The only real test of intelligence is if you get what you want out of life.

Naval Ravikant

once i realized i had failed the test above, i got serious about making changes

27 years of upholding limiting beliefs - about the world, myself, what i deserve, and what i’m capable of - left me feeling like i wasn’t in on some essential secret. a secret that made existing enjoyable for others

but not for me.

climbing out of this has been endlessly rewarding. it has brought me closer to my family, to my coworkers, to my friends, to joy, to Truth, and to my destiny.

in the process i’ve learned a few things. i will share some of the most salient with you here

these principles individually might not resonate with you. in fact, many of these are just direct responses to bad personal habits. that is ok. my intention is to share a state of mind with you - the state of examining life, asking more of it, and figuring out how to get results.

0 “love is engendered through the act of caring”

when i heard alison gopnik say ☝ on “on being” with krista tippett, so much clicked for me

i understood why friendships and relationships had faltered

why i didn’t care for certain aspects of my job

why i felt disconnected from some family members.

so i started caring.

love is the most powerful state of being.

it can cause unlimited amounts of energy, connectedness, and possibility.

through this i generated so much love and happiness that my life quickly became unrecognizable.

beginning to volunteer was a huge part of this for me. i am so grateful for having learned the power of love - and how to get it through caring.

always look for opportunities and ways to care.

call your grandma

1 always update your processes

absolutely everything about life is dynamic and changing

if you don’t have the mental models to handle that, circumstances or competition will catch up to you and do you in

get ahead of this by adopting a practice of updating the way you do things.

have you tried reading first thing in the morning? how about after you work out? your sweet spot will always be in flux, but if you’re ready to take that on without attachments to a single way of doing things, you won’t miss a beat

you’ve tried yoga, but when was the last time you did a HIIT workout? can you fast for a few days?

if you are set on one way of doing things, any deviation will shock you

and anyone who finds a better way will best you.

more importantly, if you compound the benefits of changes, you will constantly be improving faster than before

you become exponential

(the best way to do this is to always have new inputs. talk to a coach. read lots of books. ask for mentorship. listen to podcasts)

2 “don’t criticize, condemn, or complain”

this is from “how to win friends and influence people” by dale carnegie (one of the best + most practical books around).

this concept caused a massive leap in my life. it took me from being very ineffective - and frustrated - with people to being able to cause amazing things in my communities. not the least of which is bringing my family much closer together and actually causing the developments i wanted to see in my parents lives

the insight behind this is that once someone hears something that challenges them they immediately shut down. at this point, they’re looking for how you’re wrong and they’re right

every time you criticize, condemn, or complain you are actually committing to continuing the situation that caused this feeling.

you will not change someone’s heart or mind like this

all you accomplish is hearing yourself say out loud something you don’t like

and that is ok! but if you want something to change, find a way to communicate about it that doesn’t have that limitation

3 have self-esteem come from abilities to learn, to love, and to inspire

and develop these skills.

good sources of self-esteem are qualities that anyone can always develop

less robust sources of self-esteem are things where comparisons can shake your confidence (eg i am smart, good looking, funny)

everyone can always learn to learn better - learn to love better - and learn to inspire and to lead better

this coursera course on how to learn seems to get a lot of love. “limitless” by jim kwik helped me a lot.

for leading, i would encourage anyone to look into landmark education.

4 be active and engaged - physically and mentally

one particularly inspiring podcast regarding health and fitness was episode 660 of dave asprey’s bulletproof radio featuring robert hamilton owens.

this man is 68 and ran 7 marathons (in 7 continents) in 7 days

this man set out to prove that he could be as fit at 70 as he was as 27

and he succeeded.

a huge lesson i learned from this was his mentality around training: he subscribes to a practice where heavy breathing/panting/complaining is off limits - even sitting or collapsing to breathe. he takes this further - he is so present in his exercise that he doesn’t even listen to music during marathons!

it seemed to me that owens' mentality was such that he wants every ounce of attention focused on what he is doing

i found in my own life that being present and active physically makes exercise all the more easy. your nervous system takes its cues from your conscious thoughts. don’t trick yourself into giving up or slowing down up by communicating to your body that what you’re doing is hard.

this goes hand in hand with mental engagement. in meetings, take notes. listen. visualize everything. when people tell you their names, do the work to memorize them. same when you hear dates. write things down. rinse and repeat.

5 value your word

we create reality with our words

don’t take that lightly.

write down your promises to others. do your best to keep them.

hold others to the same standard.

6 don’t make things about you

or “find ways to bring conversations back to things that people actually care about - like themselves and their needs”

our deepest human need is to be seen by other people

—Brené Brown

if you become someone who sees others (and what they care about) you will be rewarded

principles 4 and 5 of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” are “be a good listener - encourage others to talk about themselves” and “talk in terms of the other person’s interests”

a good corollary to this would be:

the things you do are only impressive to you - don’t over share

something i struggle with in general is getting too excited and maybe sharing too much or too early

showing restraint until i have results - or until i know something i’ve learned will be useful to someone else - makes my communications richer and more intentional

and it just makes you more likeable to not come off as a showoff

7 be concrete and specific

if you care about people understanding your thoughts then communicate for them. tell them exactly what you mean in language that is easy to grasp and reiterate

8 refrain from speaking as though you’re right - you’re often wrong!

i’ve changed my mind so much about such drastic things in my life. when you communicate like you have the truth - or that you know better - there can be an implicit criticism (see 2 “don’t criticize, condemn, or complain”) that the listener hears. always speak in such a way that leaves you open to change, transformation, and possibility.