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Principles To Live By And How They Can Improve Your Life

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by Paul Kindzia in Happiness, Health, Personal Finance
September 4, 2018

What’s the method that you use to proceed through your journey of life?  How do you make it from one day to the next and one year to the next?  How do you make decisions?  How do you know what to do when presented with choice?  Why even have mental models and operational principles?

These are all questions that wealthy individuals ask themselves and challenge themselves with.

“If you don’t know where you are going in life, any road will take you there.” – Unknown

One must use a working set of mental models and principles to navigate their life.  Everyone has a set that they use, whether they realize it or not.  If someone just decides to “wing it”, that is still a mental model and set of principles that they use in their life.  When we have mental models and principles, we use them to shape our habits.  We use them to shape our behaviors.  We gravitate towards pre-determined principles when faced with difficult choices that may have uncertain outcomes.  The end result is better decisions that lead us towards what we think we want out of our own life.

Each of us must determine what our own “ultimate method of living” is and should be.  Since you live in a free country, it is your choice on how you want to live, what you want to do, what you stand for, what you want to accomplish, what is important, and how you react to your outside environment.  You can choose to be a bum. You can choose to become a surfer.  You can choose to become a librarian or an electrician or a musician or a preacher or a corporate executive.

What you become will be based upon your principles which you stand by over a lifetime.  If you don’t believe in taking care of your health, then you are most likely going to end up unhealthy.  If you don’t believe in knowledge, than you are most likely going to end up not your smartest self.  If you don’t believe in wealth building, it’s unlikely you will accumulate financial resources that can create financial freedom.

So what are your principles?  Do you know what they are?  Do you know your own mental models and how you make decisions?

Principles are yours to choose and determine.  My principles may not match up with your principles.  That’s ok too (so long as your principles don’t revolve around violence or harming others.) I have 21 guiding principles.  I call them my “Triple 7’s” because I have 7 principles within 3 separate categories.  I use these principles to create my habits and shape my behaviors and assess my personal performance against my own set of standards.

I try to ensure that each day I am living by my own set of principles.  Undoubtedly, if I am having a bad day or something is wrong, I can usually dig down and discover which principle is “out of whack” and needs attention.  But I know if I ignore any one of these, it comes back to bite me and I end up frustrated or unfulfilled.  That leads to worry and anxiety and a less pleasant life.

Below are my “Triple 7’s”.  I highly encourage you to assess your own as you will discover two things;

  1. You never realized what is shaping your daily decisions.
  2. You may or may not be living up to your own standards of what you want out of life.

Wealthy

  1. Make a strong living
  2. Live below your means
  3. Save consistently and adequately
  4. Eliminate debt
  5. Maintain adequate emergency funds
  6. Invest prudently
  7. Maintain proper risk management in all areas of your life

Healthy

  1. Eat healthy (fruits and vegetables – lay off processed and manufactured foods)
  2. Exercise – minimum 30 minutes a day. Be active.
  3. Adequate Sleep
  4. Reduce stress (work to eliminate things that lead to stress and anxiety – toxic people, relationships, money woes)
  5. Be cautious of pharmaceutical drugs as they all have side effects. Do what you can to “not need” man-made health drugs.
  6. Avoid recreational drugs and chemicals
  7. Smoking – yeah right – don’t even think about it.

Happy

  1. Have a positive attitude – smile and laugh if you can. Shift expectations to make sure they are achievable and not frustrating.
  2. Engage and pursue work that you find to be productive and meaningful
  3. Nurture relationships with family, friends, neighbors and work associates. Limit or eliminate time with negative people.
  4. Pursue personal growth (mind, body, spirit). Lifelong learning.
  5. Be organized and prioritize activities so that you are spending time on what counts. Focus on things that truly matter.
  6. Live in the present moment, have fun.
  7. Understand the role of money in your life. How much and why do you need the amount?  We are extremely adapt at turning luxuries into necessities.  Frills become essentials and often people become unhappy because they are without luxuries that they don’t possess.
    1. Fruits of labor sour quickly.
    2. Marketing companies are excellent at positioning goods that appear to be in fixed supply (we think we will enjoy these goods if others cannot have them.)
    3. Happiness is often having control over your time, not possessing more and more things. It’s the ability to control oneself and not be controlled by others or organizations.
    4. People often work themselves into the ground and ruin themselves (and their health) by laying out money on absolutely frivolous and trivial items.
    5. Money spent on life experiences (not things) often brings happiness.
  8. As much as we want to live in the moment, give conscious thought to what your last days would be like if you were reflecting on your life. Would you have regrets?
  9. Find balance
  10. Define your own meaning of life and pursue it.
  11. Appreciate what you have.
  12. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Sharing and caring counts.

 Good habits lead to good behaviors.  Good behaviors lead to good decisions.  Good decisions lead to a good life.  Live by principles and choose wisely.

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