Very little if any ideas on this website are really mine or indeed new. They are old ideas. We have to rescue certain valuable information from the past and utilise it to position ourselves in preparation for the future. There are three core principles that I use to provide a lens on how to view the world.
- Personal Responsibility (Purpose)
- Delayed Gratification (Maturity)
- Incremental Progression (Learning)
Personal Responsibility (Purpose)
The focus of personal responsibility is to look inward in order to improve your life. The world is a chaotic place and it is very easy to get overwhelmed and blame external forces for your own particular circumstances. Instead of getting into the morality of external forces – We choose to use that time to productively focus on the things we can do to improve our situation.
For example, when I was on a minimum wage job I moaned and complained that the minimum wage should be higher. A bunch of us would sit there at lunch and whinge about the government, the company in which I worked and on and on. There was a quiet guy there who sat with us (let’s call him Jimmy) and pleasantly smiled along with us. Shortly after he told us he’d been made manager in another branch. After he had left, the lunch crowd called him a kiss ass wanker and soon returned to whingeing about the company and the government.
Over the years, I began to notice the trend that the men and women who were like Jimmy were the ones who got promotions and better paid jobs elsewhere. Jimmy and others like them choose Personal Responsibility as the correct course of action to improve their lives instead of laying blame at forces of which they have no tangible control. Instead of focusing on external forces over which he had no control, he turned up everyday at the right time without fail. He wasn’t a kiss ass but he was always polite with everyone from senior management to the cleaners. He worked hard and also took part in non compulsory training (we had all avoided). These choice of personal responsibility gave Jimmy Purpose and therefore the motivation to endure the early mornings, the late evenings from taking part in extra training courses and dreadful commutes. When you have purpose, you haven’t got time to whinge.
Delayed Gratification (Maturity)
One of the traits that separates humans from other animals is the ability to imagine the future. When you can imagine the future you can effectively create future version of yourself in future circumstances. This sounds simple but it is an extraordinarily useful tool for life. It gives gives you the ability to choose between your current self and your future self. It is this ability which gave rise to exploration and the advance of early humans across the globe. We had to imagine the next valley or the next water source to propel us forward into the unknown. It is why the concept of sacrifice is so important in many cultures.
There is a classic scientific study which gives a small child the ability to have one marshmallow now or wait for a more marshmallows in 15 minute. The child is left in the room alone with the marshmallow to see if they have the patience to wait 15 minutes and forego one marshmallow. In other words they have to make a choice that looks like this:
Current Self with 1 Marshmallow – V – Future Self with 2 Marshmallows.
This is not a criticism of the person that chooses Current Self. The intention is to highlight that when you choose Future Self this enables the development of the ability to Plan. Planning leads to the ability to learn by incremental progression.
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Incremental Progression (Learning)
You are bad at everything you start doing. Not because you are incompetent but simply because you haven’t done it before. Some things you will stumble through and some things you may pick up easily enough.
When you visualise your Future Self being good in a particular domain – Maybe you see a fitter, stronger, generous, wealthy person – This enables you to break down the skills required to develop and become that better version of You.
For example, I once needed to drop a weight of 30 kilos (66lbs or 4 1/2 stone). I knew this couldn’t be done overnight so I broke it down into smaller achievable pieces over time. Small continuing achievable successes is what provides the motivation over the long haul to achieve great things. This method works across many domains from reducing debt, to building wealth, to learning languages, to building muscle.
Read blog posts on Incremental Progression