The 11 Maxims You Should Live By

[Last updated 27th August 2019]

maxims What is a maxim, you ask?

Simple. It’s a rule for you to live by.

Why do you need maxims?

Because, without them you live an undisciplined life, no consistency….A life not governed by any maxim will lead…nowhere. No direction.

Below are 11 maxims that have helped me a lot–and hopefully will also help you towards a better life.

#1 Absorb what is useful; Disregard that which is useless

The first time I ever encountered a maxim was when I started practicing Jeet Kune Do at age 14. At the end of each practice we would recite a bunch of maxims.

Out of all the maxims I heard, this was the only one that I truly “absorbed”. Thankfully!

Jeet Kune Do is founded on this very maxim. JDK is the father of modern MMA. Bruce Lee created it by taking all the best stuff from all other martial arts, mixing it together, and creating his own style. The traditional martial artists got angry at him for doing it. But no one remembers any of their names, while Bruce Lee will forever be known as a famous pioneer.

This maxim has impacted my life in a big way ever since.

I am a “thief” — and I’m proud of it. That’s what this article is about!

I steal ideas from the most brilliant minds. You should do the same.

#2 Your brain is constantly being rewired

And it’s all on you to make sure that it’s being wired optimally. Any time you’re having a negative thought, that’s another repetition given to a corresponding neural pathway. This makes it stronger, and more likely for you to think negatively again.

Is that really what you want?

It can be hard to stop thinking negative things (because you get trapped in an emotional feedback loop) but the faster you can stop, the better.

By reminding myself of this maxim, I have eliminated most of my negative thinking. I’m not the most positive person, but I am never negative. Nothing good comes of it.

#3 Time is short, you will die soon

At first it’s a scary thing to think about. Then it becomes very liberating.

If you knew your life was going to end 3 months from now, you would probably do things differently. For starters, you would spend more time around your best (True) friends, and cut off those who only drain you.

You might quit your job, quit university. You might spend more time alone, getting in touch with your emotions. You might read more books (out of curiosity for life–what’s it all about?)

#4 Your life is the sum of the narratives you tell yourselfmaxims2

All personal experience is subjective. What is “real”? You can hang out with a friend and look at a rock and both of you can agree that you’re seeing a rock. But that’s not real reality. That’s consensus reality.

The point is: Your life is what you think it is. You can choose to interpret things in an empowering way, or in a negative way (leaving you tired and sad). Why not choose the positive way?

Life is short, anyway.

You have a certain amount of control (no one knows how much) over the subjective experience known as your life. But it increases with practice–by experience, metacognition and meditation.

Just how much control do you have? [footnote] Not as much as LOA-true believers believe, but (according to neuroscience) still a lot. [/footnote]

All is but opinion.

Your internal dialogue, and how you interpret the things that happen to you, is mostly up to you. You can mentally manipulate it in your favor. Much of Stoicism is devoted to this pursuit.

You can either listen to a disempowering narrative, or you choose to craft a narrative where you are the champion–and build a legacy.

But what if others disagree?

Well, who are others to decide what is real or not?

What authority do they have behind their claims?

No one has a claim on your reality, except you.

So, I say: Choose an epic narrative.

Choose to have an inner monologue that is positive and pumps you up.

#5 This too shall pass

Heraclitus, the philosopher, said that change is the only constant.

Remind yourself of this often. Especially when you’re suffering, complaining, or struggling!

It will pass–and good will come of it.

Suffering = strength.

It’s a good thing to suffer early in life, because it makes you stronger later in life. When you see others being weak, it’s only thanks to your having already been weak in that area earlier than them.

#6 Life is about making choices

Time is the most valuable resource. At second place comes willpower.

Napoleon Bonaparte said:

Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious than being able to decide…

Willpower, which comes from the prefrontal cortex, is the “finite” resource used to concentrate and make decisions. On an average day, you have no more than 3-4 hours of raw concentration in you. So make the best of it.

Prioritize better.

As Napoleon asserted, most people don’t like making decisions. So they waste their best time each day on “deciding” which TV show to watch. But they don’t use it to build a business, build a body, or educate themselves.

#7 There is a “law” of compounding: Follow it

Just as there is power in compound interest, there is also power in compound experience. It’s not an exact law though, because there’s a difference between compound interest (money) and that of compound experience.

The difference is that it takes forever for compound interest to start working for the normal person…

Let’s say you save $500 on a monthly basis — which you absolutely can if you’re frugal — and invest it in the stock market or a savings account….

Well, then your investment appreciates by 5% on a yearly basis. If you keep this up for 20 years you’ll end up with $207.729.

[Note: You can check this out yourself to make it more concrete…]

And while that sounds like a nice chunk of cash, it’s not really as great as it sounds…. Because you’re probably not taking into account that:

1. You’re locking in this capital for 20 damn years (!), and in doing so probably missing a bunch of better investment opportunities.

2. In 20 years from now, your hefty sum of $207.729 won’t have the same purchasing power as it does today (inflation). Given how much money is being printed nowadays, it’s hard to know how much that amount of money will be worth in the future.

3. The stock market, or your savings account, could potentially crash at any time. Like when Lehman Brothers collapsed and initiated the financial crisis of 2008. If that happens, you’ll be set back a long way, maybe minus 30-100%. If that happens, all your previously compounded interest goes out the window.

So, compound interest is awesome in theory. But not always awesome in practice. At least not if you’re an average Joe starting from scratch hoping to get rich from it in 20+ years.

–Experience, however, is safer. It is fully subject to the “law” of compounding:

1. You will learn more, and quicker, if you know a ton of stuff. This is because learning happens mainly by creating associations between memories. If you already have a ton of associations that relate to something, you’ll memorize it almost instantly. This is why you should study HISTORY.

2. If you already have a lot of experience in an area, your brain is primed to see patterns that others cannot see. If you’ve got a lot of experience with business you can see potential business opportunities more easily. If you’re good at picking up girls you can see opportunities for doing that where others don’t. If you’re good at fighting you can easily find openings to strike your opponent. Whatever. It all comes down to PRACTICE–so practice that as soon as you can to get a head-start!

3. The more you know, the more often you get “inspired”. Einstein said:

A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way, but intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.

The more things you learn, the more easily you’ll get flashes of insight. This is a direct result of your brain finding a “fit” between a bunch of already existing associations. Your subconscious is always at work, trying to fit together different pieces of information to see how they mesh with each other.

Given this “law” of compound experience, it becomes important to learn as many things as possible early in life.

#8 A consistent process produces success

The process is the cause behind the effect. All positive results stem from a great process over a long period of time. Like your daily routine, for example.

Michael Jordan didn’t become a legendary basket ball player overnight. He did it by putting in thousands of hours practicing day in an day out, while fine-tuning his framework for learning.

The same can be said of just about any successful person. They’re successful because they’ve created a daily routine that fit their desired outcome, and stuck to it consistently while eliminating what doesn’t work, and doing more of what works well, which comes with experience.

My physique was at best slightly above average 3 years ago. Now it’s elite. How did that happen?

Ain’t nothing to it but hardcore consistency in diet, sleep, and an efficient pre-workout ritual. Now I don’t even think about it. I just take time to do it–because I found what works for me and continue doing it.

#9 Do today what others won’t do so that tomorrow you can do what others cannot.

Plain and simple: put in the work now and sacrifice for a couple of years, and reap the rewards of it later. While others were sleeping, you were hustling, you entered the Gauntlet and got through it. Now who’s lucky?

Not you. You made the conscious decision to live like no one else would. You took the path least traveled. You stuck to the process you thought out.

The hard life is tough…But only for a while. Then you adapt and it’s normal.

–Then it pays off big.

The easy life isn’t challenging at all, and that’s why it pays off in direct proportion–not at all.

#10 Rise to the work of man

This is an abbreviation of a quote from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations Use it to remind yourself that you’re not supposed to snooze, sleep in, or be lazy. Nature has fixed a certain amount of sleep for you, don’t overextend it.

Bees, horses, and insects fulfill their purpose in nature without effort. Humans are confused: What is my purpose?

I don’t know… But I do know the following: your purpose is not found or fulfilled lying in your bed, sleeping away the day.


I don’t have an eleventh maxim.

But check out the comment section below for MANY more maxims from other smart people.


  1. On #7: Good call on the horseshit of “compound interest”. But it’s even worse than that. No stable, passive investment available to the small investor will ever pay enough to beat inflation, let alone earn a net. (You will, however, have to pay taxes on your “earnings”). To get a real return, you have to put in continuous effort. Lazy in = Losses out.

  2. I have one which is a mix of #7-10 of yours: “Every sustained action brings results.”
    Once you not merely believe this, but KNOW it’s true, it’s hard to stop working.

    • True, sustained action is the only way to get results. It doesn’t guarantee results, however, at least not the results you want. Consider the sunk cost fallacy – it applies to sustained effort, too. Sometimes it’s better to give up on X and start on Y. A common example is marriage – men try to stick it out when the best thing to do is to suck it up and cut their losses. That also invokes Commaxim 7 – men lose sight of what they want from marriage, if they ever had a clear idea in the first place. Gradually it turns from “pussy and positive reinforcement every day” to “it’s safer to put up with the bitch than fight for custody.” So, don’t be afraid to fold ’em when you have a losing hand – but always take a fresh hand on the next deal.

      • I don’t know how it works in your neighborhood, but I swore “till death do us part”, so sustained effort definitely applies here.
        And “sustained” doesn’t mean “stupid”. I can change my tactics, but I always make the effor.

  3. Abgrund’s Ten Commaxims:

    1. *Do it yourself.* Don’t rely on other people to do things for you if you can help it. When you do things yourself, you not only save money and avoid dependence; you learn skills and build confidence. People tell me all the time, “I wish I knew how to do that,” or they ask, “how did you learn about that?” I learned things the hard way, by seeking out experts and asking them questions, by searching out books and reading them, and above all by trying things over and over until I got them right. These days any chump can learn a million tasks with very little effort from youtube and google. When some dumbass asks me “where did you learn that?” I feel like busting him in the mouth, but usually I just shrug.

    2. *Never let a woman cloud your judgment.* Women are creatures of emotion, not reason, and they mostly have their own interests at heart, not yours. They are however good at manipulating men to get what they (women) think they want. Always keep a clear mind and ignore the wishes and opinions of women. Most women have poor judgment in their own lives, why would you let them make choices about yours? Above all, don’t get into a one-sided commitment where you can only lose; i.e. /do not marry/. In general, don’t let other people cloud your judgment, not even if they represent 90% of your friends or 90% of society. Half of them are women and the rest are idiots. “Hell is other people” (Sartre). Ignore them.

    3. *Anything worth doing is difficult.* Ordinary people follow the path of least effort. If something is easy to do, there will always be a surplus of people doing it, hence no demand for it. Only those who accomplish difficult things can rise above the ordinary. Paltry deeds will not earn the respect of others or build self-confidence. Meeting real challenges will do both. Concomitantly, anything worth doing is worth doing right. A half-assed effort is worse than none at all.

    4. *Feelings are never a substitute for knowledge.* Have you ever met an idiot who said utterly stupid things about something they knew nothing of? Of course you have. Chances are you *are* that idiot, on some subjects. People make all kinds of bad decisions, and say all kinds of retarded things, based on strong opinions that have never seen the light of reason. If you believe something, you had better know /why/ you believe it, or keep it out of your decision process and Shut the Fuck Up about it.

    5. *Don’t be a flake.* Practice what you preach, honor your word, stick to your commitments, say what you mean. Judge yourself as you judge others; don’t do things you would call someone else an asshole for doing. Follow consistent principles, be the same person, in every part of life. Those principles need not be endorsed by society, but they should be discernible and constant. No one respects a two-faced, erratic, unreliable, backstabbing hypocrite – least of all himself.

    6. *Accept help gracefully.* This includes help that you don’t need and crappy advice that you won’t follow. If you have to go to someone for help or advice, show them appropriate gratitude, don’t be a mooch. If people offer to help you on their own initiative, they may think you owe them something. Don’t let them manipulate you but if possible make them feel appreciated, even if their “help” was a burden. When feasible, say, “Yes, thank you,” rather than, “No, thank you.” Use the Benjamin Franklin Effect.

    7. *Keep your eye on the ball.* This applies on every scale, from a single conversation to a life-long ambition. Know the *one* main thing that you are trying to achieve and concentrate your effort toward that goal. Don’t shift your focus without a reason, don’t get diverted to minor or unclear goals, avoid letting your time get siphoned off into purposeless activities. There are always plenty of distractions: some are accidents of life, some come from the deliberate interference of other people, some come from your own subconscious, some come from the temptation to pursue other opportunities because the grass always looks greener somewhere else. By keeping your main goal in mind, you can recognize and resist all such distractions.

    8. *Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.* Notwithstanding #7, there are times when you need to abandon a particular goal or a particular path. Maybe your original object turns out to be impossible, or not as desirable as you had thought, or is no longer relevant, or you’ve found a better opportunity. Any decision to abandon a goal should be based on fact and reason, not emotion or impulse, and you should know what else you are going to pursue instead. The worst thing you can do is to vacillate between alternatives; when you do change course, make it stick. Don’t get caught drunk-dialing your ex, or begging for your old job back.

    9. *Fear is for other people.* Examine the cause of your fear, and measure it against fact and reason. Most often, fear is irrational: confront it and defy it, make your decision only when your fear has lost its power. Never let fear dictate your actions – fear is the mindkiller, the little death that brings total obliteration.

    10. *Shut the fuck up.* I know a few of you have heard me say (or, have read me write?) this before. There are infinite situations in life where (as any lawyer will tell you) the worst thing to do is to open your goddam mouth. Words are like bullets, you can’t take them back. Before you say anything, before you pull that trigger, you should take aim – you should always know *why* you are talking. There is rarely any valid reason for bragging, or for insults, or for spreading gossip. The best time to Shut the Fuck Up is when you feel pressure to speak but aren’t sure what you should say. Then you are likely to babble like a jackass. You can use this against other people, too – if you want to know what someone else is hiding, put them on the spot and then Shut the Fuck Up. 90% of the time they will spill their beans. To be silent is golden.

    May life grant me…
    Serenity to accept the consequences of my choices,
    Courage to ignore what other people think,
    and Wisdom to Shut the Fuck Up.

    • Fuckin’ A.

      My maxim, stolen from Viktor Frankl: Live as if you were living for the second time, and has acted wrongly the first time.

      Ludvig where is this weeks post??

    • I’m not Christian, but Amen to that… There go my next 10 articles down the drain.

      On #1 (Do it yourself):
      –This is something I think some people take too far — me included. At such points it gets important to ask yourself if you’re really getting a high ROI by spending your time doing the thing yourself. Or if you should perhaps outsource, ask a friend, or delegate it to someone else.

      This is also something of a philosophical question. Buckminster Fuller referred to it as “being comprehensivist vs being a specialist”. What is more productive? What gives more happiness? This applies not only to yourself, but also to companies, and society as a whole. I think it could interest you to read some of it if you find the time.

      Nice on #6, the Benjamin Franklin effect. You know I also adhere by that.

      • There is obviously a point at which Doing Things Yourself is impossible, impractical, or unrewarding. Imagine raising your own livestock, sawing your own lumber, milling your own grain, and blacksmithing your own tools. Or providing your own sex… But in general, people tend to overestimate the difficulty of tasks and underestimate the value of Doing Things Themselves.

        Changing your own brake pads, for instance. You may only save eighty dollars each time by doing it yourself, and the first time may take you several hours of research and work, but the second time you can buy the parts and do the job in less time than it would have taken you to drive to the shop and wait on them. You’ve also improved your mechanical skills and learned a little about automobiles.

        In many cases it’s not only cheaper, but /faster/, to Do It Yourself. You can often cook a meal in less time than it would take to drive to a restaurant and wait for service, fix your car before a mechanic would get around to even starting on it, cut your own hair quicker than go to a barber, etc. And often you will do a better job, even if you lack experience and proper tools compared to the professional, because you have an investment in the result and no reason to cheat. If you grow your own vegetables, you know exactly how much pesticide has been used, but do you think the supermarket owner really cares if the “organic” produce has been doused in malathion?

        In the long run, though, the skills, confidence, and broader horizons you build by doing things yourself are sometimes the main payoff – learning outweighs results. Every time you learn to do one thing, you learn a little about other things as well. If you do your own taxes, you learn a little about tax law and accounting. If you fix a leaky faucet, you learn a little about buying plumbing supplies. And you meet people from whom you can learn more in the future.

        The less you Do For Yourself, the less you explore your potential and the more of life is opaque and ineluctable. The more you Do For Yourself the more you are in control; your options and your ability to weigh them are both greater.

        Up to a certain point, it is not even necessary to sacrifice specialization in order to generalize. Driving to the store to buy a new shirt when you could have sewed up the old one in ten minutes is not going to advance you in your specialty, unless you specialize in shopping. It is easy to find people who have neither breadth nor depth, and one can find people who have both breadth and depth, but it is rare to find a person who exhibits one without the other, and such people seem psychologically abnormal – they have some kind of compulsion that makes them an exclusive specialist (or prevents any level of specialization). A degree of breadth is also /necessary/ for depth – if a man is ignorant of history, he cannot excel at economics; if he is ignorant of psychology, he cannot excel at medicine. I think the basic division is not between specialists and generalists, but between learners and non-learners.

        Ultimately, of course – for the learner – some choices must be made between specialization and generalization, and these choices can be difficult. In general (pun intended) I think it is best to generalize as much as practical, in order to have more options. Social pressure is in the opposite direction – it’s more convenient for /other/ people if you are a pigeonholed expert, reliable when needed and otherwise discarded. This should be resisted, but ultimately real success demands specialization – at some point, the options must be drastically narrowed to make any useful progress.

        What is the writing of Buckminster Fuller to which you refer?

      • “if a man is ignorant of history, he cannot excel at economics”

        — That’s true.

        I also agree with you that comprehensivism (doing it yourself) boost self-esteem in a big way.

        Buckminster Fuller — “Everything I Know”. A long-ass audio file you can download on PirateBay or similar sites. Poor quality, but he says a ton of intelligent things, and shares his idea on the history of how things have come to be.

  4. My maxim is the mix of #7,8,9 and 10 of yours: “Every sustained action brings the results.”
    When You don’t believe, but KNOW it, it’s hard to stop working. The bost motivator in the world.

    BTW, I’ve just started a new book about a personal philosophy. I intend to include a few dozen of such maxims, I’ll use some of yours for sure.

  5. “Any time you’re having a negative thought, that’s another repetition given to a corresponding neural pathway. This makes it stronger, and more likely for you to think negatively again.”

    Oh yea, that makes me real paranoid. This is why I’m so scared of you know, going against everything we always talk about.

    Keep the eye on the ball.

  6. Heathenwinds says

    Thank you so much for posting this Ludvig.

    One thing that jumped out at me is the inner monologue part. I’ve always known that being positive is good, but I’ve always been missing out on the “delusionally” part. Tomorrow will probably be the first day that I’m unable to walk because of a workout. I look forward to it.

  7. You talk about the importance of learning as much as possible ASAP in life. But, don’t you think this could easily just be an excuse for sitting around reading things and watching YT tutorials all day long? And end up not doing anything, kind of like you described in your article about talking about goals and losing the motivation. What do you think?

    • Why in hell would you watch a tutorial unless you needed it to perform a task? Just watching random tutorials is retarded, you’ll never remember any of them. When you have spare time for acquiring knowledge, build foundations, don’t chase applications. In other words, instead of watching some video about how to frame in a window, read a book on carpentry.

      Video is very inferior to print for foundational knowledge – the information density is like vacuum compared to lead. Video is useful mainly for highly specific tasks, and even then, print with illustrations is usually better. A free written guide with good pictures may be a lot harder to find than a youtube video, though.

    • Hey Milky,

      Yeah, why watch a tutorial for something you won’t use?

      I see your point though… For a lot of people it’s easy to just get in the habit of consuming information — without putting it to action. That’s definitely a problem. And it’s not what I’m trying to preach here.

  8. Great list of maxims, Ludvig. Number 9 is my favourite and describes a little bit about my life.

    While I’m reading books trying to improve myself, others are playing ping-pong until late night and wake up late the next day. It’s not easy to make myself focus on doing things that are beneficial and meaningful but I know it’s worth it for my future self.

  9. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this brilliant blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

  10. I just wanted to thank you for making your website and book. Your knowledge has played a role in most of the success I’ve experienced over the last two months

  11. “What the mind can conceive and believe it can also achieve”.

    Can’t believe Iam the first to comment on it :p it is from Napoleon Hill. Really powerful

  12. “Change what you can change in your life, arrange yourself with things you cannot change and learn to recognise the difference between those two things”.

    That maxime (I think some German poet came up with it) always reminds me to not be negative about things I cannot change. For example, last week, I lost two tickets for a concert (I had to buy new ones) and my car had a defect. Anyway, I try not to be annoyed about these things as I cannot change them.

    On the other hand, if you can change something you want to: You should go for it!

    • Good quote, Michael.

      I had a similar bullshit event happen to me yesterday. I’d walked a long way to pay for some items, then when I was just at the register, I realized I’d forgot my wallet. Argh. Whatever…

      Lesson: Check small things, like having keys and wallet on you before leaving home.

  13. “Nature knowns no names” – I love this because it helps me stay calm in the face of horrible, tragic shit, and I remember nature isn’t personal, and the bad things that happen in life aren’t some god spiting me or my loves ones, its just nature. Accept and embrace the flow.

  14. I like #3 my friend! Remembering that you’re going to die is a powerful tool.

    Whenever I have to make a big decision, I try to remember that my time is limited. It tunes out all nonsense and points out the important.

    It safed me already from doing lot of unimportant nonsense.

  15. Powerful post my friend! I’ve learned everyone influence, either positive or negative, with those around them. It’s essential to act and think in a way that allows us to positively impact those around us. Great post!

  16. I guess one of my maxims would be: dont heed the majority opinion too much, both in society in general and my social circles. At best it makes you biased, at worst it forces a delusion onto you.

    Some great rules to live by here Ludvig. In particular I think 1, 4, 8 and 9 are absolutely vital. If it’s even possible to differentiate at this point.

    Btw, that email is coming your way soon.

  17. You’re a hustler, I’m sure. Love the Einstein quote. We are but our experiences in life put together. And lying is not your eleventh maxim right? :)

  18. I like number 9. It reminds me of a quote from legendary guitar virtuoso, Steve Vai. It went something like this; ‘When I was a teenager, I stayed in practicing whilst my friends were getting blowjobs. Now I’m a famous guitarist, I get all the blowjobs’,

    As for my maxim – I don’t get too upset when something bad happens because I know it will pass. I also don’t get too carried away with happiness because it too, will pass. The trick for me is to embrace and accept. Life is more enjoyable this way.

  19. Good post, and particularly love the concept of Compound Experience. There’s probably a book in there somewhere….

    I offer someone else’s maxims (Terry Smith, head of Fundsmith) on investing:
    1. Only buy quality companies (maximum of 20, long trading history, mature industries)
    2. Try not to overpay
    3. Do nothing

    In direct contrast to most endeavours, its the last maxim: once you have a stake in a good company, do nothing, which is the hardest one to live by.

  20. #1 – Absorb what is useful; Disregard that which is useless:
    Good point. One thing I noticed about this is how it can greatly reduce potential cognitive dissonance.

    When people buy in to a certain system of beliefs and values — like a specific religion, diet or training regimen — it is because they want to provide structure to their lives. Structure in itself can be a good thing, but what happens when there is interference — for example if milk proves to be beneficial to you even if you want to go full paleo? Cognitive dissonance occurs.

    This is why I try to never put a label on any type of “system” I adhere to. If I encounter a belief that stands in contrast to my current view of the world, I try not to rationalize it away or just ignore it, but rather let it “float” in the periphery of my mind, so that I can use its concept whenever useful. By doing this, there is no need for cognitive dissonance. I have nothing to defend and nothing to prove.

    #2 – Your brain is constantly being rewired:
    I’m keeping this in mind almost all the time. It’s important to apply the “rewiring” even in small things, like choosing the stairs instead of the elevator — not just in doing “important stuff”.

    #3 – Time is short, you will die soon:
    Yes. Important point.

    #4 – Your life is the sum of the narratives you tell yourself:
    Yep. I sometimes catch myself feeling sorry for myself and making up stories that are not necessarily true. Metacognition is a powerful tool to prevent this. Did you read my post on metacognition? I’d love to hear some critique on it, if/when you’ve got the time :D

    #5 – This too shall pass:
    And it will pass faster if you TAKE ACTION!

    #6 – On making choices:
    This one’s quite interesting. In learning to make (good) choices, I do believe there a steep learning curve for the inexperienced (like me). It’s kind of like this: either you make less and less choices and become better at it, or you make more and more choices and become better at it. The first one is unfortunately the norm; to slouch in the sofa and let coincidences make your choices. The second one is less chosen (haha) because as you make a first choice in any given area, you are faced with many more choices, leading to MANY, MANY more choices you have to make — which becomes really hard when you’re not used to making a decision. However, the trade-off is that you are presented to lots of opportunities as well.

    #7 There is a “law” of compounding: Follow it:
    This is why I won’t trust “pension money” to take care of me when I get old. You’ll just save a lot, miss out on a lot, and then not have so much left anyway.

    #8 A consistent process produces success:
    Slow and steady wins the race. Way too many people forget this, me included sometimes.

    #9 Do today what other’s won’t do so that tomorrow you can do what others cannot:
    I remember Tyler from RSD talking about this in his “The Truth About Success” series. He basically hustled his entire 20’s, working his ass off, and now he’s 35 and can “relax a little”. Have you seen (any parts of) the series?

    #10 Rise to the work of man:
    Very good point. Gonna start listening to the audiobook of Meditations.

    Cheers ;)

    • I have the same opinion(s). Fun to see that there are others who think in similar terms.
      Cool site Alexander

    • Hey Alex!

      Read your post & commented on it.

      I have not seen those videos of Tyler from RSD on success.

      “When people buy in to a certain system of beliefs and values — like a specific religion, diet or training regimen — it is because they want to provide structure to their lives.”

      — Definitely. I am constantly surprised by how much people buy into systems. For example, I recently hung out with a dude who’s like 30, massively successful (millionaire + entrepreneur)… And he’s completely bought into weird conspiracy theories (the sort you see on youtube). Super smart guy except for that.

      • Ludvig,

        I’ve answered. Thanks!

        Those videos are long (1-2 hours each, and there are four of them) but very insightful (and entertaining as hell). However, I bet you don’t have too much to gain from them except for a reinforcement of some beliefs, perhaps.

        Haha, that’s funny. Well, everyone has their own little quirks, no matter how smart or successful :D

    • “When people buy in to a certain system of beliefs and values…” This is one of the common logical fallacies. Most people like to let others do their thinking for them, and they get their ideas as package deals based on their trust of the source. If, for example, they have read a little Marx and found him inspiring, they may accept uncritically anything else of Marx’s they read.

      This is basically a child’s approach to knowledge and belief. Bombarded with vast amounts of conflicting information and no basis for discernment, the child resorts to simplifying heuristics: Mommy is right, teacher is right, adults are more believable than children, a group is more believable than one person, written things are more believable than spoken things, etc. This allows the child to adopt functional beliefs instead of being paralyzed by the fact that he’s surrounded by falsehood with no way of identifying the truth. If the boy next door wants to play in the street but Mommy says it’s bad, Mommy is likely to prevail. Little Johnny doesn’t need to read a doctoral thesis on pedestrian fatality rates to make the right decision.

      Unfortunately most people continue this heuristic throughout life. They assimilate the views of their parents, their teachers, their religion, a political party, the media, a favorite writer, etc. wholesale. If these contradict each other, the person follows some other heuristic (like “first come, first believed”) and doesn’t question the other parts of that package. Thus for instance even the adult is utterly convinced that teachers are terribly underpaid, because he heard it for many years as a child from his teachers – and his parents never contradicted it. It never occurs to the vast majority to wonder where they got this idea, or to consider that the source was not exactly impartial. It has become foundational truth because it was packaged along with basic literacy and arithmetic.

      The key component to useful intelligence is not “IQ” or education. It is the ability to break down heuristics like this one.

      • “This is one of the common logical fallacies. Most people…”

        Very insightful and valuable thoughts; thank you for sharing them. It’s almost frightening to see how people are ruled by such heuristics. Also, thank you for teaching me a new word (heuristic).

      • Very well written, Abgrund.

        “Most people like to let others do their thinking for them, and they get their ideas as package deals based on their trust of the source. If, for example, they have read a little Marx and found him inspiring, they may accept uncritically anything else of Marx’s they read.”

        — And this is manipulated by smart politicians and Internet marketers. Throw in the package deal whenever possible. Put a lot of good things in the contact, and sneak in some bullshit you don’t want in fine print.

        “The key component to useful intelligence is not “IQ” or education. It is the ability to break down heuristics like this one.”

        — I agree. That’s what ‘thinking accurately’ means to me. To deliberately set out to identify heuristics and cognitive biases, anticipate how they’ll mess up your thinking, and take protective measures.

    • Good point about #6: decision making is a learned skill. Making the /right/ decision is of course a product of many skills, but being able to make a timely commitment to a definite course of action is itself a skill that can (and should) be learned.

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