Personal Rules and Tools For Greatness
Many authors offer rules and tools that help with things like decision making, productivity, overcoming fear, and more.
I originally kept this running list in my Notion journal as they came into my life, but I have recently decided that they are meant to be shared. This list isn’t in any particular order. I just add to it as things come into my life.
Some of them are universal and appear in multiple publications, youtube videos, other blogs, etc...
1% Better Per Day —James Clear.
This is a rule that I’ve found in several sources. One of the most well-known is in the book Atomic Habits. If you can just focus on improving something 1% per day, that amounts to a 3,678% increase per year. Imagine that sort of return on your investments every year!
Fear Setting — Tim Ferriss.
Working backwards from a negative outcome and determining exactly everything that can possibly go wrong and the outcomes from those things.
This following is from Tim Ferriss:
- Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering.
- What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?
- What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios?
I see it as…Usually the worst things you imagine really aren’t that bad. The famous, and kind of overused, Mark Twain quote goes, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Imagine the worst absolute scenario and get prepared.
Backcasting — Tim Ferriss
Backcasting is the opposite of Fear Setting. Work backwards from a positive outcome and determining exactly how you got there. Ask yourself, what’s the best possible thing that could have happened and how did I make them happen?
10X Rule —Grant Cardone.
10X thinking is about generating big ideas. It’s about transformation over improvement. Matter is neither created nor destroyed. It is only transferred. People have a tendency to create their world. If you imagine that you will have a simple life and won’t fulfill your greatest dreams, then that seems to be what happens. On the other hand, if you 10X your thinking and aim for something that seems impossible to others, then you’ll find that overtime, you’re able to accomplish seemingly impossible things. Go big or go home.
5 Second Rule — Mel Robbins.
Whenever you must make a decision to do anything, count backwards from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then execute. Simple as that. It’s a mental trick. I use it to wake up at 4:30 every morning. I use it to jump into fringed rivers. I used it to send a move out letter to my landlord and book a flight to Costa Rica so I can move out of Los Angeles for 8 months. Hard things are always way easier in hindsight. Your fear just gets in the way of you realizing how easy everything actually is.
This is a Decision Interruption for the Past and Future.
Future: What are the consequences of each of my options in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years?
Past: How would I feel today if I made this decision 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years ago?
Begin With The End in Mind
I think it may have been from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but I can’t remember. Beginning with the end in mind is about having a vision. A clear vision is a map. One of my favorite quotes is:
Sea captains without a chart are rarely remembered for discovering anything but the ocean floor. The point of sailing is to get somewhere. Without a map you’ll wander the seas aimlessly, Sometimes finding dry land, but more often than not floundering in a vast ocean.
It doesn’t matter if you are starting a new business, trying to set new goals, trying to plan a trip, trying to plan a wedding… anything. If you don’t have a clear idea and vision about what the end result looks like then you can’t possibly come up with an effective route to get there…
In the fantastic book about business strategy, Playing To Win, A.G. Lafley and Roger L Martin talk about Defining Your Winning Aspirations. I love the way they put it. Basically… If you don’t know what winning looks like, then how will you ever know if you’ve won?
12 Week Year — Brain P. Moran
Great book. Ever get to December and kick it into overdrive after realizing that you’re far off from achieving your annual goal? This concept is about time blocking your entire year into much smaller, more manageable chunks. A while back, my wife bought me The Self-Journal. It works off of a 13 week timeframe. While I loved the journal and copied the format into my digital Notion journal, the 13 week thing always threw me off. 12 weeks divides nicely. It’s kind of like utilizing Scrum and Agile Methodologies to accomplish big goals. Begin with a big, clear vision of your end result, decide on the weekly goals that have to be accomplished in order to get there, and then decide on the daily tasks that will cause you to accomplish the weekly goals. With a well-defined plan, you do not have to worry about the end result. The results will take care of themselves. This is another thing that James Clear mentions in his book, Atomic Habits. Highly productive people don’t worry about results. They worry about the process.
The 4 Hour Work Week — Tim Ferriss
Extremely well-known concept from Tim Ferriss from his book by the same name. This ties into my next rule about delegation, but the 4 hour work week is about being effective. It’s about having extremely well-defined systems so that you can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time while also focusing on living in a new paradigm. If you think creatively, utilize all of the modern tools at your disposal and aren’t afraid to delegate, then you can free yourself from the “hum drum.”
Delegate delegate delegate
An old mentor told me this. There’s only one way to get more than 24 hours out of the day. You must delegate. If you think you can’t afford it or it’s too hard or you’re a control freak and other people can’t do it as well as you do… fine. Stick to your 24 hour day and watch those who can effectively delegate accomplish 1000X more than you.
If you’re in a situation where you think everyone else are idiots and everyone and everything sucks…. look within. You may be the problem. If you’re unhappy, look within. If you’re happy, look within. If you want more clarity in and about your life and all life… look within. Every answer you need, the strength you desire, the integrity you seek, the fix to all of your bad relationships, inability to keep a job, inability to follow through and be dependable… everything can be overcome by looking within. There’s a reason zen master’s meditate for most of their lives. It’s because enlightenment is within.
Don’t go it alone
If you are implementing change, don’t go it alone. Your chances of success are seven times greater if you employ peer support. I’ve struggled with this one, but at the same time, I’ve been in a committed relationship for almost 13 years, so I always have my wife by my side to share triumphs and struggles with. However, the more peer support you have from different levels of your sphere, then the greater you can compound your results and exponentially increase your chances of success. Reid Hoffman, one of the founders of LinkedIn, writes in his book The Startup of You about connections… 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree connections and so on. Many people have heard about The Seven Degrees of Separation. It isn’t just about networking and leveraging relationships to find jobs and stuff. Your connections are also there so you don’t have to “go it alone.”
Juice The Fruit
My personal maxim. I don’t just want to get just a squeeze or just a taste. I want the whole thing and I want to drink it down. I want to experience everything in my life fully.
Put First Things First
Be in the moment. If you’re a purpose driven person, then whatever you’re doing at the moment has a clear and significant purpose… Is it time to eat? Is it time to work? Is it time to get your car washed, play with your children, talk to your partner, read… or anything? Whatever your task at hand is, focus on it. Multi-tasking doesn’t work. Mind-wandering is best left to times that you allocate for mind-wandering. Stay present in whatever you are currently doing.
Win-Win or No Deal
I’ve heard this all over the place, most recently in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In his book, Give and Take, Adam Grant talks about… you guessed it… Givers and Takers. Takers will always trying to get the upper-hand in a deal or situation. They always look at situations from the vantage of, “What’s in it for me.” Givers, however, believe that it’s about the benefit of all. Being a giver is about believing in “win win or no deal,” to your core. Winning is great, and I definitely play to win, but if there’s any aspect of your life where you’re operating from the paradigm of win-lose, then you’re a taker.