The Principles Of Life That Everyone Knows, But Only A Few Follow

Early 2015 I was pretty frustrated with my career. Just a year earlier I said goodbye to my entrepreneurial aspirations and took a job at an IT-research firm in London.

Normally, that’s a good thing. The pay was good, so were the benefits, and I had great colleagues. But it wasn’t for me — I felt like I gave up entrepreneurship.

And on top of that, my personal life wasn’t great either. My girlfriend and I decided to end our relationship. And in that same week, my grandmother, who I loved dearly, passed away suddenly.

I felt a lot of things. But mostly, I was felt like I didn’t understand life. Have you ever thought about it?

What is life? What are you supposed to do? It’s not like babies are shipped with manuals that teaches them to be awesome human beings.

For the first time in my life, I started looking for answers because I was tired of just living/existing without purpose.

When I went back to Holland for the funeral, I also caught up with one of my mentors. The last time we spoke was over a year ago — before I moved to London.

I told him the whole story, and he said:

“Even though there’s no right or wrong way to live your life, there are certain universal principles that lead to a happy, wealthy, and healthy life.”

Naturally, I asked him, “what principles?”

In a Mr. Miyagi way he said:

“I think you know the principles. Everyone does. But 99% of all people don’t do what they know.”

That’s about the best, and most bad-ass pieces of wisdom I’ve ever heard in my life.

People hardly do what they say. That was also the story of my life.

So for the next year or so I spent thinking, reading, and researching to find the principles my mentor was talking about.

I asked myself: What are things that people talk about, but they never do?

Here’s what I came up with until now.

1.No Strain, No Gain

We often talk about doing all kinds of crazy shit. Climb mountains, run marathons, skydive, start businesses, travel the world, write books, record albums, make movies, the list is endless.

Just think about what’s on your bucket list for a second. Now, can I ask you one thing? Why haven’t you done those things?

The answer almost always comes down to this: It’s hard.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but life is SUPPOSED to be hard!

That’s probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned. Don’t shy away from hard things. Instead, train yourself to become a person that can endure difficulties. Physically and mentally.

The cliché is 100% true: No strain, no gain. If you don’t strain your muscles, they get weak. If you don’t strain your brain, your cognitive ability will decline. If you don’t test your character, you become spineless.

“If you rest, you rust.” — Helen Hayes

2. Avoid Negativity At All Cost

Again, everybody knows this, but I almost never see people apply this in their life.

They put up with negativity at work, at home, with their friends, family.

And it’s not weird. Because everywhere you look, there’s negativity. In fact, people are inherently negative. That’s how we’re hardwired.

That’s why you see so much complaining, lying, blaming, backstabbing, jealousy, bullying, in the world.

But here’s the thing: All those things keep you from living a healthy and wealthy life. So why do you let yourself be exposed to negativity?

The problem with us, humans, is that we always see the good in people.

  • “He means well.”
  • “She’ll turn around.”
  • “He didn’t mean to hurt me.”
  • “Things will change.”

You know that you can’t change people, right? So why try? People only change when THEY decide to change.

It’s best to avoid negativity. At all cost.

3. Give More Than You Take

As a baby, you’re taken care of. Your parents give you food, shelter, and if you’re lucky, a lot of love. Even if you had a bad childhood — you’ve been given many things like education, food, etc.

Weirdly enough, that behavior of taking things tends to stick with us as we grow up. We think it’s normal to take, take, take. In fact, we think we SHOULD get everything we want.

I was in the same boat for many years. But looking back, I was delusional. We’re not entitled to anything.

Who says you SHOULD get that job you applied for? Or the promotion that you want? Or the hot girl/guy at the gym? Or widespread success?

Instead of always focusing on what you want from the world, start thinking about what you have to offer.

Life is not about taking. Please, do yourself a favor, and start giving more. But don’t be surprised if you also receive more.

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” — Jim Carrey

Helping others is the most important thing you will ever do in your life.

4. Time Is More Valuable Than Money

Out of all the resources in the world, time is the most valuable resource you have.

“Yeah dude, I know that by now.”

But why do we collectively spend time like we have an unlimited supply of it?

Do you ever stop and think about how much time you have left on this earth? Let’s say you get to live to 80 years. Just do the math. It’s not that long if you keep wasting your time.

Be more selective with your time. Don’t squander it like you can always get it back. Sure, you can always earn back the money that you’ve spent, but you can never earn back time.

Once you spend time, it’s lost forever.

5. Create Your Own Path

We look at others and view them as examples. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, bosses, mentors, authors, entrepreneurs, artists.

I’ve done that too. In fact, I still do it. Learning from others is one of the best things that I’ve done. Being humble is a good thing.

But here’s the catch: You’re not all those people. You are you.

That means one simple thing: Get off the beaten path, and create your own.

Of course, traveling the road that has been paved by others is much easier. But it’s not fulfilling. And accomplishment weighs more than money, status, and even comfort.

Don’t be afraid to go into an unknown direction. Go places where people never been before.

How do you know you’re going somewhere new? People will likely not understand you. And that’s a good thing.

“Men almost always walk in paths beaten by others and act by imitation.” — Niccolò Machiavelli

6. Do Whatever Life Expects Of You

Look, life is random. Why are you born to your parents? Why do you live where you live? Why were you bullied at school? Why, why, why?

Do you have the answers? I doubt it.

Instead of wishing that things were different, accept the circumstances of your life. No matter how bad they are.

Things are what they are. Look at it this way: Regardless of where you are in life, you are there for some reason. God, the universe, invisible forces.

It doesn’t matter what it is. But when life expects something from you, show up and play your part.

7. Life Moves In One Direction

You can live in three different time dimensions in your head.

  1. The past
  2. The future
  3. The present

If you live in the past, you’re stuck in “why” mode. That means you always think about why things happened. That’s a recipe for unhappiness.

If you live in the future, you live in “what if” mode. That state of mind causes anxiety about everything that MIGHT happen in the future. Again, that’s a recipe for living a timid life.

You know that damned well. You also know that there’s only one ACTUAL time dimension; the present.

Why don’t we live in the present? There are millions of things that prevent us from living in real time.

One thing that has helped me let go of the past and future is to understand this: Life keeps moving forward — it doesn’t care what I think or do, so I might as well not waste my time on stuff I can’t control.

If you look at it from a practical point of view, it doesn’t make sense to question the things that happen in our life — we just have to keep moving forward.

There you have it — stuff you know, but you don’t do. I can’t guarantee a good life if you follow all principles. But when you follow these principles, you have more respect for the subtlety of life.

Because these principles have one goal: Get the most out of life. And that’s the only point there is.



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  1. This goddamn fellaz get it done for (many) more and more again yeah!

    Your story at 1,2,3,5 and 6 deadly agree. Especially when we also have the same ‘bad fucking years’ in 2015 :). I was divorced, while my ‘friends’ (used to they told the same way as a ‘friends’ 🙂 gone away. They prefer not being ‘rook in the end of the game’.

    Actually, at no 7. i was trapped at first phase of your point at ‘the past’. Ehmm, i knew its gonna be useless, irrational for combining your present with ‘past’. That’s why im gettin advanced serious-mode on psychology – neuro learning. To get it done! sweep away the past!

    And, one point i was concidentally following you also: get the mentors and be you!

  2. This post I actually first saw on Medium and loved it so much I thought I’d check it out here and re-read it.

    I can’t agree more with this post, what I get from it is (in basic terms): 99% of people talk the talk, but only 1% actually walk the walk.

    I even see myself sometimes not doing what I preach, it can be hard to do it 24/7 365. It’s all a progress game and I think that only those who want to get better and start walking the walk will begin to do so.

    Epic post, loving your content! 🙂

  3. “If you live in the past, you’re stuck in “why” mode. That means you always think about why things happened. That’s a recipe for unhappiness.”

    Damn right!

    And give more than you take… I really want to remind myself of that everyday. This is crucial.

    Thanks, awesome article once again.

  4. Wow… amazing post Darius. Especially this:
    “I think you know the principles. Everyone does. But 99% of all people don’t do what they know.”

    Will definitely be sticking around for more good stuff!

  5. Amazing is deep is deep. But99% perspiration only 1%inspiration.
    I pray then pry what’s internet world is art. Pokemon Go viral……

    I think you know the principle of life.
    If you live like PM Najib plans big push to teach digital skills from next year.Iwant the children to think and dream BIG.VG.DIGITAL PM TO DO DIGITAL ECONOMY.
    I think you also read ABOUT me in Facebook. Why your messages reach me when I poke ” pry”

  6. Amazing article!! Things are so simple but we tend to complicate our life. I found your article “Self reliance is the secret sauce to consistent happiness” in Medium app. I loved it very much! I read all your articles! They are mind blowing!! Thanks!! 🙂

  7. Really like your thought process and definitely like your blog…
    just couldn’t help but share my story ..feeling like total failure .. no personal life as such, working in the same job which I am not sure if I like for 10 years expecting promotion and no promotion yet ,juniors are being promoted … achievement as of today …nilll…. feels as if I am living life to fulfill others expectations like that of my parents …..that’s my sad story

    Now lucky story
    As soon as I graduated I got the job though I feel I wasn’t that competent to get the job got good boss and later on joined second company which again is the biggest MNC in my segment and got good opportunity and last six year I have been earning decently with not much headache on professional front , I have a good family with healthy parents a brother and sister …what more can I ask for !!!

    I am so confused …

  8. I feel you, I just broke up with my girfriend after 4 years, lost my job and house and my grandma that I love she is very old. I liked point 1 and point 7, living in the past freaking ruin us!

  9. Thanks for sharing this, I can really see how true life is and how pure it is within peoples grasp. We are in the very bowl of life but can’t suck in the textures or endure the heat of it while other taste the spices the radiancy and the smell. Go with your flow and if you don’t have your own flow make your own. This article has really helped me today, I hope you are able to see beyond and within what you see now, never stop.

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