Seven Rules

/ Reading time: 3 minutes

This is not an endorsement of Jordan B Peterson. While I believe he has some interesting ideas and viewpoints, he equally has many floored arguments with which I do not agree.

I am rarely satisfied with where I am in life, both with work (Software Development) and Cycling (a brutal sport that can take over your whole life). As I write this I am waiting to find out if I will be offered a new job and I have also just returned from a week of cycling in Provence; a week that has bought my lack of fitness into sharp focus.

Being a developer means spending large amounts of your free time reading and learning about changes in the industry. Few people are lucky enough to work in an environment where this is part of the job. Falling behind will put you on the back foot and harm your potential for future employment. Assuming I am offered this new job, I will need to learn a handful of new concepts before starting.

Being a cyclist means hours of suffering on the bike so you can get better at suffering. Falling behind on training means more suffering as your more disciplined club mates continue to do the work. In order to ride with the people I like (who are younger and fitter) I need to work very hard to maintain my ability to hurt myself. This is easily six months of work with the aim of drastically changing my body composition.

This is a huge amount of work on top of going to work. To help maintain focus, gain perspective and make progress I am trying to follow a set of rules I have written for myself:

Keep your personal goals to yourself.

Unless someone can and is willing to help you, there is nothing to be gained from sharing goals. You may actually give the impression that you’re closer to an achievement than you actually are, encouraging praise or questioning that won’t help you.

Do not brag.

Let your actions do the talking. People won’t be impressed with your bragging, they’ll just think you’re a blow-hard.

Measure your progress.

You’ll often feel as if you’re not making any real progress or that your efforts are hopeless. Being able to look at the progress you’ve made will help you continue to move forwards or give you a nudge to get back on track.

Respect the past.

The past cannot be changed. Do not waste time dwelling on what you did or didn’t do.

Do not compare yourself to others.

Only compare yourself to your past self. You don’t know anything about other people, so making comparisons is not helpful.

Don’t let obstacles become excuses.

There will always be things that need attention ahead of your goals. Deal with them and get back to making progress.

Listen more than you speak.

You might just learn something.