Lessons To Self

This document should be amended as you age.

  1. Work to implement your values in all you do. Act towards the things you value—agency, generosity, empathy, kindness, energy, efficacy, avoiding excess, acceptance, sustainability, interestingness, etc.

  2. Do what you say you will. The best way to start working in this direction is being very, very careful about what you say “yes” to. Be liberal and gentle with saying “no”.

  3. Touch it once. Do not split tasks into multiple parts unnecessarily. Do not defer. “Do easy” and keep the task contained within itself as best you can.

  4. Seek out primary sources, and be wary of secondary sources (even newspapers). Don’t read the science digest, read the science. If you can’t understand a primary source, this is a great learning opportunity. Study what you need to understand.

  5. Aim for an actively balanced life. Don’t find balance by standing static in the middle of everything—instead, hit the extremes and let them stabilize each other. (Some exceptions apply.)

  6. Always be sowing seeds. Start conversations, relationships, projects. Ask yourself leading questions and learn new things relentlessly. Keep that beginner’s attitude. This nurtures a system of support and interest arounds you.

  7. Have a borrowing mindset. Treat things and people with kindness and agility. Stay liquid and don’t buy until you’ve tried. Don’t get something until you’ll need it, and celebrate what you have.

  8. Take good care of your body and mind. They need to last your entire life. This also requires taking care of the space you inhabit—remember to clean and tidy, and be conscious of your media diet. Get enough sleep. Eat enough good food. This is not a place for extremes, contrary to #5.

  9. Appreciate everything as if it were a flower. Its life span is finite. It is beautiful regardless. Let it go.

  10. Invest in entropy. Work towards antifragility. A fairly minimal lifestyle assists in this. This also requires establishing systems that make decisions for you, and encourage you to live well.

  11. Regularly reflect and reflect-through-action. Look at yourself, check yourself, then adjust. Synthesis comes through doing; do not over-think. Encourage experimental living, as it nurtures acting on reflection. Use your life as n=1. (This requires travel, unplugging, and newness).

  12. The thoughts you have, actions you take, people you talk to, and culture you immerse yourself in make permanent marks on you and your identities. Your experiences and thoughts are objects of their own right, and deserve attention.

  13. You are a product of immeasurable privilege. Use your time, energy, and money to learn, educate, and act to the benefit of those without excess.

  14. Recognize the value in habits. More than explicit habits, consistency is key to making effects. Build patterns that work to your strengths and weaknesses. Note the cost of context-switching: block your time.

  15. Do stuff with your friends. That’s what you have them for. Ask for help! Go to things, or start them. Entertain questions. Generate energy.