I want to live an honest life that holds true to what I value.
That’s why, hand in hand with my brother Jose Rodes and as part of Intropreneurs (our last project), we came up with this philosophy as…let’s say…a life operating system. Philosophy as a personal compass to guide our decisions and actions.
A philosophy that can help us (and hopefully you) live a life that is based on sustainability and freedom, on enjoying our craft, on continuous exploration and learning, on being useful for the world we live in.
It is not something we perfectly follow and we do not expect it to be that way. It is more like an ideal to be approached. Some guidance upon which to improve and get closer to the people we’d like to become.
It’s still also a work in progress. We are still testing it and it’s highly subject to evolution. In fact, I don’t think we’ll ever finish it completely. It’s more like a tool for progressively improving as we learn and progress in work and life.
If you feel aligned with all of the above, if what you’ve read till here have resonated in your head, and if you’ve felt this might be what you look for in life maybe it can be useful to you as well. And I hope it is.
These are the principles that guide my decisions and actions…
- We are conscious of our bounded rationality and strive to operate from an elevated and less biased perspective leveraged on our knowledge, thinking and comprehension.
- We consider the bigger picture, knowing all our actions go beyond ourselves.
Think from a position of self-consciousness.
- We strive to understand our emotions, our intrinsic motivations and the values that drive us so we can better govern ourselves. This act is, in itself, an expression of this principle.
- We believe this is where everything originates and where true positive change happens in ourselves and in our relationship with the world around us.
Think from an empathetic perspective and listen deeply.
- We strive to get on other’s shoes to understand how people feel or will feel about specific situations.
- We strive to approach things in a positive way while realizing all emotions are valid.
- We avoid non-constructive criticism.
- We assume the best of others because we may lack full context.
Think in systems.
- We strive to think in systems as a way to understand the potential consequences of our actions and the actions of others. Also to recognize the causes behind problems in the current state of things.
- We use this thinking to know how to act in specific circumstances and avoid giving simple answers to complex problems.
Think from first principles.
- We tend to question our own models, prejudices, and conventions, as well as those established by our environment and society. We don’t let others dictate what’s possible unless it comes down to first principles.
- We strive to think for ourselves from first principles as a way to achieve disruptive improvements (vs the incremental ones offered by analogy or convention-based thinking).
- We recognize that being trustworthy, to ourselves and to others, is the basis for our personal satisfaction, harmony, and fulfillment. It’s also the basis for every kind of relationship and, by extension, for good coexistence in any kind of society and group. As such, it is foundational for our own health as individuals and as a society as a whole.
- We recognize honesty as the basis of trust.
- We consistently strive to question the causes and intentions behind our thoughts, feelings, and actions so we can avoid operating from established conventions or from an ego-based perspective.
- We choose to be sincere and transparent by default about our ideas and intentions.
- We recognize “being an example” as the only way to make words valuable. Thus, we strive to honor our thoughts and words by setting ourselves as an example for others (and even for ourselves).
- We choose to measure our words and under-commit by default if we are not sure we can comply.
- We adopt commitments as forcing functions to encourage our own productivity, only if we know we can comply.
- We desire to be better tomorrow than today, knowing that improvement can be found in small changes.
- We approach everything we want to improve about ourselves by building good habits.
- We do not believe in “having” something (money, time, resources…) as the requirement to become who we want to be.
Instead, we first strive to be before we can do, and do before we can have.
We see having as a side effect of being and doing first.
- We strive to exemplify a growth mindset and believe that any skill or talent (hard or soft) can be learned through deliberate practice. We extend this thinking even to the improvement of our personality traits.
- We consistently work on improving our skills around self-consciousness, empathy, and systems thinking so we can improve our reflection and understanding of the problems we deal with. We strive to Understand first before coming up with an answer to work upon.
- We strive to get out of our comfort zone (and get on other’s shoes) to gain a better understanding of ourselves (improve our self-consciousness), acquire new perspectives (improve our empathy) and broaden our comprehension of the world around us.
- We practice introspection regularly as we believe this is where true learning and life-changing adjustments originate.
- We believe knowledge without reflection is useless but reflection without knowledge is dangerous. That’s why we practice reflection and expand our knowledge boundaries regularly.
- We believe in the power of broad knowledge over purely specialized knowledge, as a way to get better answers.
- We are always eager to learn and explore new fields, strategies, methods, and tools.
- Our best days are the ones when we create.
- We are creative people and strive to get into deep creative work as a way to keep our morale high and contribute to society and the planet.
- We strive to do creative work as frequently as possible.
Act beyond yourself.
- We strive to make this world a better place and keep our focus on the greater good.
- We are not afraid of the less-traveled path if it holds true to our values and betters the world.
- We seek balance by operating from a profound and broad level of understanding. We strive to Understand first.
- We acknowledge we have human duties, as an intrinsic and indivisible part of our human rights.
- We strive to do what’s right for the common good in the long-term.
- When it would be easy to go low, we go high. We aim to treat people the way we would want to be treated.
- We strive to be respectful, compassionate, kind, affectionate and supportive with ourselves and with the people around us.
- We strive to be generous by default and embrace a givers gain mindset.
- We strive to be cooperative with other people so together we can reach greater ends.
- We value more our own conscience than what others think or say about us.
- We strive to move the needle first instead of waiting for others to do it, even if the outcome seems irrelevant at first glance. We believe in the power of the compounding effect of small actions in the long-term.
We think long-term and choose to delay gratification so that great game-changing improvements can happen.
In general, we avoid short-term/reactive measures when we face an important problem or decision.
Default to sustainability.
We believe that to reach freedom and be faithful to the principles above we need to reinforce our own sustainability in the long-term.
Focus on the essential.
- We pay attention to attention and keep a minimalist mindset that’s aimed at focusing just on what’s essential at any given time, removing noise and lowering the cognitive load we have to support.
- We strive to have a lifestyle that’s focused on only what’s needed and important for us. We play against the “more is better” and “bigger is better” consumerist mindset.
- We strategically choose to focus on the key goals, actions and behaviors that are most important at any given moment. For any activity, we strive to do only what’s needed.
- We pay attention to our thoughts and worry only about what’s under our control (we strive to practice stoicism).
- We keep a tight focus on our financial spending as part of this minimalist mindset.
- We strive to make decisions fast and avoid getting stuck on those decisions that will not be hard to change later, once we’ve learned more about the problem at hand. When in doubt, we fall back to our philosophy and principles.
Manage your finance.
- We believe that the way we manage our money determines our resilience capabilities in the long-term.
- Our spending should not react in response to how much money we earn. This is how we get into a vicious cycle of poverty. As we earn more we spend more so we are never free and always depend on the present external circumstances.
- Instead, we strive to be intentional about the lifestyle we look for and the income we need for it but adapt our current lifestyle to the income and circumstances we have in the present.
- We strive to keep tight control of our income and spending.
- We strive to invest part of our income and diversify our risk portfolio as a way to get passive income and be more resilient in the face of hard times.
- We choose to dedicate part of our recurring income to our own learning.
Keep your life balance safe.
- We strive to keep a healthy balance between all areas of our lives that are important to us, from work to creation, to learning, going through our social relationships and so forth.
- We strive to organize our time intentionally towards that aim.
Choose progress over perfection.
- We focus on the process and consider results as a side effect.
- We set goals, expect the best but attach to nothing (we do not attach to the outcomes).
- We are willing to fail, accept it as a prerequisite for progress and strive to be perseverant.
- We choose to progress organically instead of looking for artificial shortcuts.
Work in public.
- We strive to publicly share everything we learn, from our soaring successes to our epic failures and everything in between because it helps us learn.
- We are willing to sign our name to our work and put it into the world, so we can truly reach our potential.
We also strive to Understand first as a way to make better decisions that keep our actions on the right path.