Recently, I started reading The Perfect Day Formula by Craig Ballantyne. The book is a self-described guide to owning the day and controlling your life. I haven’t finished the book yet, so the jury is still out on that one. However, chapter four of the book, The Essential Rules for Your Life, has already got me thinking.
Chapter four describes the need for having your own personal philosophy to determine how you live your life. I like this idea. I already structure my day, my diet, and my fitness routine, so having a structure or philosophy by which to live my life and make decisions only makes sense. Heck, Mr. Ballantyne’s entire list functions much like the diet and fitness routines do in my life. The only difference is his list provides a structure for all decisions and events not just his fitness and/or nutrition. Take rule #1 for example:
I go to bed and get up at the same time 7 days per week (8 p.m. and 4 a.m.) I stick to my diet, avoid caffeine after 1 p.m., and avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime.
That rule leaves no question as to what time the man goes to sleep or what time he wakes up. The rule provides a structure to his sleep that, if followed, will never result in him proclaiming “Damn! I didn’t get enough sleep” or “Fuck! I am not going to have the time to finish everything today.”
Take Rule #10
I will not be the person I don’t want to be. I will not be petty, jealous, or envious, or give in to any other of those lazy emotions. I will not gossip or speak badly of others, no matter who I am with or what environment that I am in. I will not be negative when it is easier to be positive. I will not hurt others when it is possible to help. I will know the temptations and environments in life that I must avoid, and I will, in fact, avoid them, even if it means loosening relationships with others who “live” in those environments. It’s my life and that matters more than what other people think of me.
That rule provides a structure for making all decisions. As long as he studies whatever decision he is making within the context of the rule, decision making is easy. He has defined his philosophy so well that he has no question as to the right decision.
All twelve of his rules function in much the same way as the two above. They provide a blueprint for which he lives his life. Definitely check out the book and the corresponding article describing his life philosophy. They are full of great life tips and his personal philosophy is awesome.
Now, I love the idea behind his list and it makes sense in my life. However, I can’t commit on the same level. Shit if I am being totally honest, I feel inadequate just reading his list.
I can’t commit to bed by 8 p.m. and up by 4 a.m.
I don’t want to even try to commit to “I do not swear.” Fuck, I love swearing.
I would love to commit to “I write for at least 60 minutes first thing every morning,” but, at this point, I can’t even commit to ten minutes.
As a result, I almost dismissed the entire idea. If I can’t be on his level, what’s the point? It wasn’t until a few days after reading the chapter that I realized the point. The point of the whole fucking exercise is not to compare myself to him, but to compare myself to myself. The point is to define a set of rules (a philosophy) that I want to live my life by and that dictates how I make decisions. The key to the whole thing is me. Everyone else’s rules are irrelevant and useless.
Armed with that piece of enlightenment, I set out to create my own philosophy in life. Fair warning, creating this shit was no where near as easy as I would have thought. I, honestly, thought I would sit down and have a life philosophy knocked out in a matter of minutes. I was wrong. I actually had to think deeply about the values that I admire in other people and the values that I want to be described with. The process was a bit scary. So, without further ado……
My Philosophy in Life
My Philosophy in Life
- I spend fifteen focused minutes every morning (including Saturday and Sunday) on my #1 priority.
- I tell the truth no matter how uncomfortable. If I do not want to do something, I say no. I say no with a real reason not some made up bullshit.
- I own my mistakes. If I am in a bad situation and/or something goes to shit on my watch. I own it. I never play the blame game. The responsibility is always mine because I allowed myself to be in that situation in the first place.
- I do something physical every day. The physical activity could be as simple as a walk or as crazy as flipping tires and carrying sandbags.
- I stimulate my mind daily. I read something new, solve a problem, solve a puzzle, create something, take a class, or perform anything else that makes me think every day.
- I live minimally. I already have everything I need. Any personal purchases must replace what is already providing that value in my life. For example, if I buy a new pair of pants, I must throw away an old pair.
- I don’t do things I hate. I try anything and everything, but if I hate it I stop. Sometimes the activity itself is not something I love, but the person or persons I do it for are people I love. Thus, I only do things I love or things for the people I love. I will not live in misery no matter the monetary payout.
- I don’t ask for permission. Requests for permission are an excuse to second guess what I already know I want to do. I just do what I want and worry about the permission to do it later.
- I don’t apologize for being myself or making myself happy. I do not apologize for saying no to someone when I do not want to do something. I do not apologize for the clothes I wear, the tattoos I have, the foods I eat, and the goals I pursue. Simply put, I’m not sorry and I refuse to say that I am.
- I eat in a manner conducive to feeling good. If I need to perform optimally mentally or physically, I eat foods that are conducive to that goal no matter the situation. If I want to relax or enjoy friends, I drink a bourbon. If a situation calls for a pizza, so be it.
- I do not hold grudges no matter how bad the transgression. I cut the offending party the fuck out of my life and move on. Not another thought. No revenge. No pity.
- I do not judge others for actions that do not effect me. I live and let live. However if their actions have an effect on me, I have the right to stand up for myself and put a stop to it.
- I do something every day that makes me happy. This could be something as simple as a great cup of coffee, a killer workout, morning sex, or a good cigar with a friend.
- I am not a dick especially to customer service people, old people, and idiots.
Tips for Creating Your Philosophy in Life
- Read The Perfect Day Formula or at least the corresponding article.
- Don’t force it. Unless you are just on a roll, don’t force yourself to finish your philosophy all in one sitting. Take your time and really put thought into your philosophy. Don’t add something just to add it.
- Split the process up over multiple days. Again, take your time. No one says your philosophy has to be done all in one sitting. Split it up over multiple days and take advantage of the different moods or feelings you experience over time.
- Take walks. I wrote 90% of my philosophy on ten minute walks. I just made notes in my phone or in a notebook during my walk. Walks really help to clear my mind.
- Limit yourself. Limit the list to ten, twelve, fourteen, or sixteen items. With no limit, it is too easy to just throw anything and everything you can in your philosophy. Forcing myself to limit my philosophy and really think about each entry made my philosophy much more representative of me.
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