Personal Rules

From Weekly I/O#75

Personal rules turn desired behaviors into default behaviors. They are set during our best moments to avoid making poor decisions under pressure or during moments of weakness.

Podcast: Shane Parrish on Wisdom from Warren Buffett, Rules for Better Thinking, How to Reduce Blind Spots, The Dangers of Mental Models, and More (#695)

Daniel Kahneman, psychologist, Nobel Laureate, and the founding father of modern behavioral economics, explains how rules guide behaviors:

"I learned over the years that people don't argue with rules. We've been taught our whole lives to follow the rules, but we've never thought of how to create rules for ourselves that we just follow when we're at our worst.

We all know no matter how bad our day is, we shouldn't speed on the highway because it's against the rules. What we don't think about is how do we use rules to our advantage?"

Implementing personal rules turns our desired behaviors into default behaviors. Therefore, the rules we set during our best moments can help us avoid making unwise decisions under pressure or during moments of weakness.

For instance, one of Kahneman's rules is to never say 'Yes' over the phone. He explained this rule helps avoid regrettable commitments influenced by social pressure or the innate desire to please others.

In the podcast, Tim and Shane also shared some personal rules that I found interesting:

  1. Avoid reading new books for a year.
  2. Do any form of exercise every day regardless of intensity.
  3. Accept speaking engagements only if it's free or with an amount higher than he ever had.
  4. Schedule no meetings before noon.
  5. Say "No" if anyone tries to rush me into a decision in emails or phone calls. It's not just postponing giving an answer. The answer is "No".

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