Principles for Success1

Principles for Success.
An ultra mini-series adventure in 30 minutes and in eight episodes. Episode one, The Call to Adventure. Before we begin, let me just establish the fact that I don't know much relative to what I need to know. Whatever success I've had in life has more to do with my knowing how to deal with my not knowing than anything I know. That I should be telling other people what to do sounds kind of presumptuous to me. But I'm going to do it because I believe that the principles that have made me successful could help other achieve their own goals. I'm now at a stage in my own life in which it is much more important to me to pass along what I've learned about how to be successful than to seek more success for myself. What you choose to do with these principles is up to you. You have to be an independent thinker because only you can develop your own principles based on your own values. This brings me to my first and most fundamental principle which is that you need to think for yourself about what is true. So let's get started. Early on, I've discovered I needed principles. Principles are smart ways for handling things that happen over and over again in similar situations. There are principles for everything. From skiing, to parenting, to cooking, and so on. I'm going to share some of my most important overarching life principles that influence how we approach everything that we do. I didn't start out with principles, I acquired them over a lifetime of experiences. Mostly from making mistakes and reflecting on them. My life principles are simple but they're not complete. I still struggle to make the best decisions and I still make mistakes and learn new principles all the time. This is the reality. At the beginning, I needed to escape the conventions that surrounded me which meant that I needed to think for myself. Unless you want to have a life that is directed by others, you need to decide for yourself what to do and you need to have the courage to do it. But I didn't know that at first. I only learned that from going on my adventure. Looking back on my own journey, I now see that time is like a river, that carries us forward into encounters with reality that require us to make decisions. We can't stop our movement down this river and we can't avoid the encounters. We can only approach them in the best possible way. In your lifetime, you will face millions of decisions. The quality of your decisions will determine the quality of your life. Over the course of my lifetime, the most valuable things I've learned were the results of mistakes I've reflected on to help form principles so I wouldn't make the same mistakes again. These principles took me from being a very ordinary middle-class kid from Long Island to becoming very successful as judged by conventional measures. They also gave me the meaningful work and meaningful relationships that I value even more than these conventional successes. People often ask me how I did it. I can assure you it wasn't because of my uniqueness as a person. It was the result of a unique approach to life I believe almost anybody can adopt. It starts with embracing reality and dealing with it. In episode two, I'll explain what that means.