My own principles for a happy and fulfilled life

These are some of the ideas and principles I found useful in life so far. Things I want to remember. Condensed into a list so that they are easily useable for me. I can only recommend compiling your list of principles like this one. Pay attention to the things you think are important to your life. Pick and choose from my list if you feel like it, but also distill your experiences and learnings, the things that are specifically important to you.

That will help to clarify your values and distill and extract what you have learned over your life into a checklist. Which you can then use to reason about decisions you have to make, or as a reminder of what is awesome in life. A tool to make you happy in dire times.

I, personally, come back here regularly. Simply to check in with my brain from the past, and refresh what I have already figured out. So that I don't forget. I want to keep these insights in my brain, because I feel like if they stick there and remain, I'll be a better person, living a better, more fulfilled life.

If you compile a similar list to this please let me know. The idea is to spread them similar to /now or /needlestack pages. Something like /principles should be a thing that exists on the internet. This is heavily inspired by Ray Dalio's book Principles, which you should totally go buy a copy and read if you haven't yet.

Ok now without further ado, here's my list:

  1. Always fight the monkey brain. If you feel this little bit of pain just before doing an activity, this urge to procrastinate, you are not allowed to postpone this activity. Ever. Feeling this pain should serve as the definitive trigger to do the activity. Right at that moment, you have to fight against an old part of your brain that is evolutionarily useful but leads to bad outcomes today. So go. Fight.

  2. Spend a lot of time learning new things. The world is marvelous and extremely complex. Curiosity is your compass and knowing the world is extremely exhilarating. Never forget that you know almost nothing and that there is an infinity of unknown uncharted terrain left for you to explore.

  3. Don't forget your friends and the people close to you. Spend time with them. The ones you care for, who also care for you, are the most important part of your life.

  4. Go outside often. More often. And then more often than that.

  5. Do sports. HIIT. Push yourself to your limits when training.

  6. Enjoy nature and food, the small things of your biology can make you happy.

  7. Sleep plenty. And then some more.

  8. Eat healthy - intermittent fasting, most calories from protein, little carb-rich stuff (especially no sugar/things that spike blood glucose levels), drink green tea, don't mix fat with carbs, eat fats in the morning carbs towards the evening, avoid processed foods, not too many nuts, care about the quality of fats. Remember, lean, green, marine. Enough fish, not too many eggs, some good meat, and lots of vegetables.

  9. Be grateful. Notice when people do something cool or awesome and tell them that they rock! Praise people for being awesome, because they deserve being praised.

  10. Exercise skills regularly so they do not atrophy. Piano, Painting, Programming, Writing, Thinking. Parcour. Photography.

  11. Recognize addictions and lost control. Determine their impacts and then stop them. The sooner you do it, the less time you lose. Nothing is as bad as losing control over what you can do with your time. Addiction is a way to lose that control.

  12. Our universe is a stressful place and to err, fail and be hostile towards others is sadly, very very human. Be aware of that. Smile, greet and appreciate, where you can. If something bad happens to you, attribute it to bad luck instead of malice and understand that other people are only human and err the same way you do.

  13. If sad/bogged down, think about the crazy fact of how wonderful and marvelous physical reality really is. The complexity that governs even the most "simple" entities interacting with each other. And then the absurd scale of it all. Then, try to comprehend the utter meaninglessness of it all. As well as the beauty and grandiosity of it all. Remember the pale blue dot picture, the shortness of life, how tiny a slice of time our lives make up in relation to the universe, the blind card magician, the connectedness of mathematics, and the wonderous nature of physics. Also, remember the atrocities and cruelty humans and by extension, you, are capable of and put them into perspective to what you have to endure.

  14. Think about the fact that you have so freaking much and appreciate that you are alive, (hopefully) healthy, probably not starving or dying of thirst, and that you have clothes, an education and access to vast amounts of technology... That in principle you live a life that by comparison is a lot better than the lives of over 99.99% of humans that have ever walked upon the earth. So don't forget, even if things are bad - they could be a lot worse.

  15. Remember that there is Boogie Woogie, Blues and Jazz. And that music in general can change your mood and make you move your feet. Just dwell on the fact that vibrating air has the power to change how you feel.

  16. See that while things are great, they can always be improved. Especially when looking at them in the long or very long-term future. Even though you should be grateful, don't be content. Strive.

  17. Ask yourself how you can make things better in the long-term and then do the actions necessary to get closer to the better future you envision. Figure out what "better in the long run" actually means to you.

  18. Stick with things long enough to see how far you can go and don't endlessly switch between the newest fads of yours. Do not lose the forest for all the trees and get lost in choices, becoming overwhelmed and bogged down by the knowledge that spending time, means you lose the opportunity to do anything else with that time.

  19. Be aware of your biases, flaws and some aspects of your terrible nature as a human. Know that you know nothing and that even the things you think you know are probably wrong. Remember that there is the Dunning Kruger Effect, and a multitude of other biases. And that all of them cloud your thinking and tend to lead to overvaluing your opinion without even noticing it. Being humble and intellectually honest, means being aware of these shortcomings and correcting for them in the opposite way.

  20. Try to move closer to the Truth by pulling at and updating your beliefs continually. To do so, search for more facts and opinions that are conflicting with yours. Try to disprove your ideas instead of proving them and watch and see if they hold. Think of new ones. Iterate.

  21. Know that other people want to be and are as important as you are. Not only important to themselves but also important to you. Without others, you can't do shit. The marvels of our society work in the background, without us noticing. They don't work because of you, but because of other people that you do not even know, much less care about. Let that sink in.

  22. Other people can be mightily different from you and therefore understanding others is a lot less common and way, way harder than you think. Misunderstanding is the default and making yourself understood properly as well as understanding others properly is one of the hardest things to do. But the rewards of getting that right are enormous.

  23. Remember that predicting the future from past data is often impossibly hard and eventually bound to fail in this messy chaotic world. There are black swans. So tread with the necessary caution and handle risks accordingly.

  24. And: Don't Panic. For those who don't know it, this is from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. One of the most hilarious books ever to be written.