TL;DR

This is a distilled summary of the core guides I’ve made on AdequateLife.

I would have built it out to cover all the guides, but then I’d need a TL;DR of my TL;DR page…

Habits

Everything action-based in our subconscious is built around habits:

  1. A sight/sound/smell/thought/whatever that’s a trigger.
  2. The trigger creates a method that goes through a mental and physical routine.
  3. That method maintains itself because it fulfills a reward that comes at the end of it.

Improving ourselves is merely a matter of changing our habits.


Necessary Mind Fixes

Sleeping

We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, so sleep is essential for balancing the rest of our lives.

Not getting enough sleep is very, very unhealthy.

Sleep typically transitions through four stages that cycle for approximately 2 hours.

Everyone has a general sleep pattern unique to them, which requires disciplining habits to change.

There are many perfectly healthy sleep cycles to adapt to that mix up the sleep times.

Naps have various effects on our bodies, depending on how long they last.

There are many routines that can improve sleep cycles and cure insomnia.

Traveling disrupts sleep, though some tricks can offset it.

Self-Awareness

We must be aware of ourselves before we can perform any self-improvement.

Awareness isn’t particularly easy because we’re in constant conflict with the world around us, and self-reflection is lonely.

Meditation is a simple, necessary mechanism to slow down our thoughts:

  1. Sit somewhere comfortable.
  2. Let your perceptions come naturally.
  3. Feel your present physical state.
  4. Become aware of the world around you.
  5. Learn to observe thoughts that arise before they occur.
  6. Make a habit of meditation everywhere.

Once you’re familiar with meditation, try advanced reflection by focusing on various perspectives and thoughts.

However, meditation only helps find problems and typically doesn’t give any solutions.


Happiness

Happiness is simply the absence of desire.

Happiness is critical for wellness, and we’re morally responsible for it.

Happiness is a choice, largely driven by what we focus on.

Removing Unhappiness

Unhappiness comes from stress, caused by a mix-and-match of the following factors:

  1. Unmet needs
  2. Unchangeable things
  3. Unresolved trauma
  4. Unmet expectations
  5. Substance abuse

Staying Happy

Without finding a permanent mental place of happiness, we’ll fall back into cynicism.

We find our optimism by shifting our perspective:

  1. Getting rid of low self-esteem.
  2. Living in the present.
  3. Learning gratitude.
  4. Finding control of ourselves.
  5. Releasing things that give us stress.
  6. Avoiding things that make us unhappy.
  7. Interacting with others.

We need a loving and dynamic place where everyone is free to live and grow together, also known as a healing environment.


Success

Success is difficult to define and highly relative, but it always involves accomplishing worthwhile purposes.

However, measuring our success by outward measurements is usually a bad idea.

The best measure of our success comes from how well we change internally.

The Right Attitude

An attitude is a general outlook or state of mind.

  • Our attitude determines the limits of our success.

The right attitude for success requires a very specific set of beliefs and approaches:

  1. Focus on your strengths.
  2. Go for long-term results.
  3. Be ready to invest everything you have.
  4. Be ready to try your hardest.
  5. Success might be lonely.
  6. You can only control your decisions.
  7. Excuses don’t matter.
  8. Your goals should be focused on a greater purpose than yourself.
  9. Intelligence and effort don’t matter as much as new ideas.
  10. Focus on growth, not status.
  11. Success requires admitting you’ve been believing things wrongly.
  12. Prioritize working toward growth.
  13. Change is always good.
  14. Perfect is the enemy of good.
  15. Avoid “visualizing success”.
  16. When the time calls for it, be ready to break the rules.
  17. Life on this planet is too short to obsess about hypotheticals.
  18. The tasks in front of you are all you have.
  19. You should see initial results quickly.
  20. Be tenacious.
  21. Do as much research as possible.
  22. The rewards aren’t as important as the journey.
  23. Drop anyone who sabotages your success.
  24. Your success will make you part of a network of achievers and overcomers.
  25. Constantly draw towards successful people.

Setting Goals

Successfully changing has multiple components, so setting goals gives us the means to accomplish them.

Start with what you want to see happen.

Don’t worry too much about long-term goals, since they won’t be that useful.

Instead, focus on the short-term reality laid out in front of you.

Merge all your goals into one system, simplify them, then divide them out into small tasks.

Plan out your days and weeks as they happen.

You can mix-and-match many existing systems to make your own.

Learn to boldly say “no” to things that interfere with your goals.

Focus more closely on well-managed time and energy than achieving results.

To actually accomplish anything, do not discuss your goals.

Periodically re-examine your goals to make sure they’re still worth your time.

Productivity

We build momentum through small, daily decisions.

Make your work a stream of triggers that flow from one to the next.

  • If you’re stuck starting, create incentive triggers that provoke you to get going.

Avoid procrastinating as much as possible.

  • Use “forcing functions” to break your procrastination.

Stay perpetually focused on improving the present moment.

Pace yourself according to your body’s natural rhythm.

Take meaningful breaks.

Eat and drink the right things to keep your system running optimally.

Manage your stress so it doesn’t interfere with your tasks.

Distractions utterly destroy productivity, so learn to avoid them:

  • The worst distractions are meetings and emails.
  • Delegate tasks you dislike to others whenever you can.
  • Make your workspace distraction-free.
  • Working from home is a double-edged sword for distractions.

Optimize everything possible to cut down on time or reduce distractions:

  • Use technology carefully to only improve your work.
  • Stay productive while traveling.
  • Streamline everything, especially anything that involves computers.
  • Never stop trying to find “life hacks” to make life even more productive.

Don’t overdo it: “productivity porn” gets more obsessed with optimizing time than the time it saves.

Persevering

We must persevere to succeed because failure is typical before success.

Failing well requires failing as fast as possible, learning as much as possible from it, and quickly adapting to the lessons.

Stay persistent through all your setbacks.

Keep pushing the limits of both your “soft” and “hard” skills.

Expect failure, and be prepared to recover from it.

When you fail, give yourself time to recover.

Surround yourself with supportive and influential coaches and mentors.

If you keep failing, you likely need to change your strategy.

Celebrate small wins.

Persevering nearly guarantees success.

Staying Humble

You must stay humble to continue succeeding.

Your failures will be public, so be prepared to openly communicate when you fail.

Never stop growing.

You will need to stop at some point, so have a plan.


Money

Money is a necessary part of life.

Poor money management will destroy your life.

Everyone requires at least some money management skills.

While loving money is evil, money has no inherent morality, and one of the most moral actions is giving money to those who need it.

Contrary to public perception, most wealthy people save, invest, and build their careers to get there.

Debt

Debt is “renting” money from other people, using the terms of a loan to specify how much the rent will cost.

There are many things that debt companies don’t want you to believe:

  1. Nothing is ever “good” to go into debt for, though some things are worth the new obligation if you can make more money long-term.
  2. The interest payments from debt are never worth the incentives from debt holders.
  3. Investing does not require a good credit score.

The only way to morally escape debt is to overpay every month.

Budgeting/Goals

Budgeting is a family experience, but it takes patience and practice to properly discuss money.

Getting your money situation on track goes through several rough stages:

  1. Build up an emergency fund.
  2. Pay off your debt.
  3. Save up 3–8 months of regular living expenses.
  4. Invest at least 15% of your income into a retirement fund.
  5. Save for your children (if you have any).
  6. Pay off your house.
  7. Devote most of your extra income toward giving.
  8. Near the end of your career, make retirement plans.
  9. Retire gracefully
  10. Plan for your passing

Make short-term goals that feed into your larger goals.

Precise budgeting isn’t always possible, but it’s not difficult if you give yourself fudge room.

Building a budget is relatively straightforward:

  1. Add all your incomes together.
  2. Assign all the fixed or near-fixed amounts.
  3. Assign all the expenses that fluctuate up and down.
  4. Put the remainder into large expenses you want to save for.
  5. “Tweak” the budget to save or earn more.
  6. As you become familiar, break out other reports to analyze your spending from different angles.

Use multiple accounts to track your money as it’s used.

You will sometimes fail, but treat it as a teachable moment for yourself and move on.

Saving Money

Learn to separate wants from needs.

Learn to be cautious when you’re about to spend money.

Companies are constantly trying to erode your ability to say “no”.

Look everywhere to find ways to save money.


People Skills

No matter how antisocial our disposition, we desperately require other people to find meaning and purpose.

Being around other people requires understanding social power dynamics to help us get what we want.

True success in life requires other people as well, since communication is the most powerful force on earth.

Socializing is a host of various skills rolled together into an intuitive whole, not a single skill in itself.

Maintaining Image

People closely observe hygiene and appearance, so it’s critically important.

Wash yourself consistently and thoroughly.

Keep your teeth clean.

Always groom yourself, though avoid over-grooming as a male if you would prefer to appear heterosexual.

People will closely observe your face, so pay extra attention to maintaining it.

Honor the dress code wherever you go, and make sure to never be the least well-dressed.

Honoring Boundaries

Your reputation is critical because people talk about you in your absence.

Good reputations are maintained by honoring and setting healthy boundaries.

Good boundaries are tactful (i.e., behaving inoffensively).

Tactfulness is the art of honoring many, many, many small social rules.

The only way to be tactful is with high emotional intelligence (i.e., knowing how others feel), which can be learned.

Making Friends

Friendships are invaluable and necessary to live well.

Friendships build on shared contexts.

For many reasons, not everyone can be your friend.

Making friends requires prior experience in friendship-making.

Good friends are difficult to find.

To make friends, be a likeable friend.

Look all over for friends, especially in places you hadn’t looked before, and find creative ways to attract people.

Watch out for warning signs of toxic friendships.

Having dysfunctional friendships will destroy your chances of making other friends elsewhere.

Learn to cut off friendships easily.

If you find good friends, work unceasingly to keep them.