1. Don’t think about the world in black and white. Think in cause and effect.
You practically can’t judge ANYTHING to be good or bad. First reason is because everything has two sides. One you might consider as “good”, another you might consider as “bad.” Second reason is that you would actually need to live the same life in kind of a parallel universe to say if something was finally “good” or “bad”. Just consider the ‘Butterfly’ effect. Remember math class in school? At some point I had to solve an equation with lots of variables like x, y and z in it. How did you do that? Get rid of as many variables as possible. Something holds you back of being happy because it’s “bad”? Don’t let it do that! Take yourself out of the equation. If you stop judging it, you don’t need to be unhappy anymore.
2. Be present. Be aware. Take chances.
Scientists said that to determine a childs intelligence, they test how aware it is of the world it walks in. How aware are you, how present are you, how interested are you? And I am not talking about living in the future or that usual stuff. I am talking about if you are here right in the moment! Are you HERE? Are you fully in the present? Do you FOCUS?
People (me included) tend to drift in their brains. When they talk to somebody they are not actively listening. They are already planning what to say next. When they are driving to work they are already thinking about what they are going to start with. When they start work they are thinking about where to go for lunch. We need to practice real presence. Be right in the moment. Don’t stick with the moment. Moment’s gone – the next one’s right there. Of course, reflecting on the past or planning the future or your goals has its place, too. The Amish have a great proverb for that, too: “There’s a time to smell the roses, but the time is not now.”
Being more present will benefit you in many ways:
- You will suddenly feel like you have much more time. Before I started this I was practically living from weekend to weekend. During the week, I was already dreaming about the weekends. I literally LOST the time there. Time is relative. Stephen Hawking says that. When you are not there in the moment. You will not LIVE this time. As you only have 52 weekends during a year, a year was over insanely fast during this time. Now that I’m living very present and very conscious, I am sometimes not sure if that sunday was one or two weeks ago. A month feels like a year compared to my former life. Time is actually running just as fast. But there’s more life in it.
- “It’s not the strongest nor the most intelligent to survive. It’s the most adaptable.” Charles Darwin said that. Means: The speed you can adapt and evolve is the speed that you will get whatever you want out of life. Awareness and presence help you to notice things you missed until now. Thinking in cause and effect and not judging them gives you the opportunity to evolve and adapt to the world.
- You will be able to take chances. In each and every second you have dozens of options that bring you closer to or take you away from the life you want. Through judging people oftentimes tend to focus on the things that hold them back and are therefore missing other opportunities.
3. Embrace the truth wherever you find it
Or “Seek the thruth even if it proves you wrong” like Jeff Bezos, founder of amazon.com, likes to put it. Despite the laws of physics and the legislation he questioned everything while building up amazon.com. You will find that way of thinking in many business related concepts like lean startup, too. Things don’t work because you think they work this way. They only work if things really work this way. Customers don’t necessarily like a design because you liked it. They will only like it if the design meets their values and perception.
4. Be humble enough to say: ‘I don’t have the answers.’
Michael Jordan says in his biography that his most important attribute was to listen. Confucius says: “The answer is not within”. Humans aren’t born with immanent knowledge about everything. Our single capability is to learn. In a changing environment like nowadays, someone born with inherent knowledge about hunting animals wouldn’t get anywhere. So evolution thought bigger and gave us the ability to learn everything we need. Although we can find some answers about ourselfs within us, most answers aren’t. Most people get depressed because they are going inwards. And inwards is nothing new. Happiness and dopamine comes by doing new stuff, mastering challenges. This is how the brain is wired. The most outstanding people meanwhile were the most humble ones. Abraham Lincoln said he learnt from every person he met. You either learn a new way to do something or not to do something, to be or not to be. Bill Gates takes reading holidays where he reads books. Sam Walton (founder of walmart, no 1 of fortune global 500) spent a night in a brazilian jail because he was crouching around the floor of a local supermarket to find out if they knew something he didn’t know. They thought he was crazy and brought him into jail. So listen to the people who already learnt through trial and error. Life is too short to learn the hard way.
Now let’s check your humility score (1 – not at all, 10 – always / daily):
How often do you read or listen to audiobooks?
How much Mentors you have? How much do you listen to them?
How much are you studying and learning from competitors?
(Pablo Picasso: “Mediocre artists copy, great artists steal.”)
How much money are you investing or have you been investing on growing?
Sum up your points and devide them through 4. For the good life, you will probably need to work your way up to at least 7 or 8.
5. Be a smart servant
We will dive deeper into how to be a smart servant later but for now, always concentrate on giving before expecting to receive anything.
He who serves more, has more.
That’s it for now, the next letter will be revealed in the next LifeLetter. The LifeLetters are exactly 1 day apart from each other. We want to make sure you go through step by step and you have a little bit of time to comprehend the knowledge. Like the Dalai Lama said, there are three steps of learning: Hearing, Comprehending, making it instinctual.