I define success as a human being as having a set of well-grounded invariants, always doing your best to strive for them, but continuously challenging them. A successful human being will fight to defend their invariants with all the energy they have until the precise moment they are presented with a better alternative.
This page has some core tenets, followed by a number of invariants that go into more detail in all aspects of life. The 10 core invariants are the most important, while the more specific ones are situational, and better for consulting when the time comes (ie before a date, or after an argument with a loved one).
Table of Contents
- to deny my illness any purchase on my quality of life. this is achieved by constant exercise, healthy eating, and hard work. it will pay off.
- to truly master my chosen craft, whether that is through a business, engineering, or something else.
- to become financially independent and retire early.
- to see the world and experience all it has to offer.
- to build a happy family.
- you are complacent. your ability to see the joy in anything makes it very easy to come up with reasons why this is good enough. you can do better.
- you are subconsciously agreeable. being stoic is not being a pushover, and you should not try to agree with everyone.
- you struggle to build attachment. you can quickly make good friends, are funny, respectable, but rarely miss people or worry if you are away from them. always be aware of (and compensate for) this.
The core values are the main loop of a human being. They embody what a strong and healthy human should always have (consciously or sub-consciously) in the back of their mind. They are to be read every day.
Be Present. Look around. Appreciate what is around you. Notice the architecture. Complement her on her necklace. Stop to watch the cat. Favour observations over perceptions. Escape from reality is a bad thing.
Evolve. Learn from your mistakes. Publicize them. Mistakes can be mitigated, but refusing to learn from them is irreparable. Favour rapid trial and error. Discomfort yields evolution. Avoid people with an aversion to change.
Take Responsibility. Excuses suspend disbelief and leads you into a false sense of security. Spinning up elaborate explanations retroactively in your head is never a good sign.
Practice Humility. You are not the best. At anything. Seek out those who are. Find people that understand and counter your weaknesses. Have them be honest with you in beating them. Seek new perspectives.
Act, Don’t React. No good comes from reaction. Separate yourself from the problem and consider it in isolation. Act when the time is right. Decision making has two disjoint steps; observe, then decide.
Be Antifragile. Great people become stronger in times of distress. Remain level-headed. Be the anchor. Be intolerant to problems, find their root cause, build a plan to address it, and push through.
Be Radically Open Minded. Say yes to new things. Kill your ego. Know what you don’t know. Evidence first.
Look for the good. Assume good intentions. Find the silver lining.
Prioritise. You can have anything you want, but not everything you want.
Make as much change as possible in the areas you can influence. Completely ignore the areas you can’t. Finish everything you start. Put your phone down.
These invariants apply to both platonic and romantic relationships. They provide a framework to lead an honest, social, and respected lifestyle. Successful relationships are built on respect, attraction, or both.
- stay honest and transparent
- be more invested in yourself than in others’ opinions of yourself. when you derive your self-worth from others, they will notice. if you work on yourself, people will come.
- money, looks, and fame don’t matter. but they help. in order:
- maintain hygiene
- keep a strong posture
- smile more
- lift weights (and eat well)
- be confident in yourself:
- look people in the eyes
- remove the filter and say whatever comes to mind (focus instead on healthy thoughts)
- unabashedly do the things you enjoy (as long as it does not bother others)
- make (well-informed) opinions and respectfully vocalize them in detail.
- speak louder, slower, more passionately, and minimize speech disfluency.
- use your chest voice when you speak. as a rule you should be able to pinch your nose and have no change in tonality.
- elicit emotion:
- genuinely complement people
- laugh, and make people laugh
- open up your vulnerabilities
- be physical:
- interact with people
- take up space
- move around
- be unapologetically enthusiastic about your passions.
- be polarizing. most people respond positively, and those who don’t aren’t compatible.
- be genuine. do not compromise who you are. if you are having fun, people will come.
- do not try to impress. set standards, stick to them.
- people are receptive, neutral, or unreceptive. you’ll never sway the unreceptive.
- friction describes how easy it is to make people receptive. people with vastly differing interests, lifestyle, and values are remarkably harder to attract.
- understand abundance. there is always another fish.
- approach immediately. the longer you wait the harder it is.
- alcohol is a crutch.
- strike while the iron is hot.
- attractive people get placed on a pedestal, just treat them normally.
- rejection is good for you. eventually rejection will mean nothing.
- put things behind you. when we ‘drop something’, make sure it’s done, or it will pile up and there is no recovery. small problems that linger will grow.
- address problems early, for much the same reasons.
- refuse to accept disrespect. above all else is respect. if someone is consistently disrespectful, end it immediately.
- it is always us versus the problem. someone who doesn’t understand that is not worth your time.
- do not leave on bad terms. it will only make things worse.
- “winning” the argument has a cost: your relationship. one is important, one is not.
These invariants apply to your personal life. They govern how you spend your time, what you prioritise, and how you should act.
Look to the patterns of those things that affect you in order to understand the cause-effect relationships that drive them and to learn principles for dealing with them effectively.
- take charge in your interests. become a leader in the things you enjoy.
- be generous with your time and wisdom. as soon as you are motivated only by the reward, you have lost.
- dance. all the time. in public. bob your head to the music. it always makes you feel better, and the confidence boost is invaluable.
- satisfice, don’t optimize. when you find a solution that meets your minimum criteria, immediately go for it. optimizing will only leave you wanting what you don’t have.
- surround yourself with honest and passionate people.
- knowledge is like velcro - install lots of “hooks” for new information to stick to, and to allow associations to happen. be curious. read widely, outside your comfort zone.
- take as many risks as possible, but only the ones you know you can handle