7 Rules To Do Everything Better
Rules are your principles. If you have good principles, you’ll become a good person.
In Ray Dalio’s best-selling book Principles he outlines:
“Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behavior that gets you what you want out of life.”
From there, Dalio begins to outline a wide variety of principles that he uses in his daily life. There are hundreds of them crammed into the book to the point it can be difficult to keep up.
While that is excessive, the overall sentiment is appealing.
Principles are what created Dalio’s behaviour and where he ended up in his life therefore our own principles can dictate our own.
When it comes to life, there is no one set of clear-cut rules or principles that lead us to the path of success. Rather it’s our own interpretations of it that stem from our life experiences.
I’m not as successful as Ray Dalio, but over the past seven years of writing on self-improvement, I’ve come to understand what are some solid principles to have in having a better life and being a better person.
- Stress & Resting Provides Growth
Growing your body, your mind, or your skills it’s important that you push the limits of your ability and follow that up with recovery and reflection.
When I first started writing in 2015, my writing was in shambles. It was scattered, I rambled and focused heavily on myself and my life. Nobody cared and I don’t blame them for it.
Those results persisted as I continued to write into 2016 and 2017 with no improvement whatsoever. What changed everything and I started to see improvement was the fact I looked back at my writing for once and began editing it.
I started to think my words through as I write and spent more time thinking about what to write and how to write about it.
My self-experimentation is a process that decades of research have been poured into as well. In performance sports, that same process is crucial for being stronger and faster. In cognitive science, that process is used to getting smarter and more creative.
- Focus On The Process, Not The Results
I admire Gary Vaynerchuk’s approach about enjoying the journey rather than rushing to get to the results. That overall sentiment has stuck with me for years now and as a result it’s helped me to not stress out over external outcomes.
Even as my finances are in a precarious situation, I am still putting in the effort in getting things done.
Early in my career as a writer, I was fixated on those end results. I thought that if I wrote every day that someday I’d make thousands of dollars in a few years.
When I published my first book part of me wished I would be the next big-time author and be set for life.
These days I’ve learned those things don’t matter as much. Instead, it’s what you’re focusing on right now that matters. And of course, there is research that shows that concentrating on the path results in better performance and mental health.
- Be Humble
Humility is something that gets dropped by successful individuals after some time and as a result, their growth gets stunted. When you don’t have an open mind, you close yourself off from opportunities to learn and grow as a human being.
Your ego and beliefs get in the way.
For example, a few days ago I got a letter in the mail from someone within our building. This letter is religious but also political sounding. The note encouraged me (and my roommate) to go to a website and learn how the Bible can answer many of life’s questions.
It goes to show how much I’ve changed as my first instinct would be to just throw this letter out and chalk it up to religious extremism. But instead of that, I’ve actually become rather curious about these neighbours and want to get to know them more and about this letter.
They even wrote the letter in cursive.
Knowledge is always evolving and advancing and one of the big issues with self-improvement — ironically enough — is that it doesn’t feel like it is at all. People are still clinging to the mysticism behind the Law of Attraction or they’re pushing misinformation under the guise of advice like in mindfulness.
In the end, to be a better person you need to be humble and have an open mind.
- Accepting Ignorance
My self-improvement brand is now starting to sell stickers and initially, we’re focusing on LGBTQ-themed stickers. We’ve brainstormed some ideas to put emphasis on the colours of each community (starting off with the typical rainbow colours) as well as generic designs.
Overall the stickers are slight variations from what you would typically see for pride stickers.
The reason is simple. My team and I are single and straight and have never marketed products like this ever nor to this specific community.
So why are we doing this?
Because as the past few principles above mentioned, it’s essential to be pushing yourself in various directions, and to be humble and open-minded.
All of this is reinforced by allowing yourself to accept that you’re ignorant about the intricate details of something. Accepting to be vulnerable.
Because by going out there and trying something while communicating you are open to feedback, people are more inclined to propose more ideas to the situation and consider things you might’ve missed.
It also creates curiosity and a willingness to be talking to other people about these issues. To get a better grasp of what problems communities have.
Making mistakes and failing from time to time happens. There will be things that you miss and can do better for next time. That’s okay. That’s what growing is all about.
- Focus On The Small And Consistent Steps To Get The Bigger Results
What I learned quickly is that habits build upon each other. To make any significant change, it’s smarter to do so gradually and over a long period of time.
Standford researcher BJ Fogg’s behaviour model, something gets done based on the person’s motivation and the ability to complete the given task.
If you regularly overshoot on the ability side, people are likely to be discouraged and burn out. However, if you increase the challenge of it week by week, the task will seem easier to do.
In other words, getting those small and consistent victories in lead to larger results.
- Make Harder Things Easier To Do
It took me years to finally drag myself into a gym and to actually do something about my health. How I managed to do that was I went for a walk with my roommate and I went into the gym. Signed up for a membership and intended to hire a personal trainer not long after.
What that single action taught me was that using willpower is overrated. You can’t rely on self-control in order to design your ideal world.
In the end, the only way to make any seemingly difficult task easier is to make the environment easier to do the thing you want to do.
Having issues eating sweets? Remove them from the house and buy more fruit.
Trouble getting to the gym? Get some simple exercise equipment at home and place them in obvious spots.
Distracted by your phone often? Remove it from your desk or your room.
Every challenge that you are facing in your life can be worked around and made into something simpler to handle. All it takes is the actions to make it happen.
- Experience The Joy
For this last rule, it is crazy but also makes sense when you consider the people out there. In this fast-paced society, people are conditioned to focus on progress and their own goals and visions.
And looking at the world today, it’s clear why that is so problematic.
You have CEOs touting how customer satisfaction is their top priority and yet they haven’t served customers in years.
They have an entire show devoted to the disparity between the CEOs and the people who serve customers called Undercover Boss.
And in the self-improvement sphere, you have people relying on the same gimmicks that made them so popular and brush aside real issues.
In the end, these individuals lack the capacity to be present and to pause and celebrate milestones. They are so fixated on one thing that they neglect other aspects of their life. And that clearly has consequences.
Of course, it’s difficult to maintain balance over everything in your life. However, what can make that easier is to allow those opportunities to experience joy. Whenever milestones are hit, make a big deal over it. When you accomplish an even bigger goal, bask in the moment.
Allow yourself to be present when you are needed and to ensure that areas of your life are getting the attention they need.
The rules that I live by are nothing fancy, but they have helped to shape me into who I am today. It’s given me the mentality that there is no top human out there and to understand that we have flaws, make mistakes, have biases, and that we can’t do everything we want the first time around.
And that’s okay.
Self-improvement and being better aren’t about striving to be the best person out there. In fact, the “best person” is someone who recognizes they’re far from the best and keeps working on it.
CONTRIBUTED BY Eric S Burdon
Read More: Five Things Disciplined People Do.