⚖️ Life Principles


Be radically open minded

Honestly believe you could be wrong

The earlier you know you are wrong the better. You still have time to fix it.

Actively seek the information that could change your mind — especially if it's painful.

Most people avoid the painful things, even if they are beneficial in the long run. Seek out the information, especially if you find yourself reluctant to do so. Lean into, not away from, what's making you uncomfortable.

Your ability to deal with not knowing is more important than what you do know

Most bad decisions are made when the person is certain they are right.

Ask yourself: "How do I know I am right?"

If you can't answer this, maybe you are not right? Consider if you are "believable" on this topic, do you have a track record of successes?

Know if you are arguing or seeking to understand

Track which is most appropriate based on the other persons believability.

Consider your circle of confidence vs. circle of competence

Consider if you are believable on this subject, or if you are outside your circle of competence

Anything you are current doing, you can do better

If you are currently doing something, you can always do it better. Knowing and accepting that you can make improvements allows space for those improvements to happen. You are being open-minded.

Be radically transparent

Being informed allows for the best decisions

You can't expect good choices without good information.

Being transparent lets others work with the information that you have. They are more likely to make 'good' decisions — which reduces the amount you need to be involved. See don't be a police officer.

Share your goals

A lot of miscommunication can be avoided by telling the other person what you want to achieve.

Share the things that are hardest to share

The things that are hardest to share are the things that most need transparency.

Be open about the feedback you receive

Say "yes" to opportunities

Move towards the hard things

When you find resistance to saying "yes", understand if that's because the thing is hard — but something that could benefit you.

Properly weight the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order consequences. Saying "yes" to opportunities when you feel resistance helps to bypass the 1st order doubt, in favour of the 2nd and 3rd order gains.

Easy decision, hard life

By and large the easiest thing is a 1st order gain, and a 2nd and 3rd order loss. Making only the easy decisions makes things harder overall.

Take time to think.

Quick decisions should never be rushed.

All things being equal take the road less travelled

Nothing successful was ever achieved by following the well-trodden path. If others have been here before, it's been done before.

Retain perspective

Stay levelled

Know which of the two "yous" you are dealing with. Retain perspective by operating with the higher level you. Perspective keeps you humble and grounded, and willing to learn.

Consider your frame of reference

Consider the frame in which you are looking at information. Know when you have "rose tinted glasses". Be willing to sacrifice your frame of reference in order to be radically open minded.

Know "big deals" from "little deals"

Big deals are important, little deals are not. Know when you are dealing with a big deal.

Don't let people make big deals out of little deals

It's important to allow people to make an argument for something being a big or little deal. If someone is not making an argument, but making a little deal into a big deal -- stop them.

People who calmly argue the big deals from little deals (with logic and reasoning) should be considered based on their argument and believability.

Don't confuse effort with achievement

Trying hard and failing can be good. But never achieving is always bad. Don't excuse poor achievement with great effort.

Focus on what is, before what to do about it

Before you decide what to do, you have to focus on what is. Understand and accept reality. Then decide what to do.

Everything exists on levels. Understand how to navigate those levels.

Zoom in and out on your levels

Information lives on different levels. You have to synthesize the information across levels to get a full picture of what's going on.

Your choices should be consistent with what you want on each level

If you want to run a marathon, you can't go to the pub instead of a training session.

Recognise levels in communication

Understand high and low context communication

Understand when you share high, or low, context with the other person. Use the shared context to inform your explanation.

Use analogies to navigate levels

When you have low shared context, use analogies as a replacement. Analogies are associative, and they can help fill in the knowledge gaps you have with the other person.

Ground decisions in patterns and data

Everything is measurable

Measure aspects of your life in order to collect the data. Automate as much as you can.

Research your own experience

Be neutral, be the researcher

Understand what’s going on with you from a neutral place. Notice what you normally gravitate towards and notice what you enjoy in the tasks you already do in life.

Absorb what is useful

After researching, pull out the things that resonate with you and that are working for you. Absorb what is useful to you personally, not what society or those around you accept as useful. Take note of moments that spark your interest.

Reject what is useless

It's easy to reject the most negative things holding you back. It's hard to identify the mediocre obstacles. Pick out what is useful to you, and reject what is not.

Track the information that would cause you to change your mind

Write a list of the things that would cause you to change you mind. Keep track of these things.

Identify 2 or 3 variables that really matter, break them down to discover the options

Know what the main driving forces are, these are the two or three most important variables. Focus on these and break them down.

Identify if it’s “another one of those”

Most everything is "another one of those", it will have happened to someone before even if that someone is not you. Knowing if it is "another one of those" will help you understand which solution to apply.

Just because something is possible does not make it probable

Something being possible doesn't mean that it's likely to happen. Correctly weight the probability of that thing to separate possible from probable.

Believability weight your decision making

Use believability to assess the likelihood that opinions are good.

Remember that everyone has opinions and they are often bad

Opinions are cheap. They are easy to produce and people are eager to share them. Many are worthless or even harmful, including many of your own.

Understand the reasoning

Pay attention to the reasoning behind the opinion. Most people are eager to share their conclusions and not the reasoning that went into that conclusion. Dig into the reasoning to understand if the conclusion is any good.

Understand the cause-effect relationships

Get people to explain the cause-effect relationships behind their decisions. Trust people with great cause-effect explanations.

Ask experts how they would decide, not what they would choose

Look for the cause-effect relationships in how the expert would decide. Understand which of them apply to your current situation. See cause-effect relationships.

Decide and review from different perspectives

Focus on collecting feedback to calibrate your ability to make decisions.

Understand how the metrics should have moved based on your decision. Check if they moved in line with what you expected.

Avoid resulting

Avoid the temptation to believe that a good outcome was the result of a good decision (and that a bad outcome was the result of a bad decision). Correctly identify the component of chance in the situation.

Consider the decision from the perspective of everyone implicated.

Adopting different perspectives helps you to consider the information you might be missing. Forcing yourself to take a different perspective will more thoroughly test your decisions and assumptions.

shareholders, employees, regulators, customers, partners

Avoid options the best version of yourself would regret

Rule of 5

What will the decision look like in 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years, 5 decades.

Know when to stop

Know when a decision just needs to be made, and when collecting more information will have diminishing returns.

Be comfortable with by-and-large decisions

Use the by-and-large metric to help know when to stop. Seeking more extra information no has diminishing returns.

More information increases confidence not accuracy

Having more information can increase your confidence in the decision, but not the accuracy of the decision. You will have a larger signpost for which direction to go, but no extra guarantee the direction is correct.

Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance

Don't lose

If you have £10 and have a 10% loss. You now have £90. You have to make an 11% gain to break even. Here you can see that losing is worse than winning. To win, firstly don't lose

Avoiding a bad option is easier than finding a brilliant one

Know which bets not to take. Avoid the bad decisions, and you will start making more good ones.

Be more prepared than they expect you to be

Being more prepared than expected helps to hedge against you having missed something.

Failure is inevitable if you are pushing yourself

Fail well

Limit the blast radius

Know that you will fail at some point. Hedge on all outcomes, reduce the amount of damage that any single decision can have.

How you deal with failure is more important than how you deal with success

Everyone who is pushing themselves will fail. Understand that everyone -- including you -- will fail. How you deal with, and learn from, your failure is more important than knowing the answers in the first place.

Look for self reflective people who can understand and learn from their failure.

Learn from failure

Don't feel bad about failing

Understand that failure is an important part of learning. Fail well, learn, and succeed.

It's unacceptable to make the same mistake twice

Making a mistake is OK, not learning from the mistake is not OK.

Understand that people are wired differently

Know what the different wiring is

Introversion vs. Extroversion

Introverts prefer focusing on the inner word. Energy from memories and experiences. Introverts often prefer written comms. Extroverts prefer talking through their ideas. Energy from people and interactions.

Thinking vs. Feeling

Thinkers makes decisions based on logical analysis of objective facts. Using logic to determine the best course of action.

Feelers focus on harmony between people. Better suited to roles that require a lot of empathy, interpersonal contact and relationship building.

Intuiting vs. Sensing

Intuiting is seeing the big picture (forest), sensing is focusing on the details (the trees). The intuitive thinker focuses on context and then details. Sensers can be thrown by small details that are "wrong", e.g. a typo.

Planning vs. Perceiving

Planners like to live in a planned orderly way. They like to focus on a plan and stick with it. Planners workout what they want to achieve and then how to achieve it. They are proactive.

Perceivers see things happening and work backwards to understand why, and how to respond. They see many possibilities to choose from. They are reactive.

Perceivers think planners are rigid, planners think perceivers are changing direction too often.

Understand what you can expect from someone

If you know someone's wiring, you know their archetype. With the archetype you can understand their characteristics, behaviours, strengths, and weaknesses. With their strengths and weaknesses you can know what to expect from them.

Focus on needs and motivations to build empathy

Understand what a person's needs and motivations are

People are largely rational decision makers. If you understand a person's needs and motivations (goals) you can understand the decisions.

People make decisions consistently with their needs and motivations

You can predict and understand the decisions people make — the decisions are made consistently with their needs and motivations. If you are surprised by the decision, check what you are missing.