100 Life Hacks: a Comprehensive Guide to Living the Good Life

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I wrote this guide for myself.

Why? Because I was curious about myself.

Because I knew I would need guidelines to look at when I was most fearful.

Because I know this idea of life hacking has worked for me over and over.

Because for the next 50 years I would need it to easily navigate my life.

Since I first worked on these ideas, I’ve seen many things happen.

I’ve learned a lot more about myself. I’ve developed better relationships. I’ve discovered what lies beyond the scope of my imagination.

I’ve also seen these nuggets work for others. More importantly, I’ve seen them working for me again and again.

Some of them I learned through delightful experiences. And some from the bitter trials and tribulations.

I make no claim that the list is exhaustive. There are other ways to simplify life. Take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. The list is what worked for me.

Here we go:

  1. Listening - Our cups are full. To taste my cup of tea, you must empty your cup from prejudices, preconceptions, and conclusions. If you’re willing to listen, you may find something precious, especially from the obscure.
  2. Giving - Give as much as you take, if not more.
  3. Sharing - I am always ready to share. The problem is people fail to appreciate the nuggets of wisdom unless they are shared by those who already mint success. Until then, nobody will care to listen.
  4. Expectations - Whatever you're asking for, it's probably too much. Scale down. Have realistic expectations. Don't be greedy. There is a reason why you don't have it.
  5. Knowledge vs Wisdom - Knowledge is discovered by all of us, each adding to the whole. Wisdom is rediscovered by each of us, one at a time. Wisdom that gets shared becomes acquired as knowledge; personal experience then converts it into wisdom.
  6. Being somebody - Being a nobody is more delightful than being a somebody. You want to be rich and anonymous, not poor and famous.
  7. Livelihood - Work is the set of things that you don’t want to do, but you have to. And if you love what you do, then it’s not work. When you do something that is entertaining, no one can possibly compete with you. It doesn’t matter how much work you put in, because for you that is not work.
  8. Career - Be patient. It takes at least 10 years to build anything significant.
  9. Jobs - People who take jobs are not innovators or artists. People who take jobs are puppets of the machine rather than the future creators of the machines to come.
  10. Having a boss - Every time you have a boss, he’s taking some of your money. And his boss is taking some of your money.
  11. Retirement - Occurs when you stop sacrificing today for an imagined tomorrow. You can retire when your passive income exceeds your burn rate, or when you can make a living doing what you love.
  12. Time - The ultimate currency of life, so be tightly fisted about it.
  13. Friendship - Your closest friends are the ones you can have a relationship with about nothing.
  14. Relationships - Exist either for transformation or transaction. The former is built upon trust. The latter revolves around money.
  15. Partnerships - Don’t partner with cynics and pessimists. Instead, pick partners with high intelligence, energy, and, above all, integrity.
  16. Alone vs Loneliness - Alone is a fact, lonely is a choice. We are so afraid to be alone that we end up lonely. The ability to be alone without being lonely is the greatest art in life.
  17. Boredom - Boredom is necessary for creativity to flourish, but only when you’re of a creative mind. The mind is addicted to never being bored, that as soon as it sees nothing is to be consumed, it struggles.
  18. Solitary retreat - Take a month off from social media. Wait for a day before you reply a message. Say “no” to your friends. Travel alone. Do things by yourself. Go live in the mountain, cook, sleep, and be with no one but your self and mind.
  19. Meditation - Meditation and transcendence are the birthright of every human being. The only common ability that we all have at all times is the ability to sit quietly and do nothing.
  20. Dharma practice - Meditation, reading philosophy, non-judgmental awareness, and educating others.
  21. Time-consuming tasks - Socializing, playing video games, watching TV, scrolling the news, staying in relationships that I knew weren’t forever.
  22. How to focus - Cancel the noise. Follow your interest and never stop learning.
  23. Purpose of life - Life is about searching for who or what needs you the most and who or what you need the most. Everyone has their own uniqueness. Life is about finding what you are meant to do uniquely. What you are going to be amazingly good at is the thing that you are passionate about. Sometimes you won’t find what you are looking for unless you seek it. And sometimes it finds you when you aren’t looking.
  24. The best thing in life - To be in the present moment, in the here and now.
  25. Satisfaction - To be satisfied in that moment and not thinking about how you’ll feel about it in the future.
  26. Happiness - A choice. An internal trait that comes out of being peaceful and acceptance of what is going on around us. And the sense that nothing is missing in this moment.
  27. Making decisions - If you can’t decide, the answer is no. If two equally difficult paths, choose the one more painful in the short term (pain avoidance is creating an illusion of equality). Choose the path that leaves you more equanimous in the long term.
  28. Desire - Equals suffering. The more omnivorous desires you have, the more you suffer.
  29. Personality - DNA and environment.
  30. Simplicity - The straightest and most logical way to convey the language of “common sense.” Life is actually simple. We make it complicated.
  31. Mastery - The ability to teach what you know to someone else.
  32. Self-knowledge - Know your own worth and stop imitating other people’s identity.
  33. Comparison - The beginning of sorrow. Focus on inner achievements instead.
  34. Achievements - School, games, sports, and politics train us to compete against others. True rewards - health, knowledge, love, wealth, and equanimity - come from ignoring others and improving ourselves.
  35. Envy - There is no need to be envious of someone else if you're not willing to 100 percent swap with who that person is.
  36. Self-sufficiency - To be independent from esteem and condemnation of other people. You become their slave when you constantly await their approval and validation.
  37. Anxiety - Don’t FOMO and don’t panic. Relax and you’ll live longer.
  38. How to relax - Meditate. Do yoga. Take deep and slow breaths.
  39. Competition - You can avoid competition through authenticity. If you compete, that means you’re not helping anyone in a new way. You need to define your own category.
  40. Success - Swim your own race. Give society what it wants, but doesn’t know how to get on its own.
  41. Business - Learn to sell a product or service. Learn to build something out of nothing. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.
  42. Money - Invest it, not spend it. Don’t trade time for money. Trade money for time.
  43. Building followers - Seek the smallest viable audience (i.e. the top 500 people around your circle). Serve them and convert them into your true fans.
  44. Reputation - The series of cumulative track record that establishes a personal brand. Reputation must be earned. To the contrary, most credentials can be bought.
  45. Getting rich quick - There are no get rich schemes. If you see a get rich scheme, then it's somebody else trying to get rich off of you. Instead, apply specific skill, with leverage, and eventually you will get what you deserve.
  46. Skill vs Luck - Skill is a factor that must be acquired. Luck is a variable that gets added to you once you’ve possessed a “good enough” skill set.
  47. Growth - Become better at what you do by improving and making discoveries every day. Keep redefining what you do and eventually you’ll be at the top 5 percent of the world.
  48. Unique - Better to be unique than the best. Being the best makes you number one, but unique makes you the only one.
  49. Investing - Start small. The earlier you start in life, the better. Long term investment depends heavily on compound interest.
  50. Stock market - Stop chasing returns. Markets efficiently separate emotional investors from their money. Invest for the long-term.
  51. Health - A state of balance between orientation (sensory system) and action (motor system). If there is an imbalance between the two, then you are out of whack.
  52. Exercise - Do the exercise that you enjoy doing every day.
  53. Shortcut - There is none. Start now!
  54. Nutrition - The best nutrition is personalized nutrition. Eat according to what your body requires, and don’t become carried away with non-beneficial foods.
  55. Yoga and Meditation - Yoga cultivates peace of body. Meditation cultivates peace of mind.
  56. Recovery - The act of returning the body to its original state of fitness.
  57. Detoxification - The way of releasing accumulated toxins and excess “trash” out of the body.
  58. Falling asleep - Meditate in bed. Either you will fall asleep or have a deep meditation. Victory either way.
  59. Drugs - If you use drugs to escape, make sure you can still escape from using drugs. The same applies to smoking, drinking, and gambling.
  60. Journaling - Do it in early in the morning. Do it in the evening. It pumps your creative energy and it allows you to convey your thoughts.
  61. Philosophy - Philosophy is the love of truth, not the love of theories, not the love of speculations, not the love of beliefs, but the love of truth. Truth isn’t yours or mine. Therefore, you have to be self-reliant. You can develop your own personal philosophy born out of self-education and personal development. You can make dramatic changes, and these changes can impact the world around you and, of course, your own life as well.
  62. Religion - There’s religion and there’s Religion. The former is daily life, while the latter is a cult. It always starts as religion but gets the bad rap when it becomes Religion.
  63. God - God has nothing to do with churches, temples, and mosques. Don’t waste your time in these places because they are nothing but rituals, rites, and sanctions. God has nothing to do with the Bible, the Koran, and the Vedas. They are merely collections of stories made up by people. If there is a God, it is in you.
  64. Prayer - The echo of self-pity; in other words, a cry for help. The problem lies in asking someone else to solve your problem instead of asking yourself. The medicine for your suffering rests within you from the very beginning.
  65. Past and Future - To know your past, look into your present condition. To know your future, look into your present action.
  66. Present - The past is bound to time from the recollection of memory. The future is bound to the anticipation of time. To live in the present, is to be bound by reality, not time.
  67. On beauty - The detection of "useful" beyond explicit imagination.
  68. Awareness - Awareness can only be of the reality of the present moment. You cannot be aware of the past, you can only remember it. You cannot be aware of the future, you can only have aspirations for or fears of the future. You must develop the ability to be aware of the reality that manifests within yourself at the present moment.
  69. Transience - Nothing lasts forever, so enjoy the present moment. Savor and relish it. But be like the man who, while enjoying excellent health, immunizes himself against the chance of a future disease. Be like the man who, though the days are now sunny, builds his house to weather the storms. You are happy. That is wonderful. But don’t drift in your happiness. There is work to be done. It is easy enough to be pleasant when life ows along like a song. But the man worthwhile is the man who can smile when life goes dead wrong.
  70. Change - Happens instantly, without the bondage of time. The greatest ability is to change yourself. The best way, perhaps the only way, to change others is to become an example.
  71. Curiosity - Keeping your intellectual curiosity alive is really important, and the only way that happens is if you learn what you love, you read what you love, and you do what you love.
  72. Hobbies - Find three: one to make a living, one to keep you healthy, and one to exercise your creative muscle.
  73. Language - Definitely master English.
  74. Mandarin - Learn it because you are living in China. You don’t need Mandarin to communicate elsewhere.
  75. Schooling - Traditional school focuses on credentialing. If the primary purpose of school was education, the internet would completely obsolete it. The ideal school would teach health, creativity, problem solving, communication, emotional connection, wealth, and so on. It would be free, self-paced, and available to all. It would show opposing ideas and students would self-verify truth. No grades, no tests, no diplomas - just pure learning.
  76. Knowledge - Acquire them from books, teachers, mentors, experiences. Still, the best teacher is yourself.
  77. Books - Pick the ones you can’t put down and want to read over and over. If the author(s) wrote it to make money, don't read it.
  78. Teachers - The majority of teachers are products of the old education system. Some never left school and they’re still teaching outdated materials. Be mindful of who you follow. Ultimately, nothing worth knowing can be taught.
  79. Mentors - The best mentors will probably be too busy catering to a nobody. Mentors won’t make you rich. Mentors will eventually dislike you once you become better than them.
  80. Self-reliance - Nobody can help you. Ultimately, you have to make yourself accountable. Save yourself.
  81. Thinking vs Learning - Thinking is the recollection of accumulated material. This additive process is merely a cultivation of memory, which becomes perpetually mechanical. Learning is a movement which has no beginning and no end like a continuous unbroken stream. To effectively maximize learning without the interference of thought, approach things anew.
  82. The Internet - A network of information. A career space broadening and leverage for people, yet, very few have figured this out.
  83. Technology - A paradox: convenient and yet, addictive. Give yourself a routine detachment from technology.
  84. Social media - It will either teach you how to cultivate peace of mind, or destroy it.
  85. Multi-tasking - Multi-tasking is overrated and not an effective way to be productive, especially mental taxing work. Focus on single-task work. The more you do it, the better you get at it to direct your attention to where it matters.
  86. Building habit - Consistency over content.
  87. Goals vs Systems - Goals are specific objectives that you either achieve or do sometime in the future. Systems are the set of routines you do on a regular basis. You need both to achieve a higher completion rate.
  88. Mistakes - Every time you make a mistake, you learn a little more about yourself, about building relationship with people, about improving self-awareness, about pushing your personal boundaries. Mistakes are always forgivable, if you have the courage to admit them. The key is to quickly learn from your mistakes and improve quickly. If you’re constantly learning and improving, your evolutionary process will be ascending.
  89. Specificity - People with a unique mix of knowledge, skill, and experience separate themselves from the majority. Your talent. Your special craft. Your unique niche. These elements make you the remarkable individual. Whatever makes you remarkable, is what makes you marketable. You make yourself rare by combining two or more above average elements until no one else has your mix.
  90. Risk - There is none if you do things when you’re young. The only thing you really have in life is time, and if you invest that time in yourself to have great experiences that will enrich you, then you can't possibly lose. So don't wait! Do something when you're young because it's a lot easier when you have no responsibility to other people.
  91. Love - Love of oneself and love of others. You must first love yourself before others. The moment you love thyself, you feel worthy of life’s fortunes and the influential support of the Universe. When you love yourself, you have fulfilled the basic condition of love. And the person who can love himself can love all.
  92. Marriage - An intersection between two souls, with spaces between the togetherness. Two can love one another, but make not a bond of love. Fill each other’s cup, but not drink from one cup. Walk, sing, and dance together, but let each be alone. Even though companionship is always separate, the intertwined pathways to growth is always one.
  93. Children - The product of fertilization. They come through you, and are with you, but they belong not to you. You may give them your love and discipline, but not your thoughts. They are the judges of your acts. When you screw up, they’ll show you the fool’s idea of glory.
  94. Parenting - Give unconditional love. Try not to say “no.” Reward when it’s due.
  95. Humility - Always remember the mantra: “Thank you. You are my teacher.” You can never go wrong with it.
  96. Simple life - Life is cheap. Lifestyle is expensive. People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom.
  97. House vs Home - House is a facade. Home is where your heart truly belongs.
  98. Automobiles - Electric over gasoline. Car is merely a tool to get you from point A to B. Car is the fastest depreciating asset. I prefer a bicycle anyway.
  99. Air travel - Economy for short-haul flights. Business for long-haul flights. Above that, unless someone else is paying for your seat, it is a waste of money.
  100. Life and Death - Life is uncertain. Death is certain. So cherish every moment by doing what you love and being with the people you love.