Here are 5 short life principles that I’ve learnt over my few years of self-growth. Plus, a bonus lesson I learnt at medical school.
Don’t ask, don’t get.
I wrote an entire blogletter on this, but basically, humans are too busy to concern themselves with your needs. If you want something you must go out and ask for it. The worst you could get is a ‘no’ and the best could be an infinite amount of things. If you want to have a chat with someone, ask them. If at work you want to be involved in certain projects, ask to be involved. You may well just get exactly what you wanted. But until you ask, you’ll get nothing.
This is very simple but easily overlooked. Just be kind. Being kind is never the wrong answer to any situation and people will remember us for it, “oh they are really kind/nice”. Similarly, we also remember those that are the complete opposite, “they are really rude”. The latter is something you definitely don’t want.
Don’t show off.
This is an interesting one. One that I personally battle with on a regular basis. Where do we draw the line between showing off and simply wanting a more luxurious/pleasurable experience? But then I realised, the problem isn’t that. The problem is doing something a more luxurious/expensive way for any reason beyond your personal gain. If you do something because others will think highly of you, you’ve gone wrong somewhere. Again this comes back to the classic idea of intrinsic vs. extrinsic happiness. Showing off, in my opinion, is very extrinsic. It can be avoided.
Doing is better than not doing.
Doing is always better than not doing (with respect to the law). If you want to start a side-hustle, you’d much rather do the damn thing and learn along the way than spend endless hours, weeks, or years planning. By doing, we receive instant feedback, criticism, and validation of our ideas. Many ‘great ideas’ we have in our minds may turn out to be terrible ideas, but we’ll never know until we get our hands dirty.
Money isn’t everything.
Last but not least, wealth exists beyond money. This is something I’ve always known but never truly appreciated until I started following Naval Ravikant and began listening to his life philosophy on various podcasts and reading the book “The Almanack Of Naval Ravikant”. Essentially, wealth exists in time, health, and money. Money will get you a certain distance towards the other two but ultimately, you need to work in different ways to achieve wealth in all three domains. Personally, time wealth is a big win for me, I’d love to have total control over my time and work as and when I wish — it’s a struggle when having a career as a doctor, but I’ll tackle this with time.
Finally, the all-encompassing principle I’ve learnt so far is to practice life-long learning. For example, the above are examples of a few key life principles that I’ve learnt in my years of self-growth. However, with time, I’m sure I will realise more key life principles and perhaps deem some of these lessons to be more critical or overpowering.
It’s another big thing that I’ve picked up from medical school. We’re always told in order to be the best clinicians we must practice life-long learning and that is to keep up with new research, new guidelines, and new techniques. But to me, it expands beyond medical school and into life more generally. When we foster a mindset where life-long learning is the default, we naturally become better versions of ourselves over time.