This page consists of my personal code of conduct in life. It is living because it grows as I make new distinctions.
I thought it good to publish them here so that you may get a glimpse in understanding the standard that I hold myself to and what kind of person I am -- that is, if you care to know. Given the fact that you are here reading this, I presume, at some level, that you do.
Rather than a law, a principle is a "guidance tool" of a preconceived course of action designed for the best possible outcome with the understanding that most situations in life fit within “patterns” and because of that, they can be dealt with similarly.
Self Discipline must also be described as "directed freedom." Freedom to be and do as you truly desire. For freedom without direction is slavery to the windy and ever- fleeting precariousness of human emotion that starts and stops so far as to chain us all the way to nowhere. Predetermining your desired outcome from a clear, misty- free mind will safely guide you to a place of success and safety when the storms of life are raging. Therefore having principles in place can get you to where you want to be in life.
Obviously there are exceptions and situations where principles are not appropriate; in that case it may be wise to create “in flight fly rules”.
This list has been unashamedly modified from Ray Dalio’s list. In his book, "Principles", he urges us all to debate and think through the principles and adapt them for our own lives. This is my evolving attempt at that admonition.
1. Embrace Reality And Deal With It
1.1 Be a hyperrealist.
(What is a tangible, objectively measurable step that I'm taking today towards achieving my desired outcome?) a. Dreams + Reality + Determination = A Successful Life.
1.2 Truth—or, more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality —is the essential foundation for any good outcome.
(Am I well informed of the situation and do I have an objective, well-rounded approach to the next actions I will be taking?)
a. Be objective
1.3 Be radically open-minded and radically transparent.
(What pre-conceived judgment or belief pattern do I need to let go of in order to consider a new idea or gain a new perspective?) (Am I really being honest with myself right now?)
a. Radical open-mindedness and radical transparency are invaluable for rapid learning and eﬀective change. (Be honest with yourself).
b. Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way.
c. Embracing radical truth and radical transparency will bring more meaningful work and more meaningful relationships.
1.4 Look to nature to learn how reality works.
(What current belief pattern is limiting me to fully seeing and comprehending the reality of this situation?) (Is this (decision, action, situation) going contribute to the greater good?)
a. Don’t get hung up on your views of how things “should” be because you will miss out on learning how they really are ( eliminate “should” from your vocabulary).
b. To be “good” something must operate consistently with the laws of reality and contribute to evolution of the whole; that is what is most rewarded.
c. Evolution is the single greatest force in the universe; it is the only thing that is permanent and it drives everything.
d. Evolve or die. Nature casts off those things that don’t evolve.
1.5 Evolving is life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest reward.
(What good have my latest decisions, actions done for the growth and evolving of the world around me?) (What are my CANI areas and am I evolving in them?)
a. The individual’s incentives must be aligned with the group’s goals.
b. Reality is optimizing for the whole—not for you.
c. Adaptation through rapid trial and error is invaluable.
d. Realize that you are simultaneously everything and nothing—and decide what you want to be.
e. What you will be will depend on the perspective you have.
1.6 Understand nature’s practical lessons.
(What have I done today to push myself to be better?)
a. Maximize your evolution.
b. Remember “no pain, no gain.”
c. It is a fundamental law of nature that in order to gain strength one has to push one’s limits, which is painful.
d. Raise your standards.
1.7 Pain + Reflection = Progress.
(Is there a pain-point that I need to address today instead of avoiding it? Who or what may I need to confront in order to make progress towards the greater goal?)
a. Go to the pain rather than avoid it.
b. Embrace tough love.
1.8 Weigh second- and third-order consequences.
(What effect will my decision, action have on the bigger picture of my business/relationships up to the third degree?)
1.9 Own your outcomes.
(What is my attitude towards the results (good or bad) that I am getting?)
1.10 Look at the “machine" of your situation from the higher level.
(What insight do I need to acquire today to help me view my situation more objectively in order to make a more effective decision?)
a. Think of yourself as a machine operating within a machine and know that you have the ability to alter your machines to produce better outcomes.
b. By comparing your outcomes with your goals, you can determine how to modify your machine.
c. Distinguish between you as the designer of your machine and you as a worker with your machine.
d. The biggest mistake most people make is to not see themselves and others objectively, which leads them to bump into their own and others’ weaknesses again and again.
e. Successful people are those who can go above themselves to see things objectively and manage those things to shape change.
f. Asking others who are strong in areas where you are weak to help you is a great skill that you should develop no matter what, as it will help you develop guard rails that will prevent you from doing what you shouldn’t be doing.
g. Because it is difficult to see oneself objectively, you need to rely on the input of others and the whole body of evidence.
h. If you are open-minded enough and determined, you can get virtually anything you want.
2. Use the 5-Step Process to Get What You Want Out of Life
2.1 Have clear outcomes and put systems in place to reach them.
(What systems do I have in place today (or what systems do I need to re-evaluate) in order to reach my desired outcomes?)
a. Prioritize: While you can have virtually anything you want, you can’t have everything you want.
b. Don’t confuse Outcomes with desires.
c. Decide what you really want in life by reconciling your goals and your desires.
d. Don’t mistake the trappings of success for success itself (shiny care syndrome).
e. Never rule out an outcome because you think it’s unattainable.
f. Remember that great expectations create great capabilities.
g. Almost nothing can stop you from succeeding if you have flexibility and self-accountability.
h. Knowing how to deal well with your setbacks is as important as knowing how to move forward.
i. Depend on systems-setting more than goal- setting because systems make goals happen.
2.2 Identify and don’t tolerate problems.
(Is there a problem that I'm not addressing that is blocking me from potential improvement? How do I know if I am viewing this problem objectively?)
a. View painful problems as potential improvements that are screaming at you.Think of pain as a game to solve a problem that will increase your overall strength and personal evolution.
b. Don’t avoid confronting problems because they are rooted in harsh realities that are unpleasant to look at.
c. See problems as they are but not worse than they are.
d. Be specific in identifying your problems.
e. Don’t mistake a cause of a problem with the real problem.
f. Distinguish big problems from small ones.
g. Once you identify a problem, don’t tolerate it.
2.3 Diagnose problems to get to their root causes.
(Is what I am concerned about the root cause of the problem or just the problem?)
a. Focus on the “what is” before deciding “what to do about it.”
b. Distinguish proximate causes from root causes.
c. Recognize that knowing what someone (including you) is like will tell you what you can expect from them.
d. Know your own profile and those that you are working with to the best of your ability.
2.4 Design a plan.
(What is my plan and HOW do I know it will work?)
a. Go back before you go forward.
b. Think about your problem as a set of outcomes produced by a machine.
c. Remember that there are typically many paths to achieving your outcome so don’t get caught up in one if it doesn’t work correctly.
d. Think of your plan as being like a movie script in that you visualize who will do what through time.
e. Write down your plan for everyone to see and to measure your progress against via clear key performace indicators (KPI).
f. Recognize that it doesn’t take a lot of time to design a good plan.
2.5 Push through to completion.
(What habits are helping me get to my desired outcome and which ones do I need to get rid of? How can I make sure I stay the course?)
a. Great planners who don’t execute their plans go nowhere.
b. Have good work habits because they are vastly underrated.
c. Establish clear metrics and KPIs to make certain that you are following your plan.
d. You haven’t tried everything until you have tried what works.
2.6 Remember that weaknesses don’t matter if you find solutions.
(What am I doing to deal with my weaknesses so that it doesn't stand in the way of my success?)
a. Look at the patterns of your mistakes and identify at which step in the 5-Step Process you typically fail.
b. Everyone has at least one big thing that stands in the way of their success; find yours and deal with it.
2.7 Understand your own and others’ mental maps and humility.
3. Be Radically Open-Minded
3.1 Recognize your two barriers.
(Do I operate consciously out of awareness of the barriers in my mind that may be hindering me to see things as they really are?)
a. Understand your ego barrier.
b. Your two “yous” fight to control you.
c. Understand your blind spot barrier.
3.2 Practice radical open-mindedness.
(Am I truly open minded, committed to coming up with the best answer and willing to "be wrong?")
a. Sincerely believe that you might not know the best possible path and recognize that your ability to deal well with “not
knowing” is more important than whatever it is you do know.
b. Recognize that decision making is a two-step process: First take in all the relevant information, then decide.
c. Don’t worry about looking good; worry about achieving your goal.
d. Realize that you can’t put out without taking in.
e. Recognize that to gain the perspective that comes from seeing things through another’s eyes, you must suspend
judgment for a time—only by empathizing can you properly evaluate another point of view.
f. Remember that you’re looking for the best answer, not simply the best answer that you can come up with yourself.
g. Be clear on whether you are arguing or seeking to understand, and think about which is most appropriate based on your and others’ believability.
3.3 Appreciate the art of thoughtful disagreement.
3.4 Triangulate your view with believable people who are willing to disagree.
a. Plan for the worst-case scenario to make it as good as possible.
3.5 Recognize the signs of closed-mindedness and open-mindedness that you should watch out for.
3.6 Understand how you can become radically open-minded.
(What are you doing today to practice being open-minded and how can your opinions become more evidence-based?)
a. Regularly use pain as your guide toward quality reflection.
b. Make being open-minded a habit.
c. Get to know your blind spots.
d. If a number of different believable people say you are doing something wrong and you are the only one who doesn’t see it that way, assume that you are probably biased.
e. Meditate to create headspace and heart-centeredness.
f. Be evidence-based and encourage others to be the same.
g. Do everything in your power to help others also be open-minded.
h. Use evidence-based decision-making tools.
i. Know when it’s best to stop fighting and have faith in your decision-making process.
4. Understand That People Are Wired Very Differently
4.1 Understand the power that comes from knowing how you and others are wired.
(Am I using my attributes to help me or to hurt me? How am I helping others apply their attributes in their favor?)
a. We are born with attributes that can both help us and hurt us, depending on their application.
4.2 Meaningful work and meaningful relationships aren’t just nice things we chose for ourselves—they are genetically programmed into us.
(How am I making this day meaningful in my work and my relationships?)
4.3 Understand the great brain battles and how to control them to get what “you” want.
(What is my strategy to deal with my brain and it's incessant chatter in order to consistently show up in a peak state?)
a. Realize that the conscious mind is in a battle with the subconscious mind.
b. Know that the most constant struggle is between feeling and thinking due to conflicting beliefs.
c. Reconcile your feelings and your thinking by evaluating your life blueprint and life conditions and changing one of the two.
d. Choose your habits well.
e. Train your “lower-level you” with kindness and persistence to build the right habits.
f. Understand the differences between right-brained and left-brained thinking.
g. Understand how much the brain can and cannot change.
h. Learn how to manage your state to stay in "peak" state and show up 100% every day
4.4 Find out what you and others are like.
(Am I taking the time to fully understand myself and others?)
a. Introversion vs. extroversion.
b. Intuiting vs. sensing.
c. Thinking vs. feeling.
d. Planning vs. perceiving.
e. Creators vs. refiners vs. advancers vs. executors vs. flexors.
f. Focusing on tasks vs. focusing on goals.
g. WPI characteristics.
h. Shapers are people who can go from visualization to actualization.
4.5 Getting the right people in the right roles, in the right systems in support of your Outcomes is the key to succeeding at whatever you choose to accomplish.
(What role do I need to occupy to make the most out of my abilities? What are the strengths of the people around me and how can I place them most effectively?)
a. Manage yourself and orchestrate others to get what you want.
5. Learn How to Make Decisions Effectively
5.1 Recognize that,
(What do I do to make sure that I am well informed and in peak mental state when I am making a decision?)
1) the biggest threat to good decision making is destructive emotions, and
2) decision making is a two-step process (first learning and then deciding).
5.2 Synthesize the situation at hand.
(Is the advice I am listening to believable? How can I connect the pieces of advice I'm getting with a possible solution while removing myself from the noise of the situation?)
a. One of the most important decisions you can make is who you ask questions of. Heed only the advice of “believable” people who have varied and consistent accomplishment in the subject at hand.
b. Don’t believe everything you hear.
c. Everything looks bigger up close. Get a helicopter view.
d. New is overvalued relative to great.
e. Don’t over squeeze dots.
f. Think of parallel solutions in different situations and look for creative solutions.
5.3 Synthesize the situation through time.
(How can I take more imperfect action on the key 20% of activities that will get me the most results?)
a. Keep in mind both the rates of change and the levels of things, and the relationships between them.
b. Be imprecise.
c. Remember the 80/20 Rule and know what the key 20 percent is.
d. Be an imperfectionist.
5.4 Navigate levels effectively.
a. Use the terms “above the line” and “below the line” to establish which level a conversation is on.
b. Remember that decisions need to be made at the appropriate level, but they should also be consistent across levels.
5.5 Logic, reason, and common sense are your best tools for synthesizing reality and understanding what to do about it.
5.6 Make your decisions as expected value calculations.
(What do I need to do to raise the probability of making the right decision?)
a. Raising the probability of being right is valuable no matter what your probability of being right already is.
b. Knowing when not to bet is as important as knowing what bets are probably worth making.
c. The best choices are the ones that have more pros than cons, not those that don’t have any cons at all.
d. Use algorithm to assist in determining value calculations.
5.7 Prioritize by weighing the value of additional information against the cost of not deciding.
(What systems must I have in place so that I make sure and deal with the "musts" first?)
a. All of your “must-dos” must be above the bar before you do your “like-to-dos.”
b. Chances are you won’t have time to deal with the unimportant things, which is better than not having
time to deal with the important things.
c. Don’t mistake possibilities for probabilities.