Freelance writing


Content strategy


September 15, 2015

Some successful people live by a set of principles they’ve arrived at over the years. Some publish these for others to learn from.

Three great examples:

  • Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues: concise, overarching
  • Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations: reflective account of lessons learned
  • Ray Dalio’s Principles: longer, explores reasons for having principles and outlines his

Ray says “I want you to think for yourself – to decide what you want, what is true and what to do about it“, highlighting the importance of reading such documents as informational rather than instructional.

I.e., don’t look to them to dictate to you how to lead your life, instead take guidance from them in an attempt to arrive at your own.

If the term ‘principles’ is off-putting, remember these aren’t intended as concrete rules you can never deviate from. Just guidelines that influence your behaviour and thought processes, informed by previous experiences and analyses.

A few things I’d add to my list:

  • Go outside first thing in the morning and breathe some fresh air
  • No screens before breakfast
  • Drink a pint of water with breakfast (before coffee / tea)
  • Tidy for 5-10 minutes each morning to set a productive tone for the day