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".
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.
- 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."
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.
- 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.