Years ago, I set out to make a list of things I believed with a relative degree of certainty to be true. I created a list with a few dozen items and then set out to challenge each of those beliefs by reading at least five books that presented a different view. My reasoning was that if I was correct in those beliefs, questioning them would only help me better understand and strengthen my position. And if I was wrong, it was even more important to question and find where I wasn’t correct.
As Charlie Munger said, “I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”
This simple exercise began a much-longer journey of re-evaluating beliefs. I was left with a much shorter list and a lot of new perspective on life. The initial list had many statements related to religion, relationships and how the world should work. The current list reflects the realization that almost everything I can know for sure to be true or affect the outcome lies within my own ability to create or change.
Now, this is a continual process for me, and this is the current list:
- I can learn something from every single person I encounter in life.
- Experiences are almost always better (and more memorable) than gifts.
- Travel is one of the best (and cheapest) teachers.
- Time and health are our most valuable resources and the ones we often value the least.
- Happiness is 100% a choice.
- I am happiest when I focus on the things within my ability to control: my own actions, emotions and responses and not the things I can’t control (other people, world events, etc). Or as Naval Ravikant said: A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of their control.
- Freedom is most often found in taking complete personal responsibility for my actions and life decisions.
- With great responsibility comes great power.
- Compound interest is an underutilized superpower (in money, learning and relationships).
- It’s infinitely more valuable to understand deeply than to be right.
- Nothing is gained from a victim mentality, even if you are actually a victim.
- Very often we don’t need more knowledge or education but to ask better questions.