Effective Living – Part 2 – What is It? (Relationships)

Welcome to part 2 of the Effective Living series!

This time we will explore the relationships between the components to Effective Living. There will be special attention given to the principles, since they form the most foundational chunk of Effective Living.

A lot of concepts were introduced last time, so we will begin with a summary.

 

Recap

Last time we saw that Effective Living is a framework that aims to remove the fluff and focus on what’s relevant to living effectively, however you wish to define that. Implementing the framework leads to Effective Action, which is a personalized set of character traits, values, systems of habits, personal objectives, and behaviors.

The whole objective behind Effective Living is to provide a concise blueprint that allows for Effective Action. To improve your odds of success by living in accordance with discovered principles and concepts that have proved useful during my own exploration.

The foundational motivation behind Effective Living is the realization that because we are conscious, we must learn how to live.

We’ve introduced the core components that are behind Effective Living. Just as wheels, body, engine, seats, etc. are components to a vehicle which form the larger system, Effective Living is made up components that form the foundation.

These components were the following:

  • Principles
    • Consists of a general set of 3, broad, non-negotiable principles and a larger set of foundational principles.
  • Identity
    • Who you view yourself as is likely an identity that your environment chose for you. This is known as the “Default Identity”, it is our first identity, but does not need to remain our identity. We can choose who we want to be.
  • Mindset
    • You can see your skills as either fixed or able to be developed. A mindset that promotes growth is a mindset that promotes Effective Action.
  • Meta
    • Learning how to live is a necessary part of being conscious. Due to our ability to be conditioned against our very nature leaves us vulnerable to abusing properties of life such as pleasure and pain to the degree of dysfunction. Stigmas and shame can be attached to natural, nature-given, desires that leaves us feeling helpless, confused, and full of uncertainty.
  • Practices
    • There are a few practices that are recognized as a necessary part of Effective Living. These should be included in someway if you are to promote Effective Action to the max. Broadly speaking, these include meditation and journaling in all of their various forms. A strong emphasis is given to journaling.

The Principles component is of special interest due to the foundational information that is introduced.

The 3 general principle of life are:

  • Movement
  • Nutrition
  • Rest

Every living organism requires these in some form. Even plants move in such a way as to absorb the most sunlight. Plants also have periods of rest in order to process what nutrition they’ve consumed from the sun and soil.

These are necessary in order for life to function, they are non-negotiable. It is as if life was like “oh, you want to live? Okay, go for it, but you must keep these 3 principles in check”. If any of these 3 principles are out of balance, then disease and dysfunction will ensue. Your ability to engage in Effective Action will be greatly hindered if these general principles of life are not met.

Each of these general principles encompass each of the more granular principles below. The general principles are meant as a summary of what is most relevant in taking Effective Action. To maximize these 3 aspects of life, the proper implementation of the below, more foundational, principles is required.

In addition to the general principles above, there are more granular principles. These more specific principles are comprised within each of the 3 general principles above and are considered to be the most foundational principles to life, as is relevant to Effective Living.

The principles are below, split in two groups starting from the most foundational:

  • Principle of Simplicity
    • Perfection isn’t when you have no more to add, but no more to take away.
  • Principle of Good Enough
    • Diminishing returns begin to kick in when you violate the 80/20 rule.
  • Principle of Adaptation
    • Stress is the motivation for change in life. The body adapts to its environment.
  • Principle of Entropy
    • Things tend towards chaos. Maintaining balance is an active process.
  • Principle of Relativity
    • A change in perspective produces a change in reality.
  • Principle of Perception
    • A change in interpretation produces a change in reality.
  • Principle of Control
    • Know what you can and can’t control. Focus on what you can control.
  • Principle of Conditionals
    • Given a consistent set of factors, consistent results can be produced.
  • Principle of Probability
    • The future is ambiguous, discovering relevant factors isn’t always practical.
  • Principle of Balance
    • There is no one extreme that ought to be held indefinitely.

 

  • Principle of Exploration
    • Utilize creativity, curiosity, and an open mind to discover what life has to offer.
  • Principle of Reflection
    • Integrate what you discover into your being by applying careful retrospection.
  • Principle of Depth
    • There is always more. Focus on what level of abstraction is relevant.
  • Principle of Creation
    • Increase your value by producing something useful. Minimize consumption.
  • Principle of Action
    • Live life actively. The more you engage, the faster you adapt. Up the intensity.
  • Principle of Routine
    • Things come and go. Synchronize with the cycles of life and build your own.
  • Principle of Variation
    • Variation is the norm. The one constant in life is change.
  • Principle of Contradiction
    • No single interpretation works in all situations.
  • Principle of Initial Conditions
    • Things that occur earlier on in the life of a system have greater influence.
  • Principle of Compound Impact
    • All life is incremental. Start where you are right now and build from there.

Now we will explore the relationships between the components. While reading, keep in mind the big idea: Everything is Connected.

 

The Relationships

Big Idea: A system is made up of individual components that work in synergy.

Basically: Life is complex, there are a lot of parts, their interaction forms this complexity.

Components

To begin, let’s consider the ordering of the components:

  1. Principles
  2. Identity
  3. Mindset
  4. Meta
  5. Practices

This ordering is intentional. Let’s explore the reasoning behind this.

Principles

Principles, as we have seen, form the foundation on which everything else is built. These are meant to be discoveries, or self-evident facts, based on observation through exploration and experimentation.

Identity

Given the set of principles, life ensues. You are born, and after many years of living, the “chips fall where they may”, based on these principles and their balance within your environment. The result may be either mostly negative or mostly positive, but there will always be room for growth from this point. Where the “chips fall” (i.e. how things happen to result) in regards to your identity, is what I refer to as the “Default Identity”.

Your sense of identity contributes to how you view yourself and the world. It also contributes to your behaviors. During each moment you aim to live in accordance with whatever identity you lay claim over. Going against whatever identity you have will feel like death as the ego is fighting desperately to hold on. However, this is a necessary step towards Effective Living as it will allow you to live the life you choose and not the life that your environment chose for you.

Mindset

On top of Identity is a resulting Mindset. This means that however you view yourself will be the basis from which your mindset is formed. Identity can be thought of as the habitual, unconscious, behaviors while mindset can be thought of the thought patterns that result from such behaviors.

You may either view yourself as being capable or incapable. You may view failure and success as temporary or long-lasting. These tendencies come from the state of mind, or mindset, that you operate under. They are influenced by whatever sense of identity that you hold.

Meta

While mindset gives you the perspective through which you view the world, Meta is the taking a step back to understand the bigger picture. In particular, it refers to meta-living, a step back from living itself to learn how to live. Revisiting the bigger picture helps to ensure that you remain on the right track.

Examining the bigger picture is a form of reflection which leads to the integration of ideas and discoveries so that they are better remembered and understood for later use and combination.

Practices

With the principles of Effective living at the foundation, the identity you carry, the mindset you operate under, and the bigger picture all taken in consideration, the practical implementation can begin. The practices are built on top of the rest of the components because each practice takes into consideration everything else that makes up Effective Living.

 

The ordering is done in such a way as to emphasize the importance of each component as well as represent how one builds off of another. Consider a vehicle, where the wheels and steering functionality can be thought of individually, but they ultimately contribute to the correct operation of the machine through their interactions with one another. This is the idea of a system, each component contributes to the bigger picture, resulting in the correct operation of the machine. The components to Effective Living interact in a similar manner.

A system is only “complicated” due to the number of components involved and their delicate interactions with one another. Understanding each component in isolation and then how it relates to the bigger picture is an effective approach in understanding the system. That is the strategy that has been taken with introducing the components and now considering their relationships.

With that said, let’s now dive deeper into the Principles component, as that is the foundational piece of Effective Living.

Principles

Recall the list of principles that has been laid out:

  • Principle of Simplicity
  • Principle of Good Enough
  • Principle of Adaptation
  • Principle of Entropy
  • Principle of Relativity
  • Principle of Perception
  • Principle of Control
  • Principle of Conditionals
  • Principle of Probability
  • Principle of Balance
  • Principle of Exploration
  • Principle of Reflection
  • Principle of Depth
  • Principle of Creation
  • Principle of Action
  • Principle of Routine
  • Principle of Variation
  • Principle of Contradiction
  • Principle of Initial Conditions
  • Principle of Compound Impact

The ordering here is also important. This has been mentioned before, they are listed starting from most foundational. The two sections are also intentional. The top section are a set of the most granular principles such that they can’t be broken down much further. The bottom section consists of principles that could be argued as having some foundation from the first set of principles.

The bottom section is included as well due to the importance of the principle mentioned. Basically, it has been observed that the concept has occurred enough times, consistently, to be considered a principle in isolation.

Now let’s consider the relationships between each principle. We will do this by considering the top 3 most meaningful connections. If one principle references another, for novelty, I’ll aim to not repeat that reference when discussing the other principle. I’ll also aim, where possible, to refer to principles that are further down the list, rather than refer to a previous principle, in order to promote the relationships between the ordering.

Principle of Simplicity

Simplicity is the idea of focusing on what is relevant. What is relevant varies from objective to objective.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Good Enough
    • Simplify as much as you can as is relevant for the objective, but no further.
  • Principle of Relativity
    • What is considered simple is in the eye of the behold, it depends on the objective.
  • Principle of Perception
    • What you place your focus on grows. Focus is limited, too much in your sensory experience and you have distraction.
    • Simplifying, or choosing to focus on the most relevant information and disregarding the rest, promotes more effective development.
    • Deliberate Action, by means of drills, is one way to ensure this focus.

Principle of Good Enough

Diminishing returns can start to kick in after a point. Knowing what good enough is for your particular objective is important to prevent over simplification and missed opportunities.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Relativity
    • Your objective determines when good enough is met.
  • Principle of Adaptation
    • Good enough suggests that there is room for improvement. You can’t take action with 100% certainty of the future, so calibration is necessary.
  • Principle of Probability
    • What is considered good enough is inherently ambiguous. It requires experience and exploration.

Principle of Adaptation

The only true known is that there will always be unknowns. Things change from moment to moment, the future can not be known without knowing every factor that plays a role, and that, on the larger scale, is impractical. This is where Simplicity and Good Enough are important in order to focus on what is relevant and timely. The key is to be able to take action and then calibrate, this will give you experience that will help in future action.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Entropy
    • Variation is the norm. Things will be unstable. Focus on remaining flexible.
  • Principle of Conditionals
    • More experience suggests more educated guesses, it provides insight into the factors that contribute to an outcome. In this manner proper calibration can take place based on your past experience.
  • Principle of Probability
    • The future is not known, a new field of study or a new experience that you engage with will inherently have ambiguity. Maintain an open mind and focus on calibration. Focus on controlling what you can control.

Principle of Entropy

As time goes on, things will begin to decay. If proper care isn’t given then the natural course of dysfunction will ensue.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Relativity
    • What is considered chaos depends on what your individualized balance point is. If you exercise regularly, then climbing a flight of stairs would tilt you towards the chaos of exhaustion much less than if you didn’t exercise.
  • Principle of Control
    • When things get thrown off center, simplifying down to the things you can control and focus on only them will help to ensure progress amongst chaos.
  • Principle of Conditionals
    • The chaos experienced has a fundamental reason, even if you don’t see it at first. If chaos occurs in your life, it is time to look for the factors that are contributing.

Principle of Relativity

We individually experience the world through our sensory organs. Our brain wires itself based on the stimulus that is received from the environment. Because of this, our experience of the world is completely individualized based on the nuances of our environment and the compounding impact of the previous experiences.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Perception
    • Your reality is as you make it. It is highly influenced by your environment and past experiences, but it is the interpretations of each that lead to your perception of the world.
  • Principle of Control
    • Effective Action comes from focusing on what is within your Locus of Control. This is inherently individualistic and varies from person to person based on past experiences and your sense of ability.
  • Principle of Balance
    • The highs are balanced by the lows. What is considered high is relative based on what is considered to be low. From this idea, a wave is formed. There are ups, downs, and a peak. Each point’s intensity is relative based on where it is in the wave. Emotions take this wave-like form.

Principle of Perception

Everything you know, or think you know, is a construct of your mind based on the sensory information your body feeds it. Your brain’s default approach is to adjust in order to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Entropy
    • What is considered chaotic varies from person to person and depends on what your past experiences are and the interpretations of each. In other words, chaos is based on your perspective. A sudden perspective switch can lead to viewing order from chaos.
  • Principle of Control
    • From where you stand gives you a point of view, this point of view will either show you limitations or possibilities. The options that you have are based on your perspective, they are all relative and based on interpretations.
  • Principle of Probability
    • The various probabilities that future outcomes hold is dependent on your point of view, experience, and context. These are components in addressing ambiguity.

Principle of Control

There are a lot of factors that go into Effective Action. Some will be within your control and other will not be. Spending energy and time towards trying to control what you can’t control is wasteful.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Conditionals
    • The main factors that contribute to a particular outcome and that are within your control are the factors that deserve the majority of your focus.
  • Principle of Probability
    • While exploring what is in your control and what isn’t, it is important to maintain an open mind. This is so that the factors that contribute to a particular outcome as well as their relative weights can be updated as new information is discovered.
  • Principle of Balance
    • Initially, you may have no idea what is within your control. Experimentation along with trial and error is necessary in order to build an understand what you should focus your efforts on. But, spending too much time trying to look for factors that ultimately are not in your control begins to lead to diminishing returns. This is where balance between the exploration phase and the exploitation phase is important.

Principle of Conditionals

A situation is bound to repeat itself once the important factors reemerge in their appropriate quantities. There is a deep and logical reason behind everything that occurs, beyond any spiritual contemplation, but that can be traced back and objectively measured.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Exploration
    • With proper exploration the relevant factors of an event can be discovered and therefore the event can be repeated with certainty.
  • Principle of Reflection
    • Reflection provides an opportunity to uncover factors that play a key role in a particular outcome.
  • Principle of Depth
    • There are always more factors that play a role in an event, it is impractical to look for them all before taking action. Explore to gain a feel of what is relevant and important and then exploit by taking action and calibrating, This is a recursive process that continues repeatedly.

Principle of Probability

Certainty is an illusion. In order to take Effective Action a proper balance must be struck that takes in consideration the ambiguity inherent in nature. Explore some, and then exploit. Calibrate along the way.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Balance
    • Explore and exploit. Gain experience to learn what the proper balance is in order to take Effective Action. This is relative and varies from individual to individual, from subject to subject, and from situation to situation.
  • Principle of Reflection
    • Proper reflection allows for an opportunity to integrate your experience into your being such that relationships between factors and events can be discovered. These relationships provide quality to an experience that will allow for future ambiguity to be better addressed.
  • Principle of Action
    • Effective Action inherently comes from a place of activity. To increase your odds of success information is necessary, information that you currently don’t posses. Action is therefore required. Through action experience is obtained, and from this experience ambiguity begins to fade.

Principle of Balance

Too much of anything is a bad thing. Too much water can even kill you, it would at the very least cause an imbalance in the body that results in dysfunction. Moderation is key.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Exploration
    • Exploring exposes you to new information, that information is useless unless it is integrated into your current understanding. Spend time contemplating what you discover, you can do this through reflection. This ensures that the bigger picture is considered and clarifies how the new information relates to the old.
  • Principle of Reflection
    • Periods of activity should be balanced with periods of reflecting on that activity. A proper retrospective of what worked, what didn’t, and what can be improved on.
  • Principle of Depth
    • While you can always go deeper, sometimes it is important, especially at the start of endeavor, to go broad. Going broad promotes the development of the bigger picture and primes the mind for what is to come. Going broad is also useful for reflection.
    • So while depth is great to build an understand of a particular thing in isolation, it needs to be balanced with breadth in order to relate what you find to the bigger picture.

Principle of Exploration

Novelty adds spice to life. It engages the mind and paves the way for new experiences. Dysfunction occurs when there is a lack of motivation to explore, as if frequently the case after childhood (due to society’s conditioning). Approach life with a sense of curiosity.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Reflection
    • An experience gained through exploration gains meaning only when reflection takes place.
    • Exploration provides you with new information, reflection integrates that information and helps to cement it in your mind. Exploration must be paired with reflection to get the most out of the gained experiences.
  • Principle of Action
    • Effective Action involves engagement. Exploration inherently has a sense of engagement with it. As you explore you are out of your own head and in the world, open to possibilities. But, on the other side of the token, you could be exploring your inner world. In either case, engagement, and therefore action, is present.
  • Principle of Compound Impact
    • Experience gained from exploration can be used during future exploration, especially if proper reflection has been applied. This compound impact leads to more profound insights through a priming of the mind that paves the way for discovery.

Principle of Reflection

The true value of an experience comes after reflection of it. The experience allows for insights to be gained, but these insights can only be discovered through careful contemplation and spending more time thinking about the matter. Appropriate insights have the power to change your life, and reflection is how you get to them. Reflection is essentially taking an experience in isolation and relating it back to the bigger picture.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Adaptation
    • For adaptation to be effective, there must be an idea of what went well, what went wrong, and the whys to each. This is discovered through reflection.
  • Principle of Entropy
    • Reflection helps to ensure that particular aspects of your life, such as your health, don’t become oblivious for too long. Since everything tends towards chaos, when focus is not given to a particular aspect of your life, dysfunction ensues. Proper and regular reflection can help counteract this by providing appropriate, deliberate, attention to each aspect.
  • Principle of Routine
    • A regular review of your habits is necessary to ensure that you are on track. Habits are inherently unconscious actions. If they continue to go unconscious for too long without reflection, it can get to the point that you are only continuing the behavior out of tradition and habit, even past the point of dysfunction.

Principle of Depth

Your range of experience is narrow, it isn’t broad, it is limited. This means that you can’t experience the full spectrum of what stimulus is actually there, the amount of information would be far too overwhelming. Therefore, the range of stimulus that you experience can always vary, there is wiggle room since your range of experience doesn’t take up the full spectrum. It is all relative. This is to say that there will always be some variation to your experience. Where there is variation, there is novelty, and therefore, there is always more that can be discovered, an endless depth.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Probability
    • There is no limit to the number of factors that can contribute to a particular event or outcome. There is always more. In the very least, the number of factors can’t possibly be comprehended. Everything is connected and everything influences eachother. Every action has an equal an opposite reaction, everything in the universe is attracted (by gravity) to everything else, although to varying degrees.
  • Principle of Initial Conditions
    • The degree to which an initial condition impacts the future has no bounds. The longer the life of an event, the more the initial conditions will influence its course.
  • Principle of Compound Impact
    • The amount of impact that can compound on to a previous experience is indefinite.

Principle of Creation

Value is added through the addition of new information or services, these are developed through a process of creation. Creation is an incremental process based on creativity.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Adaptation
    • One thing that worked for a given use case before may not work for the current use case, but a new purpose can be given to the thing. The act of adapting something based on an objective is a creative process and therefore involves creation.
  • Principle of Action
    • The act of creating is an active process. It is not passive. It involves an activity of combining what is to form a new.
  • Principle of Compound Impact
    • All life is incremental. Value is added from taking what is currently available and combining it in some clever way to create a new thing.

Principle of Action

The more you engage with life, the more you will get out of it. The more you are passive, the more dysfunction will result. Value is the result of activity being taken, which is to say value is the result of action.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Adaptation
    • Change is inevitable. If you don’t “roll with the punches”, then you will be left behind. Being able to remain flexible to what happens requires a state of activity, both physical and mental.
  • Principle of Entropy
    • An aspect of your life that goes untouched for too long will get out of control, such as your weight. Action is necessary in order to keep the appropriate balance necessary for Effective Action.
  • Principle of Perception
    • When you choose your interpretations deliberately you gain control over how you perceive the world. This deliberation is very much an active process.

Principle of Routine

Repeated action forms new paths which become easier to go down the more they are used. This forms routines, or habits. Depending on the relevant system of habits, Effective Action can ensue, or dysfunction can ensue. A lifestyle and a mindset is formed through consistent action, which comes from a routine.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Simplicity
    • A routine is best built when all the irrelevant fluff is removed. Focusing on what is essential and keeping the bigger picture in mind allows for a routine that promotes Effective Action. A routine that is too complex leads to dysfunction as it becomes too tedious and distracting.
  • Principle of Entropy
    • As things tend towards chaos, you may apply actions to recenter them, but over time, things will inevitably return to chaos. This forms a cycle of action and reflection. To properly handle the chaotic and dynamic nature of reality, it is important to incorporate cycles where you revisit habits to reground yourself to the bigger picture. Effective Action is a repetitive dance from chaos to order.
  • Principle of Balance
    • While automation is useful for Effective Action, too much automation and automation that goes too long unchecked can easily turn into dysfunction. Many things in life can be represented as waves, from feelings to seasons. Synchronizing to these cycles and discovering your own, such as your circadian rhythm (i.e. sleep), provides the balance necessary for continual Effective Action.

Principle of Variation

From moment to moment, variation will occur. This is inevitable and to be accepted as a part of existence. Effective Action is utilizing the inevitable changes to make the most out of the situations that arise.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Adaptation
    • The dynamic nature of reality inherently leads to variation from moment to moment. When things are in motion, it is very easy to influence the direction of that movement.
  • Principle of Perception
    • How you view reality is different than how someone else views reality. Your perspective in one corner of the room will be different than your perspective from another corner. Your own interpretation of reality varies from past experiences, expectations, perspective, and many other factors.
  • Principle of Probability
    • Due to the ambiguous nature of reality, Effective Action is a process of constantly varying the degrees of possibility for interpretations in favor of a single interpretation. As new information is applied, from past experience or context, the likelihood of various interpretations will vary.

Principle of Contradiction

No one solution will solve all problems. There may even be many contradicting solutions for the same problem, depending on the objective and interpretation used.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Simplicity
    • The more something gets abstracted and simplified, the more the remaining properties may overlap with other categories. Therefore, the perspective taken from a particular level of abstraction can greatly influence how something is perceived.
  • Principle of Relativity
    • A contradiction may only be noticed when the appropriate context is applied through comparing two things relative to one another.
  • Principle of Perception
    • A change in perspective causes a change in reality, one that may even contradict the previous view. Optical illusions are a great example of this.

Principle of Initial Conditions

The onset is a fragile time. This is true for the beginning of anything, from life itself to a project you’re working on at work.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Entropy
    • The care taken during the onset of a thing determines the rate at which chaos occurs. Abuse leads to a rapid decline, and smothering leads to dysfunction.
  • Principle of Balance
    • Just like watering a flower with a balanced amount of water, not enough care can cause early decay and too much care can cause dysfunction.
  • Principle of Creation
    • An initial idea influences the direction that subsequent ideas may go in. The creation of one tool influences what other tools can be created with the initial one.

Principle of Compound Impact

One thing doesn’t just lead to the next, it influences the creation and direction of the next. One event has the potential to compound on a long chain of previous events causing a synergistic and outsized impact.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Simplicity
    • The process of simplifying is an incremental endeavor. One step at a time.
  • Principle of Perception
    • Your interpretation of the world contributes to how an experience of yours is understood and integrated into the bigger picture. This experience later influences future experiences as the world-view filter through which you view the world is modified more and more.
  • Principle of Initial Conditions
    • The sooner you can get a handle on something, the longer you will be able to reap the rewards and compound insights that result. The earlier an event occurs, the more future events there are that can be influenced by the earlier event.

 

The point here is that each principle has its place and is connected in some way to another principle. Everything is connected.

These principles make up the foundation for what Effective Living is all about.

Now we’ll consider these principles in relation to the Big Ideas of Effective Living.

Big Ideas

Recall these Big Ideas were:

We’ve covered each of these in some depth already. Let’s see how they relate to the Principles of Effective Living. I will highlight only 3 closely related principles for conciseness, although each idea is related back to each principle in some way.

Clarity

The basic idea of clarity is removing resistance to action. Proper preparation can help to mitigate the impact that obstacles may have on whatever your objective may be.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Simplicity
    • Proper clarity comes from simplicity
  • Principle of Perception
    • Clarity itself is a form of perspective, one with plenty of variation.
  • Principle of Reflection
    • The meaning obtained from effective reflection provides insights that promote clarity.

Awareness

That which is within your awareness is within your Locus of Control.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Adaptation
    • Awareness allows for a recognition of changes as they occur, this way you may remain on top of them.
  • Principle of Perception
    • Knowing that your perspective is limited by your positioning gives you the awareness necessary to remain open minded.
  • Principle of Control
    • Recognizing what is and isn’t in your control leads to Effective Action by encouraging your attention towards what is most relevant.

Deliberate Action

Effective Action comes from action that is deliberate and well-aimed.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Simplicity
    • Deliberate Action is a process of drilling the fundamentals and building up to more complicated ideas. This incremental approach requires first to deconstruct a larger skill or concept into its individual pieces. Concentrated effort can then be applied to understand each component.
  • Principle of Entropy
    • Since everything tends towards chaos, careful and deliberate action must be taken in order to recenter and find balance. A lot like the practice of mindfulness, which consists of returning your awareness to the present moment once it veers off course.
  • Principle of Action
    • Deliberate Action is inherently an active process. Continuing on in a passive manner will only lead to dysfunction and obliviousness to aspects of your life such as your health or relationships.

Intensity of Stimulus

The more concentrated a particular stimulus is, the more a related change will occur. Distraction is stimulus pulling you in various directions, where no single direction has focus. When focus is concentrated in a single desired direction, change and adaptations are far more likely to take place and at a much faster rate.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Adaptation
    • Change is inevitable, it can also take any direction. In order to influence the change to lead to Effective Action, the appropriate intensity and concentration must be applied.
  • Principle of Relativity
    • What is perceived as intense to you may vary to another individual, for example your level of fitness in running or weight lifting. All that is important is a higher degree of intensity than what you are used to.
  • Principle of Balance
    • Periods of intensity should be balanced with periods of reflection and recovery.

Challenge

All growth comes as a result of necessity. Friction can be thought of as this necessity. When you add friction, the sensation of challenge will bubble up. To maintain an effective degree of challenge that promotes growth, discipline is necessary.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Adaptation
    • In order for the changes that occur in life to be in a desired direction, discipline is necessary.
  • Principle of Depth
    • Depth can be tough to maintain as a lot of buried feelings may be discovered. With the proper discipline, you can get through this period of struggle and reap the benefits of self-discovery and ultimate removal of hidden past trauma.
  • Principle of Action
    • Remaining engaged in life means to avoid distracting yourself during times of struggle. This sort of engagement is far more meaningful. It also promotes Effective Action through the integration of discipline and other experiences or characteristics into your identity and sense of self.

Connection

Connection is all about contemplation of the bigger picture. This may take the form of pondering vastness of the universe, or feeling connected to some supreme entity or unifying force. Such contemplation diminishes the effects of ego.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Exploration
    • The process of contemplation inherently involves exploring. This mindset of exploration from a place of curiosity helps to bypass the urge to label stimulus as good or bad.
  • Principle of Creation
    • The act of creating is most effective when it feels as if it is coming from an energy that flows through you. This is basically the concept of psychological flow. Feeling a sense of connection promotes the ease for this energy to arise, the opposite of connection involves resistance which comes from a place of ego, a place of thinking that this should or shouldn’t be.
  • Principle of Compound Impact
    • Connection can lead to synchronicities occurring in your life as one thing leads to another in a seemingly fluid manner.

Meaning

The meaning of an event, situation, or information depends on how one interprets it. Given a different context and past experiences a different interpretation will occur. Since context and experience vary from person to person, the perspective that one has leads to completely unique experiences of reality.

Three Related Principles

  • Principle of Perception
    • Interpretations form the foundation of how one perceives the world. How you think about a particular situation or label a particular feeling determines how that experience modifies your reality.
  • Principle of Variation
    • Novelty of interpretation can be experience from just taking a step in a different direction. A new perspective promotes an open mind which is a key idea in Effective Action.
  • Principle of Initial Conditions
    • Each interpretation influences the next in a never ending chain. Everything is connected and nothing can go without influencing another thing, at least to some degree.

 

The point here is that everything we’ve covered so far is connected back to the bigger picture of Effective Living.

As a last note, you may notice a lot of connections from what has been discussed to the Philosophy of Stoicism. This is not a coincidence, I’ve found the practices within this philosophy to provide the most profound and long-term changes to my life. Stoicism has served as a great source of influence through tough times that I’ve encountered.

 

Summary

Big Idea: Effective Living consists of several components and ideas that are all related.

Basically: Everything is connected.

Effective Living is a general and abstract framework for Effective Action. There are several components to Effective Living, but each relates to one another to form the larger system.

Everything that we have discussed so far has been brought back together over the course of exploring what Effective Action is. In particular, this post has worked to connect all of the ideas that we’ve come across to one another.

What is Effective Living has now been covered, the next step will be to explore the why behind Effective Living.

 

Your Call to Action

Thank you for reading!

Effective Living wouldn’t be of much use if it wasn’t put into practice. Please provide your feedback so that we can modify this framework to better serve others. Let me know what you found useful and what changes you would make to the ideas that I’ve presented. Share in the comments section below!

Don’t put off contemplating what the insights from this article mean, find a quiet location and think deeply about what it might mean for you. Just 10 deliberate minutes can make a large difference, set a timer, do it regularly and you will notice the changes within a few weeks. You improve your ability to think and therefore make effective decisions by spending more time deliberately thinking about the relevant subject. Consider applying journaling and meditation to see more profound changes, these are just more deliberate and concentrated forms of quiet and focused thinking. Slow down, find stillness.

I am always looking to improve my reach and the impact that I have with my writing, please provide your feedback in the comments below.

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