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36 Principles To Celebrate Turning 36

  1. Via Negativa — It’s usually better to subtract before adding. The removal of something is usually better than the addition of something.
  2. Protect the downside. The upside will take care of itself — This is closely tied to the above. You ever wake up and everything is just going your way? What happens? Things just take care of themselves, right? It takes no effort when things are going well. It’s the downside you need to protect. Take out the downside risk. Protect yourself from the train that you don’t end up seeing coming. Longevity is the name of the game.
  3. Build small stressors into the system — Probably one of the best insurance policies for protecting the downside. This will help absorb the inevitable big stressor, when it comes
  4. I am 100% in control of everything that happens to me— I don’t know if this is objectively true, but I believe it and take ownership over everything in my life. Almost to an extreme. I believe that there’s nothing outside of my control. If something happens it’s either because I’m directly responsible for it, or indirectly by not asking for help, letting someone know what I expected or some other variation of that argument. Period. There’s no such thing as being a victim in my world. And I never outsource my happiness to someone / something else. No exceptions.
  5. I’m not right or wrong because someone agrees with me. I’m right because I’ve thought through the problem and my thinking is correct — It doesn’t matter if the crowd agrees or disagrees with me.
  6. Actively seek out dissenting opinions — Always question my assumptions and try and kill my best ideas. It’s the best insurance policy for making a dumb mistake.
  7. Skin in the game — Architects during the building of roman structures, had to stand under the arch as the scaffolding was pulled away. There’s something I love about this. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. I always want to have something at risk. Not only does it juice me, but it assures I make the best holistic decision for the entire ecosystem (as best as I can).
  8. No complaining — Either do something about it, or shut up. No one wants to hear me complain. And complaining doesn’t do any good. In fact it can bring other people down. And I’m only interested in solutions. Look at the problem, assess potential solutions, and get to work.
  9. Focus — Probably one of the biggest contributors to successful people. That and…
  10. Persistence — If the path is closed off, go around it, over it, under it, or back up and run through it. But whatever you do, keep moving forward.
  11. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time — It’s a marathon, and the key is putting the left foot in front of the right day in and day out.
  12. When in the eye of the storm, relax, look around, make a call and batch, prioritize and execute.
  13. Never trust my emotions — They’ll fool me every time. And in fact, is probably just a cognitive bias running on autopilot. I have an old reptilian brain who’s OS hasn’t been updated in awhile. It’s hard to catch it in the moment, but I think it’s important to try. Instead I try and slightly disassociate myself. If I’m really going through an emotional upheaval and need to get to problem solving, I’ll literally start talking to myself and giving myself advice as if a friend had come to me.
  14. The mission is more important than my ego — Learn to objectively criticize myself and make sure I’m making progress on the mission, not my pathetic little ego.
  15. Be a Mayor not a President — Mayors get their city’s trash taken out, and don’t start wars. Within this is the idea of small decentralized and autonomous teams being better than large hierarchical structures. There’s a natural scale problem in nature. As organisms get too big, they become less able to maneuver and adapt.
  16. Invert stupid… Always invert — Learn to look at the problem in reverse and from upside down. Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s business partner and probably one of the greatest minds alive ) once quoted the famous Mathematician, Carl Jacobi, and added a little “Munger twist”. This quote is a helpful way for me to remember to problem solve from different angles.
  17. Be a relentless tinkerer — Endless experimentation and tinkering > strategizing, thinking and pondering. Doing > Talking. It’s better to ship a shitty V1.0 than to never ship. Just keep tinkering. Experiment A LOT more.
  18. Never take advice from someone worse off than me — The world is filled with people's opinions. But if someone isn’t accomplishing the thing I’m after, I kindly say thank you, and disregard the advice.
  19. Love deeply, kiss slowly and dance every once in awhile
  20. Let go of the story in my head of who “Me” is — “Me” isn’t really me. It’s the collection of stories I’ve been told through my life. Only I get to define me, and it’s constantly changing, growing, evolving and (hopefully) improving. As soon as I get a story in my head about who I am, that process stops. And for me, that would be equivalent to death.
  21. Collect experiences, not things
  22. In God We Trust. Everyone else must bring data — Data, is simply information and we live in a world where objective information and the study of that information, is how you get closer to the truth. And I want to know what’s true. There are two small caveats with this principle…
  23. When working in the unknown be distrustful of data, and use heuristics instead — Data only tells me what happened after the fact. But when I’m working in a body of work that doesn’t have a lot of precedence (i.e. a lot of data over a long period of time) I’m distrustful of it. Instead I use the old “rule of thumb” that society has built over time. I’ve found those are typically rooted in wisdom.
  24. Always leave room to experiment outside of what the data says
  25. Creating data > analyzing data — The engineer has my heart. Because the engineer looks at the world, and sees nothing but problems w/ potential solutions. And then they get to work using the Engineer’s Methodology to create solutions to those problems. And those solutions, are the things that end up creating the data that can be analyzed. For centuries we thought the Earth was at the center of the universe, until Copernicus engineered the telescope and saw the moons of Saturn. With this new data, the world completely changed (eventually)
  26. Building people > building skills — People are everything. People are the game. And investing in people will always pay a higher ROI (for me and them).
  27. Always spend time upfront to explain “Why” — Answering why is the single best question to answer for people. When people understand the “why” they’ll figure out the “how”.
  28. Look for tiny hinges that swing open big doors — This is all about finding those small leverage points that create momentum. I tend to look for the small leverage points that can create momentum. And momentum is self-fulfilling… it tends to just keep going (Thanks Newton!)
  29. I won the ovarian lottery in life, and have a duty to make the world better, for others, today — The fact that I have access to clean drinking water, food, shelter, can read, have access to the internet and live in America, puts me in the Top 1% of global citizens. Don’t believe me? Go type in your income and see for yourself where you rank in the world. And I acknowledge I did nothing to deserve the circumstances I was born into. I was simply born. But there are others that weren’t so lucky. And I can do more.
  30. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect” — This is, of course, a Mark Twain quote. It’s also a brilliant discourse on the value of Counter-Intuitive thinking.
  31. Sometimes it’s best to be proactive. Sometimes it’s best to drift — There’s value and magic in just wandering aimlessly. It’s important to know when to let go of actively planning, and just wander for a little.
  32. Reflection is the key to self-awareness. And self-awareness is the key to happiness — I’ve personally found it extremely helpful to journal on a regular basis.
  33. The only two skills that matter in life, are the skills of (1) How to think (2) How to learn — Everything else is details
  34. Things are never as good or as bad as people think — The pendulum always swings back in the other direction.
  35. “Everyday you should do your duty to dishelve your responsibilities” — Another quote from Marcus Aurelius, and is a quote that sits on my desk. It’s a solid principle on how I think about approaching work.
  36. Enjoy life — Travel, read, spend time with great people, have great conversations over great food, have plenty of sex, get sleep, move your body, make things, create art, build a body of work. Didn’t anyone tell you? You die at the end of this.



The French noun flâneur, means “stroller”, “lounger”, “saunterer”, or “loafer. This is the digital nomads place for all things mobile freedom. Flâneur 2.0

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Gabriel Anderson

MD of @Tachyon a serial entrepreneur with specialties in early-stage growth, customer acquisition, and business development. Philosophy, Technology, Biohacker.