Life can be confusing. It's often hard to make good decisions, whether it's choosing a career or deciding what to do this afternoon.

So I gave some thought to a brief set of guidelines that might help me in all my big and small decisions.

Guidelines that would stand the test of time, and that I wouldn't be ashamed to show my children. They'll probably laugh when they compare their imperfect (and sometimes grumpy) Dad to a man who lives by these guidelines, but at least I know where I'm trying to head.

Do things I love

  • Time is the most precious asset, so never waste it.
  • Remember that motivation and enthusiasm are infectious.
  • Focus on intentions, not results. Long term results-oriented goals create rigidity and sap motivation. Instead, have a vision and immediate next steps - then do the first step.
  • Reinvent myself whenever I want to or need to.
  • Say "No" to things not in line with these values. Then I'll have more time for focusing on the things I love.
  • No need to rush: enjoy the journey and celebrate the small successes.

"Make a list of the 25 things you want to do in life. Do the top 5. NEVER think about the other 20 again - this will just distract from the 5 most important".

Warren Buffett

Utilise my talents, improve my skills

  • No excuses. No blaming or complaining. Get on and do it: practice, work and improve, even if I'm not in the mood.
  • Passion more often follows competence than the other way around, so commit to the path of mastery and do great work through deliberate practice. "Deliberate practice" means:
    • Have envisioned outcome in mind.
    • Push beyond comfort zone, but not so much that I feel I don't have the competence to achieve the goal.
    • Obtain/seek feedback obsessively and immediately.
  • Make mistakes. Turn discomfort into learning experience.
  • Improve 1% a day (or week or month - it doesn't matter - either way it will compound to being huge).
  • But remember that in order to improve I must believe deep down that the positive results outweigh any negatives / sacrifices I make to get them.
  • Make myself rare and valuable. I earn a great career when I have rare and valuable skills to offer in return.

Help people

  • Serve others: Listen, and have empathy and compassion.
  • Don't try to be everything to everyone. Find the people who love my work and it will spread by word of mouth.
  • Teach what I learn (to solidify the learning).
  • Don't forget about me: Eat well, sleep well.

"The best way to make a living is to do a lot of favors for people. Eventually you can start charging."

Derek Sivers

Build relationships & trust

  • Don't be a grumpy old man; instead spread some happiness, fun and love for life.
  • Bond people by promoting shared experiences and appreciation of others.
  • Surround myself with people who are kind to me and give me energy. Move away from the others.
  • Make regular contact with family, friends and others important to me.

Be curious

  • Read obsessively.
  • Find the best mentors or sources of knowledge.
  • Keep experimenting to find what works.
  • Follow up: write an email to that person the next day, with the next step.


  • The important questions:
    • What can I offer the world?
    • What good can I do?
    • What change can I make?
  • Work on new ideas, contemplate old ideas, and use 1+1=3 (blending 2 good ideas to make a great idea).
  • Challenge my brain every day. It gets stronger and better, like a muscle.
  • Offer new ideas, developments and perspectives that widen our appreciation of the world.
  • Focus on the questions, not the answers. The right questions are where the opportunities lie. Answers can be easily searched or outsourced.
  • Write every day, with compassion, even if it's just for me. Don't worry about writing bad stuff. People will only remember the good stuff.
  • Don't forget to play.


  • Diversify to manage risks:
    • Don't bet the farm until a safety net is in place.
    • Only leave one job when another has proven it can make money.
    • Diversify my investments ... both time and money.
  • Diversify in life.
    • Have multiple interests.
    • Understand why other people may have a point of view different to my own.
    • This way, I can blend ideas to multiply their greatness.