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Make Your Own Rules For Life

Søren Kierkegaard

“Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward.”

Søren Kierkegaard

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Philosophy of life
Philosophy of life

A philosophy of life means a mental framework for understanding how the world works and how you fit into it. It would include how you decide what is good and bad, what you mean wit...

Three groups of philosophy of life
  • The True North Group: You have a compass for life and know which direction is the correct way. When asked about your philosophy of life, you could explain it immediately and concisely.
  • The Dusty Compass Group: You have a compass for directing your life, but you don't always know how to use it. You may have a loosely organized philosophy but may not use it to filter and direct your experience.
  • The Inbox Group: You may not have a compass. Life may be about something, but you don't know. Your approach is to deal with life the way you manage email: You are just directing your attention to whatever lands in your inbox.
The True North group

The difference between the members of these three groups is internal. You won't be able to spot them instantly.

In general, it is better to live as a member of the True North group, provided you remain humble, curious, and open to the possibility you may be wrong.

Jack Mezirow

"By far the most significant learning experience in adulthood involves critical self-reflection - reassessin..."

Jack Mezirow
3 areas of life to clarify

You need to have absolute clarity over 3 fundamental facts:

  • Your goals (the destination)
  • Your current situation (your coordinates)
  • The path that connects both of them (the route).

A very simple, but crucial principle: if you don’t know where you are, you can never reach the place where you want to be.

The world of the status quo bias

Making an alternative choice is hard because we are neurologically wired to favor the default solution, even if it brings suboptimal results.

As the complexity of a decision increases, so does our tendency to stick with the answer we know.

Defining excuses

Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about people, events, and circumstances. 

They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to postpone taking action or simpl...

The Fear Trap

We make excuses for the following key reasons:

  • Fear of Failure
  • Fear of Embarrassment
  • Fear of Success
  • Fear of Change
  • Fear of Uncertainty
  • Fear of Responsibility
  • Fear of Making Mistakes
  • Perceived lack of confidence or resources
To successfully eliminate excuses we must first consider removing all traces of fear. Fear paralyzes us and prevents forward movement in all areas of our lives.
'There’s just not enough time'
This excuse means a lack of desire, focus, discipline, and direction.
It suggests the wrong priorities or time management problems. It could also indicate laziness or procrastination.