These are distilled down aphorisms in various domains. Make specific sense to me. A lot of them require explanation. Most verified from first principles. Not telling anyone what to do. No one knows what to do. These are reminders for myself.

They are a way of abstracting ‘ways of living’ into bitesized pithy reminders.

Will continue to add to this list and remove/revise as I change my mind. These are a couple I’ve taken off the top of my head.

Money and Wealth

  • You want to be rich and anonymous. Not poor and famous
  • Assets > Expenses
  • Compound interest is 8th wonder of the world
  • Keep a budget.
  • Don’t fall into lifestyle inflation / upgrading. Living below your means holds a freedom those who don’t can’t fathom
  • Time is non renewable.
  • Trade money for time and experiences.
  • You need very little to survive
  • Don’t play status games
  • Watch your desires. Don’t impulse buy. Hedonic treadmill

Communication

  • Simplicity > Complexity
  • If you can’t explain it to a 5 year old, you don’t really understand
  • Understanding > Memorisation
  • If you have nothing to say. Be silent
  • Be curious. Ask questions.
  • Don’t force learning. Learn when you are into it.
  • When people give you unwarranted advice, it is a reflection of their desires
  • Praise specifically, criticise generally
  • Don’t give advice unless it’s asked for. No-one likes being preached to. It gives the idea that you understand better’ (which you don’t)
  • Ask other people for advice

Nutrition and Exercise

  • Nutrition and exercise have huge impact physically and mentally. Overwhelming evidence. Few rules:
  • Don’t eat processed food
  • Eat food, mostly plants, not too much
  • Eat some meat, fish, not too much
  • Avoid seed oils
  • Lift weights
  • Nutrition > ‘Diet’

Modern Day Problems

  • Abundance of information. Information overload
  • You have a limited bandwidth
  • Don’t consume news. It has become entertainment. Not evolved to be constantly switched on worrying about the troubles in distant parts of the globe
  • As with junk food, you have junk information. Don’t read junk
  • Use social media judiciously

Learning

  • Reading books and information is a superpower. Most people don’t read. Therefore find it hard to learn
  • Every problem you have faced, much smarter people have written down
  • Any person can learn from experience. Better to learn from the experience of others too
  • Be into it. Don’t force. Curiosity is the driver
  • Doing > Reading > Watching
  • Reason from first principles. Chef rather than Cook in domains that are important to you

Habits

  • We are habitual creatures
  • Every intention, thought, action is born out of habit
  • Unconscious habitual processes can cause harm
  • Examples of habits : exercise, nutrition, outlook on life, peace, reading, creativity, your emotional disposition
  • Do it every day.
  • Motivation is overrated. Habit is underrated
  • Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world
  • Have something that keeps you fit, something that makes you money and something that keeps you creative

Mental Models

  • ()

Life

  • Be honest. Then you have nothing to remember.
  • Even white lies. Lying is more prevalent than one thinks. Deeply harmful.
  • Temper honesty with kindness
  • Observe your thoughts and processes.
  • Meditation is a way to transcend thought
  • Reflection and introspection (e.g through journalling) is a way to create adaptive thoughts/stories.
  • Use both meditation and reflection.
  • Kind > Smart

Time

  • Psychological time is an illusion
  • Just thoughts about the past or the future being projected into the present
  • Literally the only moment that exists it the present.
  • All else is just projected into the present
  • It is possible to be present and also plan for the future.
  • Being present is about being aware of the mind in each moment.

Identity

  • Identifying with any sect/tradition/teacher is the start of unawareness
  • We go round creating identities and cling to them e.g. I am a doctor/lawyer/, I am ugly/smart/stupid/funny/ I’m Hindu/Christian/Jew etc ‘I am an unchanging entity’
  • Without realising it is all illusory. A story we tell ourselves.
  • Then when the ‘image’ is not congruent with reality. You are hurt. The image is not reality
  • The self is just an internal model.
  • The illusory nature of the self can be seen through.

Science

  • Science and ‘Meditation/Introspection’ are the two sides of the same coin
  • Science is an exploration of the physical world through observation
  • Meditation/Spirituality is an exploration of the internal world through observation
  • Both non -dogmatic
  • Both require no ‘a priori belief structures’
  • Both require a sceptical but curious mind
  • Spirituality is sadly misunderstood, confused with religion or ‘mysticism’.
  • What is spirituality? : observe your mind

Jealously, Comparison and the Rat Race

  • We all admire people who ‘march to their own drum’
  • What this means is ‘internal validation > external validation
  • Comparison is the thief of joy
  • Jealously disappears when one is playing against an internal scorecard
  • Jealously : would you swap 100% your life with the other person? No
  • It is no measure of sanity to be well adjusted to a sick society (paraphrasing)
  • It all goes to zero in the end.
  • Desire is suffering. Striving for the sake of accumulation is madness
  • Enjoy the process rather than striving for the outcome

Relationships

  • Quality > quantity
  • Core values have to match up. Then all the small idiosyncrasies and differences don’t matter
  • You react to an image of the other person that you have created, rather than reacting to the person themselves
  • Empty your expectations and images.
  • Love and attachment are different.
  • Attachment is reacting to an image of the other person. It is expecting them to conform to this image, as a non changing entity
  • Love is unconditional. Reacting to reality
  • Don’t give advice, unless it’s asked for. No-one likes being told what to do
  • When you tell others what to do, its more a reflection of your own desires
  • When you don’t hold any images, all judgement ceases

Regret

  • Top regrets of the old
  • “I wish I didn’t work so much”
  • “I wish I didn’t conform to others expectations”
  • “I wish I spent more time cultivating relationships”
  • Keep these in mind.

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