Last year I read Ray Dalio’s famous guide to life and business, called “Principles”. Inspired by it, I made my own list of life principles. Then I forgot about it, in the tornado that once again shook me loose from the life I knew. Recently, I rediscovered it: all the conscious and subconscious rules I play by, neatly on two pages of a notebook. Some of these have traveled through life with me for more than twenty years, while others are just a couple of years old. Hopefully some of them will inspire and help you, as they have me, in living better, intentionally.
- Search for a quiet inner joy, not happiness.
Happiness brings an equal measure of grief. Happiness comes from outside; joy from the inside.
- Live each day by your highest sense of right.
Choose how you live each day, consciously. Do you do the right things? Do you do things right? Live today. Don’t merely exist.
- Recognize that the essence of fear is nothing more but an inborn will to stay alive.
Use fear to find out your priorities as well as your weaknesses.
- Stand up straight.
Physically as well as mentally. For yourself and for others.
- Make a life plan. Revise it at least every two years.
Get it down to “next 10 years”, “next 5 years”, “next year”, and “this year”. Do not treat your life plan like a New Year’s resolution.
- Prioritize sleep like you prioritize work. You get paid in life currency.
Do not underestimate the impact of years of brain-fog on your life – especially on the last third.
- Use food as fuel.
That said, also use food as enjoyment.
- Practice yoga, every day.
If not asana (yoga on the mat), then meditation, mindfulness, or compassion for yourself and others.
- Never stop learning.
Include constant education in your life plan.
- Never stop exploring.
Travel, try, learn, take a chance, bend your mind.
- Pick your battles.
Let the other ones go, like water off a bird’s back.
- When confronting an irritated or frustrated person, calm yourself with compassion for their struggle.
It may not be obvious or even justifiable, but the person is reacting to something which causes them pain and upset. Remembering this helps to steer clear from participating in their drama and getting the outcome you want, even if it is just to walk away calmly.
- Remember to say you’re sorry.
If you don’t, your children will need to learn this all on their own, and much too late.
- Quoting Ray Dalio: struggle well.
Learn from your mistakes.
(Copenhagen, Denmark; September 2020)