Codex Vitae

→ last edit: 01/13/2017

“Usually it is a bit of a trick to keep your knowledge from blinding you.” — Annie Dillard

This Codex Vitae, or “book of life”, is a collection of beliefs and values that inform my decisions and life. It is a living document; as my understanding changes, so might my beliefs. The main purpose of this document is to (1) pull my beliefs into the light where I can questions them more effectively and (2) to share philosophies, concepts, tools, and inspiration that have been helpful to me.

Contents

How to Use This Codex

Meta-beliefs

Principles

Things I No Longer Believe

Fears

Self-care

  • Productivity
  • Food
  • Physical Fitness
  • Intoxicants
  • Mental and Emotional Wellness
  • Relationships

Material World

  • Money and Consumerism

Work

  • Career
  • Learning
  • Passion Projects

Adventure

Philosophy

  • Society
  • Politics

Influences

  • Concepts
  • Books
  • Quotations and Sayings
  • Inspirational Lives

Predictions


How to Use This Codex

This is not a prescription for how you should live your own life. But feel free to copy the structure of this page and create your own!

My own goals with this:

→ Develop a habit of using the Codex as a tool to examine my beliefs and values

→ Edit as needed

→ Do a yearly review in January of the entire document, editing places where beliefs have changed. Look at how actual actions align or don’t alight with values

→ Expect beliefs and tactics to change — don’t hold on to anything too rigidly

Meta-beliefs

> Beliefs about beliefs.

  • Intuition and guts feelings are as important as your rational feelings
  • We do not understand 10% of what surrounds us but we believe that we understand 90% therefore everything we believe has very little value in this universe but is important for being sane.
  • Questioning others beliefs is extremely important to remain free and to evolve. But we have to learn more about questioning our own beliefs.
  • I tend to agree with some principles/practices even though I don’t truly understand them because I feel that some parts of them are true even though the explanation behind it is bogus (think about spirituality for instance)
  • Most of the concept I believe in are concept that I found rationally sound. If I question their rationality or the science behind them, I need to see results to believe that there’s more than just charlatanism.

Principles

> Fundamentals that guide my life.

• Rationality — I need to be rational in order to take decisions. Even when I have gut feelings I try to process them through rationality to guide my life

• Freedom — I am happiest with my decisions when they align with value of freedom for myself and others. In decisions, always try to bias for freedom.

• Openness to experience — Things go better for me when I watch for opportunities that appear, rather than to define what-I-want (but I also need to know what I want!). Often what shows up is better than I would have thought of.

• Curiosity — Be curious and question everything. Learn little things every days. In order to grow, we need to learn new things.

• Interconnectedness — I am aware that everything is connected but I need to think more often about this principle when I act

• Question authority and the status quo.

Things I No Longer Believe

> These are things I have changed my mind about.

• Self help books are great but they don’t fix everything. I believe that intuitions and hard work are better suited to fix issues.

• I don’t need to own real estate. I still believe that buying a house to live in is a bad investment but buying in order to rent is a great way to diversify your investments. Especially if you can find good deals.

Fears

> This is a list of fears that I am continually working on. I try to understand what’s at the root of these fears and what beliefs or practices I can develop to know that things are going to be okay. Because, in a very broad sense, things are going to be okay.

  • Not having enough money in order to be free

→ Compensating aspiration: never lose sight of the financial-independence goal

  • Ridicule

→ Compensating aspiration: internalise the fact that people don’t give a s*** about what I’m doing

  • Expressing my thoughts and feelings fully when it seems risky

→ Compensating aspiration: try with baby steps to express what I really feel

  • Having my heart broken (even though it’s always been worth it)
  • Dying too young to witness the rise of the singularity

→ Compensating aspiration: being even healthier and take better care of myself

  • Not being loved

→ Compensating aspiration: being true and honest with other. Love them as honestly as possible without any restriction

  • Not being able to do what I love for a living

→ Compensating aspiration: Be more work-oriented. Look for better opportunities

  • Not being financially independent

→ Compensating aspiration: Save more money, spend less on useless stuff

  • losing my friends

→ Compensating aspiration: nurture the relationships with my friends

Self-care

Productivity

Beliefs

  • Productivity is about focus even if you can focus only 10 minutes on something you need to be focused
  • Procrastination is an invisible enemy. It reaches you very easily and it’s really hard to escape from it. That’s why it’s easier to keep momentum than to produce it
  • I don’t give a f*** about productivity systems. Do whatever works for you
  • I don’t believe in the power of to-do lists. You need to be able to have your list in your head. If you don’t, you need to work on this. I might be wrong of course. Or it’s just based on who you are. I don’t know
  • Try as much as you can to solve things on your own before asking for help. You’ll get better and better at finding solution and you’ll become more productive
  • Productivity is a muscle, it’s not inherited and extremely connected to your self-discipline. Very often, disciplined people are very productive and very productive people are very disciplined.

Pre-Decisions

  • Sports is great at helping you being productive
  • You need to have a lot of breaks in order to remain productive
  • Use Evernote to store everything and to track everything

Aspirations

  • Be better organised when it comes to note ideas

Food

Beliefs

  • The best diet is the diet you’ve designed. Other ones are useless and not efficient. Basically it shouldn’t feel like you’re dieting. It should be your way of living
  • Avoiding sugar and processed food is super important but very hard
  • We shouldn’t care about what others think when it comes to eating
  • We shouldn’t demonise the food industry as it helped us achieve a very high level of efficience and helped us to feed way more people. Of course there are a lot of bad things happening there but it’ll change over time for the best
  • It’s important to avoid things you know are bad for you even if you love them. Health over pleasure
  • Learning to dislike food you actually love is very efficient to avoid very bad food such as french fries (yes I learned to dislike them so it’s very easy for me to say no when someone proposes me french fries)
  • I don’t really believe in food supplement like vitamins for instance
  • I do believe in super food but not sure about their efficiency if you don’t eat a lot of them
  • You have to eat for pleasure but when you try to put pleasure on hold, it’s easier to eat reasonable amount of food and to stop overeating
  • I love carrots, apples, and pumpkins

Pre-Decisions

  • I don’t diet, I have my own rules that I follow and break from time to time
  • I like to have a certain routine for my breakfast and to change it every few months
  • I record what I eat to remain in my calorie budget
  • I try to avoid juices because there’s a lof of sugar in them
  • I don’t eat to much oil even though I know that some of them are really good for your health
  • I avoid pastries, especially butter-based ones
  • I eat as much vegetables as I can
  • If I have to eat something quick outside, I allow myself to eat sandwiches and stuff like that without feeling guilty

Aspirations

  • Avoid sugar
  • be more flexible with oil
  • eat more raw stuff

Clothing and style

Beliefs

  • Clothing and style should reflect your personality
  • Spending more money on good quality is more important than quantity

Pre-Decisions

  • Having some kind of uniform you wear on a daily basis helps you save time and money. It’s efficient and time-saving
  • Add some touch of funkiness thanks to accessories (socks, underwear, or little accessories)

Pre-Decisions

  • Increase the quality of my clothes
  • Add more shoes to my wardrobe

Physical Fitness

Beliefs

  • Physical activity is key to feel good on the inside and on the outside
  • Build a habit where you feel guilty if you don’t exercise

Pre-Decisions

• Minimum: run at least 3 times a week and walk as much as possible every day.

• I check my weight very often to fine tune what I eat

Aspirations

  • Do more stretching
  • Work on my breathing

Intoxicants (Drugs, Alcohol, etc.)

Beliefs

  • Drug use (which are proved not to be extremely harmful) is a personal decision and should be decriminalised
  • LSD should be used again as a medication

Pre-Decisions

Based on self-care, not morality.

  • I love cigarettes but I know I should not touch them as it truly affects my breathing
  • Alcohol at low levels helps me to have ideas

Aspirations

  • Drink a bit less
  • Try LSD micro-dosage

Mental and Emotional Wellness

Beliefs

  • Loving someone and being loved is necessary to your overall health
  • I need to walk a lot in order to meditate and spend some time with myself
  • Meeting people, engaging with them in deep discussion, and discovering new cultures is the best therapy you can get
  • Isolation is great when consumed with parsimony. I have to be careful when I’m in a group of people to stop isolating myself

Pre-Decisions

  • be more conscious about my feelings and others’

Aspirations

  • Tried meditation once, didn’t see the benefits. I should try another time
  • Keep going into minimalism
  • be more open minded about “alternative sciences”
  • try to be more “aware” of my environment

Relationships and People

> We are in relationship with everything — with every person we encounter, every animal, every plant, every rock, every landscape. (Everything in this section applies to all of these types of relationships, not just to couplings.)

Beliefs — General

  • Acceptance is the answer
  • Feelings are hard to control and they are not created by other
  • I can’t control others’ feelings
  • Truth will set you free. — honest self expression is critical to my well-being in any relationship. This includes initiating difficult conversations when appropriate.
  • Everyone is doing the best they can do. — No one intends to be a jerk. If they are, accept the situation as it is and decide how to move on from there.
  • Love is a better thing to do rather than talk about. It is not a commodity to be bartered for.

Pre-Decisions

  • Accept everyone
  • Trust your guts instead of being 100% rational

Aspirations

  • Honesty — with self and others.
  • Self care — set discuss and maintain boundaries
  • Be better at talking about myself, I’m a good listener already but not so great at talking about myself
  • Be better at connecting with my family and friends
  • Be better at showing love for my parents
  • Create financial independence
  • Travel more
  • Meet more people
  • More open communication. Accept conflict and discuss it.
  • Support other in their personal growth and accept support in mine
  • Run another Marathon
  • Eat better food
  • Try to live as long as possible in order to witness the singularity
  • Learn guitar
  • Learn Graphic design
  • Be good at mathematics
  • Be as detached as possible from material possession if it doesn’t help my financial independence and/or my happiness

Strangers

Beliefs

  • I believe that most people are good. So when I start talking to someone or to engage in a conversation with a stranger, I tend to trust him and think of him/her as a kind person
  • People don’t really care about you if they don’t know you. Therefore, it’s hard to grab someone’s attention when they don’t know you
  • We are all connected, we all have at least one thing in common so we’re not that strangers to each other

Pre-Decisions

  • I scan people pretty easily. If I don’t feel that someone is kind/interesting/trustworthy, etc. I’ll just avoid engaging with that person
  • I tend to think that people will judge me from the very beginning (which is certainly true), therefore my ego is always working against me as it makes me acting pretty shy with strangers

Aspirations

  • Meet more people
  • be a bit less introvert sometimes

Friends

Beliefs

  • You can nurture true friendship with only a handful of people. More than that will surely sacrifice the relationship with your friends
  • True friends don’t need to be reminded all the time that they’re your friends. They just know it. Even if you lose touch for a few months. If not, they’re not your friends
  • Friendship is essential to our mental health as it provides us with love and support
  • When a relationship with a friend becomes toxic. Just trash it. It’s not worth trying too hard

Pre-Decisions

  • Never actively look for friends, they just appear along the road

Aspirations

  • Be more present for my friends

Partner

Beliefs

  • Your partner should be like your best friend
  • Love is something you nurture every day
  • Your partner is always here to support you and you’re always here to support him/her
  • Love evolves and you should be able to realise this in order to feel happy about it

Pre-Decisions

  • Follow what the universe sends you
  • Listen listen listen
  • Be understanding when point of views don’t align

Aspirations

  • try to be more present for my partner

Family

Beliefs

  • Your family is only important to you if they are giving you love and support (which is the case for me). The most important thing in someone’s education is love.

Pre-Decisions

  • Realise that we all have different point of view even if we’re from the same family

Aspirations

  • Do not get angry so easily
  • Regain contact with some members of my family
  • Start to build my family tree

Material World

Beliefs

  • Possessions makes me anxious as I love to be free to move from one place to another. I adore some stuff like my computer, my iPhone or my Japanese knife but I tend to limit my material possessions to a minimum
  • Order and cleanliness is key to my mental health. I need a clean and tidy environment to feel good
  • I like pets but believe they’re hard to move around so they tend to anchor you in one place
  • Cleanliness is like love, you need to nurture it every day if you want it to survive

Pre-Decisions

  • No shoes in the house
  • Don’t let the dishes accumulate in the sink
  • throw away stuff if you haven’t used it for more than 3 months (except for summer stuff when it’s winter of course)
  • Tidy stuff as soon as there’s a little mess

Aspirations

  • Own even less stuff
  • Be able to carry all I need in one suitcase
  • Put experiences above material possessions even higher

Money and Consumerism

Beliefs

  • Money is great as it buys you freedom
  • Money is a great proxy for success

Pre-Decisions

  • I don’t care much about brand but a lot about quality. I’d rather buy a 50 euros T-shirt that can last for 5 years than a 10€ one that will be worn out after 5 months. And if there’s a brand on the good quality T-shirt then great for that brand. The best exemple of this is Apple. The brand is super strong because the product are super high quality
  • Think more than a month when you want to buy something expensive
  • I heavily track my spending

Aspirations

  • Save at leat 20% of my income
  • Spend less
  • Invest more and in a better way

Work

Career

Beliefs

  • My (young) career has been a matter of luck and opportunities that I’m really grateful for
  • I think that the word career is not relevant anymore in this world. Therefore we should use the words work-adventure in order to better reflect the current world. Work is more an adventure for the youngest generations, we tend to stay way shorter in the same company, some of us won’t even work as an employee but as freelancers instead. The life-long careers of our parents is fading away
  • Sooner or later most jobs will disappear and we’ll be only good at creative things (until the computers catch up on that skill as well). Therefore we should nurture this and become more and more creative even if it’s not our background
  • I believe that being a jack of all trade, master of none, is better than being an expert. It depends on the work you’re doing of course, but for a lot of jobs it is true
  • Honesty, kindness, and empathy are better in the workplace than politics. Political people are toxic and kills everything
  • Better to act than to overthink
  • Shipping over detail-oriented
  • Break things and fix them later
  • Always be kind

Pre-Decisions

  • Don’t engage in employment that obviously conflicts with my values
  • Make sure that the vision of the company is in line with mine
  • Know your future coworkers before starting a new job

Aspirations

  • Do good work that benefits the wellbeing and freedom of others and myself

Inspirations

  • Warren Buffet is an inspiration for me when it comes to work and business in general. Always be honest, treat others fairly, be laser-focused, be patient and extremely disciplined, simplicity is always better than complexity
  • Elon Musk is an inspiration regarding vision and boldness

Learning

Beliefs

  • Learning is important at any age. Ossification is death.

Pre-Decisions

  • Can’t think of any.

Aspirations

  • Always have a new skill to be learning. Things I’d like to learn next: guitar, piano, japanese, flying, dancing?
  • Learn more about cultures and psychology

Passion Projects

Beliefs

  • Building stuff is awesome
  • Doing projects around design makes me happy

Pre-Decisions

  • All my projects should be shared with others even if I don’t like showing what I’m doing

Aspirations

  • Start drawing again
  • Write more

Adventure

Things I would like to do or places I’d like to visit…regardless of how unrealistic they might be.

  • Chase aurora borealis
  • See a tornado
  • Fly an aerobatics plane
  • Fly at a stratospheric level
  • Climb a volcano
  • Walk more than a 1000km straight
  • Go into space

Philosophy

Society

Beliefs

  • Our civilization is probably the greatest that has ever come to Earth and will likely sustain itself forever and if we achieve multiplanetary colonization
  • We’re all good, we just created such systems that add evil to the society
  • Economic freedom and free competition is key for a healthy society
  • When we reach a level of Artificial Intelligence that will surpass ours, things about organising society will get easier with the help of machines
  • Creativity is what makes a society happy, politicians should focus on this (education, jobs, etc.)

Pre-Decisions

  • The best way to improve the society is not only by using politics but also by creating businesses, organisations, etc.

Aspirations

  • Improve the society through business
  • Be more involved in the creative scene

Politics

Beliefs

  • I believe I hate politics And I will continue to hate it until we reach a point where it’s not only about buying votes to get elected

Pre-Decisions

  • I don’t vote

Aspirations

  • Influence politics through business

Influences

Books

  • The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. Fascinating book about the life of Warren Buffet that can teach you a lot about life, business, being focused, self-discipline and how to live a honest life.
  • La part de l’autre by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. A great book looking at two different Adolf Hitler. The first one, the one we all know about the Nazi dictator, and another fictional one about an Adolf that would have been accepted to art school and would have became an artist.
  • The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza. If you’ve gotta read one book about business, sales and marketing, it’s that one. Extremely clear, down to earth with very little jargon and bullshit.
  • Kafka on the Shore by Murakami. Beautiful story in between dream and reality. Murakami is a great author that will make you travel really far with his characters.

Quotations and Sayings

  • “Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”
  • The purpose of life is to be loved by as many people as possible among those you want to have love you — Warren Buffet
  • Imagine your life has a punch card with only 20 slots. Be wise when you choose your slots — Warren Buffet
  • “You can have anything you want in life but not everything “” — Ray Dalio
  • The best investment you can make is to invest in yourself by taking high care of yourself — Warren Buffet
  • “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to losing, for a very long time, of the shore.“ — Andre Gide
  • “The practice of deep listening consists of keeping compassion alive in your heart the whole time you are listening. You do not listen in order to judge, criticize, or evaluate. You listen for one reason alone: to offer the other person a chance to express himself.”
  • Passion is discovered through the process of trying out things.
  • A happy person is someone who can enjoy the scenery on the detour.
  • If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.
  • “The desire for a positive experience is in itself a negative experience. Paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is in itself a positive experience.” — Mark Manson
  • “Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor / Philosopher King
  • “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”- Jayson Gaignard
  • “Before I met you, I already liked myself.“ — Approval
  • External things can’t fix internal issues.
  • “If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.” — Jean-Paul-Sartre, Philosopher.
  • “If you give a good idea to mediocre team they will screw it up, if you give a mediocre idea to a great team they will either fix it or throw it away” — ed catmull
  • Quality is the best business plan — John Lasseter
  • “For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavor of them may last longer.” — Machiavelli
  • “The arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast” — Machiavelli
  • “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”

Inspirational Lives

People who’s lives or work inspire me in mine.

  • George Harrison
  • Warren Buffet
  • Elon Musk
  • Tony Robbins
  • Steve Jobs
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Albert Einstein

Predictions (to be updated every year)

→ 2017

  • Trump’s presidency, even though the man is evil, egotistic, dumb sometimes, will appear to be not that bad compared to all the fuss around the elections
  • VR will remain niche but keep growing
  • Macron will be elected president of France
  • It will be the year of the fall of ISIS

→ 2020

  • VR (or a mix of VR and AR) is mainstream mainly because Apple and Snapchat got in the game and democratised it
  • Uber has automated 40% of its fleet and its delivery business almost surpasses its transportation service
  • DNA modification for humans starts to spread
  • Amazon is disrupting the brick and mortar grocery stores market
  • The entire world is fully covered with internet connection thanks to the alliance of Facebook, Google, and SpaceX
  • SpaceX dominates the space industry and they land their first test flight on Mars

→ 2030

  • We reached general intelligence AI and it’s replacing 70% of human intellectual jobs
  • Most diseases are cured including cancer, life expectancy exceeds 100 years old in many countries
  • Zuckerberg is president of the US
  • Humans are not allowed to drive cars anymore, they are required to learn how to drive one in case of software failure but not to operate them
  • Hyperloops tunnels connects most cities around the world
  • Supersonic planes are used for transcontinental flights
  • We’ve started to colonize Mars thanks to a partnership in between SpaceX, Nasa, and other space agencies
  • Education systems around the world have changed and now focus on creativity since machines have replaces most jobs and are not yet able to show signs of human creativity but we’re getting closer

Don’t hesitate to copy/paste my Codex Vitae to start your own!