Introducing your Memorised Rules

How to make better decisions faster

Ever notice how we're all walking around with a mental toolkit packed with "memorised rules"? These are those bits of wisdom and guidelines we've collected from experiences, books, and maybe a few wise words from folks we admire.

I got introduced to this first by Julian Shapiro and his original article on starting principles - recently updated.

You know me, I am all for taking lessons and turn them into action. Because let’s face it, what’s the use of having tools if we don’t put them to good use?

Why do we hold onto these rules without really applying them? That’s what we’re exploring.

Ready to unlock the power of your personal toolkit of rules? Let’s roll up our sleeves and get into it.

👩‍🏫 Lesson of the week

You're on a life journey, equipped with a backpack. Instead of snacks and water, this backpack is packed with shiny tools—tools not for fixing leaky faucets or squeaky doors, but for making smart, swift decisions in life.

These tools? They're your Memorised Rules, inspired by Julian Shapiro's brilliant concept of "Starting Principles."

You come across all kinds of advice in life. Some of it is gold, and some... not so much. The trick is to find the golden advice and turn it into simple, powerful rules that fit right into your backpack. These are your Rules.

Julian Shapiro treats this like a game. He asks, "Is this new piece of advice better than what I already have?" If it is, he swaps it in. This way, he keeps updating his backpack with the best decision-making tools.

But there's a twist: you can only remember about six of these rules at any time. That's because of something called Miller's Law, which says our brains can only hold about seven (plus or minus two) things in our working memory at once.

By choosing six Starting Principles and really focusing on them, you make sure they're always ready when you need them. Before making a decision, you can quickly check your backpack and see which rule applies best.

Identify your principles and use them as guiding light when making decisions. From quotes, to books or philosophers, find 5/6 that resonate with you.

Popular Wisdom: Compete with yourself—not with others.

Tim Ferris: If you rethink this from scratch, what would this look like if it were easy?

…just in case you are wondering about some of my starting principles, here a few - I personally have mine set up as questions:

  1. Does it feel good in my body and my nervous system? It’s a weird one, but I love to make decisions based on what feels good, as a high-rational type A brain kind of person.

  2. Is this going to create space or take space away from what matters? Personal fave when evaluating a new project.

  3. What would this look like if it were easy? This is a variation on one of Tim Ferris’ mantras, which I love to use to reflect on when looking at a challenge.

Turn your principles into a practice

So, you're probably wondering, "Alright, I've got these rules memorised, but how do I actually use them?" Great question! It's like having a bunch of recipe books but never cooking. It's time to turn those recipes into delicious meals.

  • First things first, awareness is key. Recognise when a rule applies. Life isn't always going to wave a flag and shout, "Hey, use that rule now!" You've got to be on the lookout. It's a bit like playing detective in your own life.

  • Make it a habit. Start small. Pick one rule that resonates with you and focus on applying it daily. It could be something as simple as, "Listen more than you speak." Notice the opportunities to apply it, and do just that. It's like building muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

  • Reflection time. At the end of the day, take a moment to reflect. Did you apply the rule? How did it go? Reflection turns experience into insight. Think of it as your personal debrief.

  • Sharing is caring. Talk about your rules with friends or family. Sometimes, saying things out loud gives them more power. Plus, you might inspire someone else to pick up their tools and start building too.

✍️ Teacher corner: your challenge

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to fill your proverbial backpack. Your quest is to discover three golden rules—your very own Starting Principles.

Here's a simple step to kickstart your adventure:

  1. Reflect: Take a quiet moment to think about the advice you've heard over the years. Which pieces really stuck with you? Which ones made you think, "Yes, that's it!"?

  2. Choose: From that reflection, pick the top three principles that feel most powerful to you. These are the rules that you believe will help you make the best decisions in the moments that matter.

  3. Commit: Write these three rules down. Put them somewhere you'll see them often—maybe a sticky note on your mirror or a reminder on your phone. The key is to keep them in your daily line of sight.

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As we wrap up this edition, I want you to remember that the journey of self-discovery and growth is ongoing and ever-evolving. The three rules you've chosen today are not set in stone. They're living ideas that will grow and change as you do. Embrace the fluidity of this process.

Keep an open heart and an open mind. Be willing to revise your rules as you learn and experience more of what life has to offer.

Until next time, keep shining, keep growing, and remember—the best principles are the ones that guide you to become the best version of yourself.

Always cheering you on,

Fab ✌️

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