T Nation

Life Principles

I have a lot of thoughts here. In order to not clutter @T3hPwnisher’s thread, let’s discuss here.

Thoughts everyone? Are heuristics a cute Instagram description or something guiding?



See, I thought necrophilia fit right in to that discussion.

I’d like to reply to what @anna_5588 said in the other thread:

“I was extremely arrogant in thinking that I can have established “life principles” outside of basic decent human behaviour at my age”

At what age - 18? 19?

Go read about Jack Lucas. He forged his mother’s signature to get himself into the military at age 14. Three years later, while in a trench on Iwo Jima, a grenade rolled in there next to him and his friends. He yelled for them to get out of there and dove on top of the grenade, saving all of them and nearly killing himself. At 17 years old. He decided at that age, in a split second where 99.999% of us would run, cower, or freeze, that he would give his life to save his friends.

I think the problem is that most people have principles that they compromise any time they have a reason to, so the question is, are your principles unwavering?


Ive been spoiled and have never had to face any real adversity that would challenge them so I don’t know

  • Principles are meaningless
  • Principles guide decision making

0 voters

You have a particular internal struggle that absolutely qualifies as adversity, and affects your lifting and your life and livelihood simultaneously. You say you have principles, so ask yourself if they hold steady when it comes time to deal with your struggle, or if you revert to what feels safe.

Plus, my answer to your comment had more to do with the fact that you said “at my age”, which meant that no one your age could possibly have created viable and powerful principles, to which I say, poppycock.

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I definitely feel that my age has limited me in having the experience necessary to develop principles. None of “My principles” are unique to me- just ones from wiser ppl that have resonated with me

You’re living with a life-threatening and often progressive condition in the midst of a pandemic featuring a virus that disproportionately targets those with preexisting conditions. That could be a catalyst for developing a principle concerning your health and safety, no? Your age isn’t the factor that’s preventing you from exploring that.

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Ya, I interjected quite a bit of my own life principles and worldviews into this, while simultaneously saying that such things don’t exist!

I think most of your post is in regards to the importance of hard work and discipline in everything in life and how those can be the fundamental life principle?

My answer- I totally agree with you. In fact, I think hard work and discipline are the absolute basic prerequisite to achieving anything goal related.

But, here’s the kicker to my world view/principle on this, I think hard work and discipline are such basic prerequisites that they, onto themselves, do not explain “success”. They are absolutely required for success to the point that they do not explain why people succeed. Everyone who succeeded in pursuing their goals has incredible hard work ethic and discipline, but did they succeed primarily because they had incredible work ethic and discipline? I currently lean towards saying no.

Regarding the “nutritional voodoo”- I thought that was in reference to the stuff like “don’t mix carbs and fat in the same meal” and other things T3hPwnisher came up with as he ate and saw what happens to his body. Stuff that makes sense to his body but may not be necessary/good for others.

I’ll be back with more.

Back from lunch-

Perhaps I misunderstood what life principles mean?

If we take the fat loss thing for example, a lot of the strategies people come up with are an attempt to make the basic principle of “eat less and you will lose weight” easier for people to deal with.

Of course, all of those lie on the basic foundation of hard work and discipline. You can know the principle, but if you lack said basic foundation then you’ll probably go nowhere.

I suppose the unfortunate part is that people often fail to recognize when they didn’t genuinely try hard in pursuing a certain goal.

That is the crux of my belief when it comes to hard work and discipline- they can be considered the bedrock of all principles and strategies to achieve a goal. You cannot realistically think you’ll be able to apply those principles without having that foundation.

So, when say I “life principle”, I meant more specific rules or guidelines. Like those rules you’d read in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” or " How to Become CEO: The Rules for Rising to the Top of Any Organization".

These all speak of guidelines or rules that seem to work in helping you achieve a certain goal. However, whether they truly apply in a general “life” sense seems debatable.


Here are “mine”:

  1. Nothing is free

  2. Respect others to get respect

  3. There’s always more to be done, so do it

  4. Master the mundane

  5. Everything is harder when put off to Tomorrow

I’ve been pretty good about these, but struggle with number 3- netflix… too… tempting… :sweat_smile:

Just kidding, but while I think you are very great at pushing yourself, do remember this. Anything, be it human or machine, will eventually break down if pushed to the limits and never given time to rest or recover, and given your personality, I think you will find the recovery time from a potential physical/mental breakdown much harder to deal with than the odd afternoon here or there spent watching Netflix.

In high school (ha, like that should’ve been that hard), this happened to me. I was waking up at 3am-4am daily to deliver newspapers, running a couple miles to the local Y, lifting, running home, going to school, going to sports practice, coming home, doing chores, eating dinner, doing homework till 11pm, then repeating it. Weekends weren’t a whole lot better. I also come from a family that brings a lot of drama and stress into each other’s lives, so there was always that, and I’ve played a big role in helping take care of my four younger siblings.

At the time I was handling things okay, and then one day it just stopped working. There was a pretty significant family issue, I briefly left home at 16, I got a concussion and then a hip injury, and started failing almost all of my classes when I’d been a straight-A student (making me ineligible for sports). I became very depressed and stopped doing pretty much anything good for me. What little I did accomplish was done at the last minute and was always the bare minimum, not the above and beyond stuff I’d done before.

A older mentor type person in my life told me he was glad everything had come to a halt. Not because he enjoyed seeing me in pain and struggling, but because he had long felt that I pushed myself too hard and never stopped to enjoy life. And keep in mind that I was a teenager, not some 40 year old trying to make it on Wall Street. I should’ve made some memories and had some fun. I didn’t. I never hung out with friends or did any teenager stuff, choosing to work instead of play 9.9 times out of 10. I’m still working on learning that lesson, but the breakdown of everything forced me to begin the learning process. I couldn’t keep going at that pace forever. I don’t think most people can, at least not without sacrificing some happiness.

Anyway, don’t mean to clutter up the thread or throw my opinions at you, but I see these comments pretty consistently from you and am just giving you my perspective, as a person who’s at a pretty similar stage in life as you, compared to all these old dudes (jk).

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WHAT!!! No one (especially not a high school student) should have to go through that. My parents didn’t even have to go through 1/2 of that (they grew up in 1970’s China)

I’d like to think I work pretty hard, but that’s hardly the case when I spend hours everyday doing essentially nothing

I try (and fail) to live by the Gospel. Aside from that some good old wisdom from my father.

  1. Don’t believe anything you read and half of what you see.

  2. I could shit bricks if I had a square asshole.

  3. Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills first.

  4. Barking dogs seldom bite.

  5. That’s what you get for thinking.


I don’t understand this one

The emphasis is the word IF. Whenever someone would say they COULD do something IF… He would counter, " I could shit bricks if i had a square asshole." Basically a way of saying stop making excuses.


It’s fine, haha. I was busy but hardly worth complaining about. It’s a gift to be able to work and earn money and to receive an education.

Anyway, that was all just to illustrate that my behavior wasn’t sustainable. (At least for me.) It sounds great and like what a lot of people wish they acted like, but there’s a happy medium in there where people work hard and are productive, and also have downtime to do something enjoyable. You need to find that. Everyone does. Once you have, then begin allowing yourself to be okay with it, and not telling yourself you’re wasting time.

I think I’ve seen @dagill2 mention it in your log (others probably have too) but Dan John’s rule is great. I honestly don’t remember the four points but I think it’s like work, rest, pray and something else. Learn how to balance and learn HOW TO BE OKAY with that decision.

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Work, rest, play and pray. Pray being extended to mean any kind of reflection or meditation.

It’s a theme that comes up in many places. Steven R Covey (mentioned above), would call it working on your Production Capacity which might fit better with your mindset.


Here’s my first stab at my principles. I have more, but they’re on my computer.

  • People don’t need more time, they need a deadline.
  • Bad news doesn’t get better with time
  • It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate
  • If I love someone, I am committed to never intentionally hurt them. If I cause them pain, it’s a miscommunication or a missed expectation.
  • Never fight (with spouse) over money
  • Be indifferent to what makes no difference
  • Once a decision is made, give my 100% even if I disagree with it
  • If someone succeeds in provoking me, I was complicit in the provocation
  • it’s ok to make mistakes, unacceptable not to learn from them
  • There’s no free lunch
  • Don’t take advice from someone, who is paid to give advice unless there is consequence for giving bad advice
  • Do not engage in business with someone if you don’t know their incentive
  • If you live for the praise of men, you will die by their criticism
  • You can’t convince someone of something they are incentivized to ignore.

Most of these come from reading (really listening to) the stoics.


I have a few things I learned over the past few years which have gone a long way in helping me be more at peace with myself, calm the internal storm I used to have all the time, and improved my mood and quality of life from a psychological standpoint consistently.

  1. It’s probably not worth it–I tell this myself when I’m stressing over something, or I catch myself struggling and really putting in energy into something that, in the end, is probably not worth all the mental energy. Will this matter in a year? In ten years? Heck, maybe this won’t matter in a week. Stop and think about whether you’re working towards something worthy of your time and energy or just letting the outside world suck your soul out.

  2. People don’t really care about you–Maybe a politically incorrect opinion, but here comes the important part: You should not hold this against anyone. It’s okay that people don’t really care. It’s human nature; there is no need to be angry or sad about this. Which brings us to…

  3. If and when you find someone that is willing to sacrifice some of their time for you, do absolutely everything you can to hold those people close to you. Don’t let them go. It’s so rare to find somebody that truly cares about you, that when you do you can consider yourself as luck as somebody who won the lottery jackpot.

  4. Show appreciation. Never take anything for granted, and be grateful for what you have. Even the things that are the most trivial to you.

  5. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it–I don’t know where this quote is from, but it stuck with me and I feel it resonating every day. Always be the one who ultimately takes the decision about what your next day is going to look like; don’t let someone else or an external event decide for you.

  6. 99% of the reasons you think you have for not doing something you should be doing are excuses. Pretty straightfoward. Gotta lose weight? quit smoking? find a job? Do it. Which brings us to…

  7. The power is ultimately yours. Barring extreme conditions, you and only you can achieve what you’re after. This was one of the most liberating realizations I’ve ever had. This puts all the power in your hands. It’s up to you.

  8. Lay one brick at a time. The biggest achievements are nothing but the result of hard, consistent work for a long, long time. You don’t need to get to your end goal today. Be joyful for having laid a brick though, that’s all you had to do for today and you did it.

  9. Alway expect more from yourself than the others. That way, when everybody else lets you down, you can look at yourself in the mirror and still be proud of who you are. You are going to spend more time with yourself than anybody else throughout your life.

  10. Always be honest. This is one of the toughest ones, and I believe it’s next to impossible for someone to always get this right. Being honest, to me, doesn’t just mean telling the truth. Be honest about your weaknesses; in fact, own them.

These are just some off the top of my mind, that I try to implement every day and I really work towards.
I feel like there is still a ton of learning I’ll have to do before becoming who I want to be, but I also think I have learned a lot of stuff and made lots of progress over the past few years.


Almost forgot, heard Wendler say this and I repeat it all the time.
“The only thing you truly have control of in life is your attitude.”

Most people can’t live up to the expectations they set for everybody else.