Inspired by my friend Liam’s cataloging of his core beliefs, this is my non-exhaustive attempt to capture some of my philosophy in words. This page is a work in progress and I’ll add things as I think of them. I kept waiting to post until I was done and realized that was never going to happen, so here you go!
Core beliefs describe mental models I believe describe useful ways of understanding of operating in the world.
Reality Always Wins
When we don’t understand or we intentionally ignore reality, we eventually lose. Sometimes we get lucky, some times we don’t, recognizing what is real gives us an advantage. This doesn’t mean be a pessimist, or that blind optimism isn’t the best move. I just recognize that discerning when optimism is the right move and when something is futile is what’s important. If your current path is blocked my reality, find a better one.
Start Before You’re Ready
I had this written and pinned up on an index card in my art studio for a long time. I never feel ready to make things until about 10 minutes after I’ve started. The most reliable way I’ve found to create motivation to make things is to get started. When I wait for motivation to hit me, it doesn’t.
Don’t Misuse Your Imagination
I’m a bit of a worrier, as such, I’m pretty good at coming up with reasons why things are going to fail. It’s somewhat just the habit of an engineer, but it’s also something that can be paralyzing when taken too far. There’s no reason that one has to use their imagination to only think of why things won’t work out. You can also use it to imagine how everything can work out. I find it’s good to have a balance and not misuse my imagination to make things seem worse than they are.
Perfection Isn’t Possible, but Improvement Usually Is
You can make yourself neurotic measuring against perfection. Implied in this way of thinking is negative judgement that something is wrong if everything doesn’t live up to a fantasy version of the world. Often this is objectively false, in that lots of life can’t be measured. Instead, I find it more useful to look at an outcome and ask what I learned or what I would do to improve next time. This is a much easier to find actionable changes compared to searching for false perfection.
Values describe moral beliefs I hold about the world.
Leave the World Better Than I Found It
Humans hopefully have many thousands or millions of generations left in the universe, but without technological advancement, we won’t be able to survive forever on earth. I’m not under the illusion that I can make more than a small dent in our thriving as a species, but with the effects of compounding, if everyone can add just a bit more to our collective capacity as a species, we can make the world a much better place to live for future generations as well as extend the likely survival time of the human race. I’d like to finish life having given a solid nudge for the better.
This Might Be All We Get, Enjoy It
At its most reductive, being a human is a bizarre culmination of physics, chemistry, biology, neurology, etc. There may be more to it, but there may not be. In a bit of a reversal of Pascal’s wager, I’d rather balance the limited time I have doing things that are valuable for others with things that make me happy. If the two overlap, then all the better.