless of the position. You’d be surprised how much better it sets you up in the long term.
- Use questions and clarifications to understand what other people are saying. The key to getting someone to your side is understanding their starting perspective very, very well.
- Be Strategic. Think about the long game. See the whole playing field. Think outside the box. You always have some sort of opponent — most of the time it’s yourself.
- Care more about the long term. Like it was mentioned earlier, life is a marathon not a spring.
- Do not be easily influenced. Whether it be the pleasures of life, or a sleek sales deal. Chances are what you’ve been doing for the past few years is better than whatever they have to sell.
- Keep controversial opinions hidden. Of course, say them if it breaks one of the previous mentioned laws. But don’t just spout out things that are going to make people upset.