First Principles

Over the years, with inspiration from many sources, I have come up with a number of “first principles” or beliefs that guide me on a daily basis. I would like to share these with you here.

Update 2021-11-13: Grouped the principles by a call-to-action, and softened the language to eliminate absolutes.

Follow Your Dreams

1. Every day of life merits planning and purpose. Plan goals for every year, week, and day; work backwards from your goals.

2. Perfection is an enemy; it is driven by others’ perception of you. Embrace chaos; always operate in ‘draft’ mode.

Experience Life In Color

1. Life is about adding value, but it is also about adventure. Do things that scare you; don’t give other people the power to assign value to your work.

2. Emotions are messy, but they also add a lot to life. Let down your guard sooner; get out of your head and say what’s going on in your mind.

Don’t Get Stuck

1. Prioritizing means intentionally dropping the less important stuff. Identify things to drop and shut them down, even if it seems hard to let go.

2. Resistance to action is triggered by fear of failure. Avoid fear of failure by breaking down large goals into smaller, manageable, chunks.

3. Even the smallest chunk of progress keeps the momentum going. Start now to record and track your progress; don’t set the bar unrealistically high.

Do Stuff & Learn

1. Ideas are useless until they are experimentally tested. Build systems; record experimental results in your journal, learn from what you create.

2. Minimalism is your friend. Opt for simple, bare tools to get the job done; eschew sophisticated features.

3. Making mistakes presents opportunities to learn from them. Don’t stick to the known paths, explore new avenues, break stuff to see what happens.