I find that I learn a lot from seeing the way other people choose to live life and why, so I offer these as some of the principles that’ve helped me achieve the person I am so far.
- There’s nothing I “should” want. There’s only the things I do want, and their consequences. Ultimately, I want to get as much out of life as possible, and recognizing that some things undercut that (rabid alcoholism/drug use, dishonesty, acting on fear, etc.) means I don’t do those – but only because I want more. There’s no diktat saying I must not pursue them. If I wanted those and nothing more, I’d take them without thinking twice. “God said, ‘Take what you want, and pay for it.'”
- Life is about achieving values. Pain, suffering, fear, discomfort, toil, extreme patience: none of those costs matter. What matters is achieving the things I want in my life – building a life full of the people and things I love. Life is hard, and achieving those things is a demanding task; but that doesn’t matter, because there’s nothing else worthwhile for me. I pursue those, I die, or I exist in that living death that’s a life not spent on my own happiness and fulfillment. There’s no other option. “I will pay the price, but I will not count the cost.”
- Radical honesty is the best policy. I could spend life hiding the uncomfortable parts of myself from the world, the ones that cause fear, judgment, or hostility from others, the ones that might push people away. But then I’d be living a life that’s not me. Any values I would get – any jobs, any relationships, any thing – wouldn’t be based on me being who I am, but on the lie I’m living. Everything I have wouldn’t be an expression of me, but an emphasis on the fact that I don’t live “me.”
- Good things will come to those who are virtuous. I know that certain values – relationships, fulfillment, happiness – come from living by certain principles (the Objectivist morality, although you have to decide for yourself whether you think it’s correct). I can choose to live by those, and trust that I will achieve those results. I don’t have to worry that I won’t find a girl I love if I put in the work – I can trust that the archetype of the one I want (the one who holds certain values that I do) will see my value and desire me for those values.
- I can trust myself. I want to live. I want to achieve the best possible to me. The fact that I’d even worry that I didn’t want to be the best, means that I care about it. I don’t need to force myself to be good; I can let myself go and I’ll want to pursue it.
These are some of the biggest ones in my life. What’re yours?