Personal autonomy is crucial.
Having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of wellbeing than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered.– Morgan Housel, Author of “The Psychology of Money”
You could work twice as hard and be ten times happier if it was on a task you have chosen for yourself.
On the other hand, a simple task that takes ten minutes could be agonizing because it was forced upon you.
Reading is a superpower.
We live in the age of Alexandria, when every book and every piece of knowledge ever written down is a fingertip away. The means of learning are abundant—it’s the desire to learn that is scarce.– Naval Ravikant
Read what you love until you love to read.
At some deep level, you absorb ideas, and they become threads in the tapestry of your psyche.
Not sure where to start? Try any of these great books:
- Essentialism, Greg McKeown
- Captivate, Vanessa Van Edwards
- Mindset, Carol Dweck
- Atomic Habits, James Clear
Extraordinary results come from ordinary people with uncommon discipline.
Anyone can do something once. Not everyone can do it consistently. Eating healthy for a meal is common. Eating healthy all week is not. Working out occasionally is common. Working out a few times a week is not. Going to bed on time is easy. Doing it for a week is not.
– Shane Parrish, Farnham Street
Positioning yourself for future success is simple but not easy. The hardest part is the discipline required to do otherwise ordinary things for an extraordinarily long period of time, even when the results are barely noticeable.
Simple but not easy. Reconciling that conundrum may be the biggest challenge we face.
Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s selfless.
You have to start thinking of yourself as the main character because if you don’t, life will continue to pass you by.– A Random Bottle of Wine
(I know a few folks who would consider wine a reliable life coach, always there for the important decisions.)
Too many kind, generous people do so much for others and neglect themselves. Taking care of yourself—protecting your health and going after your goals—isn’t selfish, it’s selfless.
Being the best version of you means you can give your best to others. If you really care about helping others, don’t you think they deserve the best you can offer?
Persistence without insight leads to the same outcome.
Your biggest weakness could be treating outcomes or actions as isolated from the larger context.
You want to lose weight but struggle to find the right diet. You assume it wasn’t the right plan for you instead of asking a more helpful question, “Why is reducing my food intake so difficult?”
- Is it stress at work?
- A busy schedule that makes takeout more convenient?
- A bad food environment at home that makes falling off the wagon too easy?
Asking “why” can help identify existing patterns. Patterns lead to insights about your behavior. These insights allow you to put your persistence to good use.
Why do you commit to your health? The right reason makes all the difference.
I was recently asked, “What motivates you to maintain your own personal health, to keep off the weight you lost so many years ago?
For a long time it was fear of going back to where I was. After a while, it became a part of my identity. If I don’t maintain where I’m at, I don’t feel like myself anymore.
I also realized how much I was held back from experiencing when I was out of shape. Far more than I even realized at the time. A whole new world opened up to me. I’m motivated to ensure I never have to sit out of an activity that I want to take part in.
Those things together make for a pretty strong insurance policy that I’ll stay consistent with my fitness.
In the end, we all have to find our own reasons. For some it’s to get back to a hobby they love. For others, it’s to be able to get on the floor to play with the grandkids.
The right reason makes all the difference.
If life is a game, there are no rules, no scoring system, and no playbook.
Every single person is making it up as they go.
We each have to define for ourselves how we’re going to play the game and what it means to score.
Sometimes we get lost in other peoples’ games—trying to score in a way that doesn’t make sense to us or playing by rules that don’t feel right.
And other times, we get so confused by all the different games happening on the field that we decide to sit on the sideline and try to figure out what the hell is going on.
Sitting on the sideline is the worst thing you can do. There is no coach to put you in the game. If you don’t put yourself in the game, you will sit on the bench until it’s too late and the game is over.
Define your rules. Figure out what it means to score. Then get out there and play the game.
Not all ideas are created equal. These six will carry disproportional weight in improving your life.
Self-Efficacy – A belief in yourself. We’re all making it up as we go, so trusting yourself is pretty important for going after what you want.
Radical Introspection – The ability to evaluate your internal thoughts, feelings, and emotions, even when the outcomes aren’t what you want to hear. You must first master yourself before you can master the world.
First Principles – Concepts distilled into their most basic, fundamental form. Identifying first principles allows you to avoid being boxed into the “old” way of doing things.
Calorie Balance – A first principle of nutrition. Understanding and mastering this principle will free you from yo-yo diets and give you better control of your health.
Second-Order Thinking – The ability to think about the consequences of the consequences of your actions. Learning this skill allows you to play chess while everyone else is playing checkers.
Hakuna Matata – It means no worries. Life is stressful, but learning how to protect your peace means that your stress can’t control you. That’s powerful.
The biggest obstacle to your fitness goals is likely figuring out how to correctly label what you need to work on.
Instead of figuring out why your body is broken —> Figuring out how to stay consistent with the basics.
Instead of wishing you had more willpower —> Building an environment that doesn’t require it.
Instead of restricting yourself from the “bad” foods —> Learning how to properly manage portion sizes.
You don’t struggle because it’s too hard. You struggle because you put all your effort into the wrong problem.
If you want clarity, focus on what you *should* do to achieve your desired outcomes.
When you only have two options—this or that—knowing what “not” to do is often as good as knowing the “right” course of action. You can quickly use the process of elimination to figure out the solution.
Once the number of options grows, however, knowing what “not” to do doesn’t get you any closer to your intended outcome.
The process of elimination doesn’t work if there are an infinite number of choices.
When faced with an overwhelming number of choices, focus on the language of solutions.
The language of solutions focuses on what you *should* be doing, not on affirmations of what you *shouldn’t* be doing.
This simple process makes the path to your goals more clear, simple, and actionable.
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