You are what you think you are

Your operating system reinforces your belief (bias) that the Universe conspires for you or against you.  That people are trustworthy or they’re not.  That you are lucky or unlucky.

Your standards and your quality of life improve with a bit of self-reflection, and an effort to upgrade your self-talk (e.g. “things always work out for me”).

The placebo effect is strong, and doesn’t only apply to medicine.

 

 

 

The magic of increments

A leaking bathtub isn’t a problem for a while, until it overflows.  Five daily minutes spent acquiring a worthwhile skill or habit doesn’t seem beneficial, until you realize that 5 minutes a day adds up to 30 dedicated hours per year, and the results are life-changing.

Our culture celebrates that captivating moment when you “made it”.  Drip-by-drip, incremental change is less glamorous, and rarely highlighted.  Yet it’s the cause of every (seemingly) overnight success story.

 

Not your job

It’s not in the CEO’s job description to comfort an employee who’s going through a difficult time. It’s not your legal obligation as a citizen to pick up litter, hold the door, lend a friend money, help a pregnant woman load her groceries, give helpful advice, connect people, forgive the person who wronged you, or even be nice.

Human progress however, relies on thoughtful people acting out of kindness, and an intent to improve the well-being of any of our seven billion neighbors…despite the fact that it’s “not their job.”

You notice what you believe

The R.A.S. is a bundle of nerves in your brain that makes you aware of all the red cars on the road the moment you consider buying one.

Beliefs are lenses through which we view the movie of our lives.  Think you’re lucky?  You’ll notice the tiny things that go your way.  Do you believe you’re intelligent?  Watch how efficiently you problem-solve.

Confirmation bias can work in your favor.  Monitor your beliefs.  And maybe try, if for just a few days, to view the Universe as though it’s conspiring on your behalf, that you are fortunate, and worthy.

Use your own definition

If Sir Richard Branson’s vision of success was to build wealth while maintaining anonymity, he failed.

Defining our own version of success helps prioritize our time and attention. Success to you may mean financial independence, fame, freedom to travel, or full control of your calendar.  Right and wrong don’t exist here as this is personal.

In the end, you’re either consciously pursuing your own priorities and vision of success, or being unconsciously guided by everyone else’s.

The subtraction principle

Bruce Lee coined the phrase: “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless.”  When asked how he created the masterpiece sculpture David, Michelangelo said he chipped away at everything that wasn’t David.  The world’s most successful investors agree that protecting the downside (risk) is the most critical investment principle.

We commonly think to add habits and routines to improve, when often the most valuable strategy is to identify and stop doing the most consequential, stupid, harmful things that derail our lives.  Hack away at the unessential, or things that hurt you.  No coaches, therapy sessions, or slick software required.

The path and the destination

No business plan survives first contact with real customers.  No financial plan, relationship plan, or other life plan endures in its original form. That’s not an excuse not to plan.  Just remember that the short road to disappointment is attachment to and insistence on specific outcomes.

No matter where you end up, one thing is certain: the attempt…the trying…is where you’ll spend most of your time.  So be mindful of how you’re living while you’re on the journey.

The way you walk the path is as important as where it leads.