The Rules – An On-going List for Your Own Sanity

  1. Everything is optional.

    1. Sure, the consequences of not doing something may be severe. Doesn’t mean it’s not optional
    2. Resist definitively applying identity – to yourself, as well as to others. These declarations are self-limiting, persist longer than is useful or accurate, can be difficult to unwind, and is a barrier in-between two multi-faceted people.
    3. Not everything needs to happen. Not everything needs to happen right now.
    4. Reacting is a choice.
    5. Don’t read the comments.
    6. Paying attention to the  news is optional.
    7. Between two choices, choose the one that most minimizes future resentment
  2. Mise en place
    1. Put things where you expect them to be.
    2. Prepare the environment for your success – before you start.
    3. Wash your bowl – the cleaning is a kindness to future you.
  3. Do one thing at a time.
    1. Then, do the next obvious thing.
    2. Schedule what’s next.
    3. If you’re unsure, the easiest thing to do is what’s on next your calendar.
  4. There’s a complete and complex universe hidden behind every single thing. Be amazed, appreciative, and curious.
  5. If you have an opportunity to travel – take it. Do not cancel.
  6. Learn to deal constructively with yourself. You are, and will always be, your biggest problem.
    1. The bulk of the resistance is in your head. Everything is much more malleable, the range of acceptable solutions to a given problem is far wider, than it may first appear.
    2. Always start eating before you start drinking.
    3. Nothing good ever happens after 10pm.
      The hours of sleep before midnight are worth more than those after.
    4. Sleep on it. Only in a marriage proposal should you respond immediately. Everything else can wait 8 hours. (credit Alan Weiss).
  7. You can get on someone’s schedule in two weeks. Or right this very minute.
  8. Order the fish tacos. Always.
  9. Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
  10. Everything you experience is the past.
    Appreciate that everything has earlier origins, and started significantly smaller, than you realize (credit Tyler Cowen).
  11. The map is not the territory – Alfred Korzybski. The tools and artifacts we use to organize and understand the world are just that. They are not the world and they are not the tools for creating new worlds.
  12. If you’re in your office – you’re not doing your most important work.
  13. If it has a deadline – it’s not your most important work.
  14. Use your words. We’re all too wrapped up in our own minds to read yours.
  15. Ask for what you want and be willing to hear No. Additionally, if you don’t like an offer respond with a proposal that fits your preference.
  16. Opportunities to fulfill your dreams always arrive before you’re ready.
  17. Success is not being interrupted.
  18. If you want to see how valuable something is – stop doing it.
  19. Be open to breaking your streak. The opposite of consistency is addiction.
  20. Never ever move with IKEA furniture.
  21. Right now, do one thing to make yourself 8% happier, calmer, and more comfortable. Do it.
  22. Relocate for more broad, more diverse, long-term opportunities – do not move for an individual job or an individual person. Related, people don’t move when things are going well.
  23. The worst possible version of a thing will be wildly popular.
  24. If you have a problem, Be more specific in defining it. Smaller more specific problems are easier to solve than big undefined ones.
  25. Relentlessly prune bullshit

  • Follow your breath.
  • Really commit to making the most valuable mess you can.
  • If you’re going to do something more than once – automate it or set it as a recurring commitment on your calendar or both.
  • Love yourself more (then more, and more…). Your capacity to love someone else is limited by your capacity to love yourself.
  • Start the way you want to finish.
  • Ask for what you want – and be specific.
  • Take ownership.
  • If the question has even come to mind then, yes, you should quit your job. Discomfort is not security. 
  • It’s OK to have wronged. It’s not OK to lash-out, contradict, or act ignorant when confronted. Just apologize and find a way to make it better.
  • Commit. Prepare. Pre-prepare.
  • First, try. Then, take a step back. Then, actually try.
  • Success is requiring less.
  • Make fewer, more significant, decisions.
  • Long game wins.
  • Everything you need to get started is already here.
  • Pick up the tab & leave a generous tip.
  • Make the implicit explicit
  • Speed rarely matters more than persistence.
  • Savor your obsessions.