Principles


An important part of our living experience is building intuition around how the world works and how to navigate it better. This evolving list of principles is something I try to keep in mind.

  • Do asymmetric things that have a low downside and high upside. Ask people out on dates, write cold emails, angel invest.
  • Be specific—in communication, setting goals, and negotiations.
  • Don’t assume. Communicate.
  • We become the people we spend the most amount of time with. Choose them wisely.
  • Remember and imbibe Jordan Peterson’s first (Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back) and third (Make Friends With People Who Want The Best For You) rule.
  • Seek and be friends with at least a few people who call things as they are. Being blunt is a rare quality.
  • Be blunt with the people you care about the most. People need it and appreciate it (if not in real-time, in hindsight).
  • Your mental and emotional well-being is directly correlated to the kind of content you consume. Curate social media feeds. Unfollow, mute and block people liberally.
  • Cease all contact with ex-lovers. This is the kind of asymmetric situation (low upside, high downside) to avoid.
  • Let people tell you no, don’t make the decision for them.
  • Default to saying no for almost everything—people, projects, activities. Until it is a ‘hell yes’, it should be a no.
  • Learn to make normal conversations better.
  • Energy is a critical input for progress. Improve your baseline energy levels—get sunlight, take cold showers, sleep for 7 hours, lift, run, eat a high protein diet (with calorie-dense carbs, unsaturated fats, variety of vitamins and minerals).
  • Double down on your strengths. It takes far more effort to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from being good to excellent.
  • Being above-average at things you consider your weaknesses is a tremendous competitive advantage. Seek uncomfortable situations. Become better.
  • Pay for apps and web services.
  • Pay premiums for things that you spend a considerable amount of time using—mattress, chair, phone, laptop, headphones.
  • There are too many things that matter and you have to take a stab at deciding what matters most, inevitably neglecting many other things that matter too. Prioritize ruthlessly.
  • Always optimise for leverage.
  • Outcomes are more important than input and output.
  • Learn the art and science of pattern-matching. In most things that you do in life, someone has already done it the way you want it to and shared it with the world. Copy, paste and execute. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
  • Don’t just do things that can be accomplished through pattern-matching. Create.
  • Set timers—helps in being mindful of the time and boosts productivity.
  • You have to endure an optimal amount of hassle to get things done. Set limits and be okay with it.
  • A lot of people, careers, and ways of thinking/living are simply a wrong fit for you. Doesn’t make these things inherently bad or sub-par.
  • Find fitment for yourself in the people you are with and the things that you do. Be mindful of the urge to fit into what the society thinks is desirable.
  • Think independently. Don’t blindly follow advice. Account for your situation and context.