I'm all about simplifying things. Because life is complex. People tend to overthink things or they don't think about certain things at all. Either way, life shouldn't be so confusing. It shouldn't suck. It shouldn't be a gamble, there's no reason for you to settle for the hand you're dealt. I do a lot of thinking and constant simplifying, to maximize my ROI on life. I like to cut out the crap that's not worth stressing over and I'm especially keen on constant self-improvement. How can I be a better person? How can I be more wise? More reasonable?
In doing so, I've managed to distill everything I know into 10 core principles I strive to live by. That's what the book over there is about (it's still in the works). I want to share the basic tenets of these with you today, as I go into depth in the book.
10 Keys to Mastery
- The master of your life is within.
- You must seize authority of your life or someone else will.
- Fear is fiction.
- You are the main saboteur of self-progress.
- Respect yourself and others will follow.
- Dispose of distraction and simplify stress.
- Focus within and stop blaming others.
- Quitting is the only failure.
- Be reasonable.
- Consider others.
The Master Within
You have the capability of taking control over your life, of owning it, of shaping it, of directing it wherever you want to go. You are not the hand you were dealt, life doesn't have to be a series of random events you have no say in. What do you want in life? You don't have to settle. You are the master of your life.
If you don't take control of your life and the direction it goes, someone else will. Lots of people try to determine our choices for us. Maybe they think they know what's best for us. They try their best to convince you that they're right. Our parents, teachers, spouses, preachers, coaches, friends. Whoever it is, your life does not ultimately belong to them. It belongs to you.
Fear is Fiction
Fear is a response to a perceived threat. Some of the things we fear are more likely to happen than others, or maybe something has already happened and you fear it happening again. Every time we fear something that isn't happening right now in this moment, we are basically teaching ourselves to be anxious about something that may not even happen. We are causing stress before it is necessary.
A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
You Are the Saboteur
We often sabotage ourselves without even realizing it. We do this by coming up with excuses: I don't have the money. I don't have time. I'm not talented enough. Blah blah blah. None of these are legitimate. They're mechanisms by which humans attempt to avoid failure or rejection. When we make excuses, we are just getting in our own way. Get out of your way.
Dispose of Distraction
Most of the things we stress about don't even matter. Not really. It's because we tend to go through life on autopilot. We just react without thinking, and so we are easily frustrated, angered, annoyed, anxious, stressed. I use the 80/20 principle all the time for this. It's called Pareto Principle. To paraphrase it, only 20% of the things we stress about are actually worthy of our attention (and even that's debatable). That means that 80% of the stress in our lives doesn't matter. Did someone cut you off? Who cares. It doesn't matter. Are you annoyed when you see young kids with saggy pants? Doesn't matter. By stressing over innocuous stuff, we are allowing other people, events, or things to take up space in our minds. Don't rent them space. Clear out distractions so you can focus on the things that really matter.
Most people shift blame onto other people whenever something doesn't go as planned. Most people can't admit when they were wrong or made a mistake. Most people look outside themselves for why something is or isn't happening and they never look at how they're contributing. Forget what everyone else is doing. Always ask yourself two questions and forget everything else: what am I doing to help the situation? What am I doing to hurt the situation? Work on yourself.
Quitting Is The Only Failure
Lots of people are afraid of failure. They are ashamed of it. They beat themselves up over it. Successful people (doesn't matter what your definition of success is) know the secret of failure, though: the only true failure is quitting. If you "fail" and it causes you to stop doing something you want to do, that's failure. But if you keep going until you succeed, was it really a failure? Persevere in your goals.
Use your reason in all things. Don't be dogmatic. Try to step outside your own biases. Remember the question, "What am I doing to hurt the situation?" When we are unreasonable, it always hurts the situation. Think things through. Listen to others, be understanding, be considerate. Be reasonable.
You must consider others. You can't expect others to respect you if you're not willing to offer it in return. You can't expect others to let you life your life and make your decisions if you're not willing to afford others the same opportunity. That is unreasonable. Don't try to control others. It's not your place. Focus on controlling your own life, thoughts, ideas, choices. You own your life, and you must let others own theirs. We don't like others trying to manage us, so we shouldn't do it to others.
The book will cover all of this in greater detail, but in the meantime you can get more by listening to the podcasts (links on the right). These keys require some serious self-exploration. Definitely give them a try and let me know how they work (or don't) for you.