Rules for my Son

1. Your freedom begins the day you realize nobody is coming to save you

Your life is completely in your own hands. And that’s what makes life beautiful. Internalize the fact that your success is your responsibility alone. Because independence is freedom, and freedom is power.

2. Self-discipline unlocks the world

To master the world, master yourself. Success requires consistent effort. And consistent effort is impossible without self-discipline. Discipline is your hedge against failed motivation. Do the hard thing, especially when you don’t want to.

3. Leaders don’t ask for permission

Leadership isn’t negotiated. A leader who begs for compliance is a leader in name only. Assume responsibility. Do what must be done. Do it competently. People will follow your vision because you attract them. Not because you chase them.

4. Be wary of the herd

In nature, the herd is usually running from danger. In humans, the herd is usually running toward it. If you never depart from the herd, you will always be following someone else’s path. Leadership means having the courage to change direction.

5. Laziness will kill you

An active mind requires an active body. A slothful body atrophies the mind. And a dead mind destroys the soul. You were blessed with arms, legs, hands, and feet so that you may move freely about the world. To receive such a gift and not use it is a sin.

6. True fulfillment comes from improvement

Man is only happy when he’s making himself or the world around him better. The arena of his improvement is less relevant than the progress itself. A life spent making the world more beautiful is never wasted. A stagnant life always is.

7. Growth requires pain

Physical, mental, and emotional growth requires physical, mental, and emotional strain. If it doesn’t hurt, you aren’t growing. If it isn’t uncomfortable, you aren’t at your limit. But be wary of pain, because while some pain is growth, some is a warning.

8. Comfort is a drug

Where pain is growth, comfort is death. And by the time you realize you’re addicted, the damage is already done. Your ambitions wither in a soft cocoon. Your life gets easy when you do something hard. And you can’t do hard things while indulged in comfort.

9. Kindness is not niceness

Kindness signals abundance. Niceness signals necessity. Ask yourself, “what do I expect in return for this action?” A man who wants nothing in return is a man who already has everything he needs. And there is nothing more powerful than that.

10. Learn from the failures of others

Learning the hard way is to learn from our mistakes. Learning the easy way is to learn from the mistakes of others. Failures are feedback, and every failure holds a lesson. Watch other people like a hawk. And when they falter, take notes.

11. Diet is destiny

There is no greater influence on your future health and wellbeing than what you choose to stuff into your face on a daily basis. What should you eat? Real foods. The fewer ingredients the better. Avoid seed oils. And never, ever skip your protein.

12. Money is not evil

If you want to change the world, it’s going to cost money. And it will likely cost a great deal of it. Money is an amoral tool, its virtue determined only by the character of its wielder. Money is not evil. The worship of money is.

13. Pay yourself first

Give every dollar you earn a purpose. And no matter what you do, always pay yourself first. With a few clicks on your phone, you can auto-invest in any index fund you choose. Invest your money in your future before you ever have a chance to waste it.

14. Threats are inevitable

Violence is a feature of humanity, not a bug. As long as resources remain finite, and as long as humans reproduce sexually, violence will exist. You will face threats. That is the world in which you live. Willfully ignore this fact at your own peril.

15. Practice situational awareness

As surely as you will face threats, you will also be the last line of defense for threats against your family. You must always be aware of your surroundings. Eyes up, head on a swivel. And you can’t do this with your face buried in your phone.

16. Women recoil from neediness

If you need her, you’ve already lost her. She doesn’t want you to need her. She wants you to choose her. She wants you to want her. If she senses you have no other options, or that your happiness depends on her, she will drift away.

17. Women don’t want to be with a child

They want to be with a man. If you behave like a child or expect her to mother you, you will find only creeping resentment. Mothering requires intense love and energy. And this is reserved for actual children. Be a man, or be alone.

18. Marriage means loving the whole person

If you expect perfection from your partner, expect to fail. Perfection is a standard no human can bear. Every person has flaws, and every flaw has a flipside. A person’s flaws make them beautiful, because their flaws make them whole.

19. Darkness causes blindness

Spend too much time in the dark and you’ll go permanently blind. But the same can be said of getting too close to the light. Ignorance of evil allows it to flourish. Abandonment of good causes good to wither. A man needs an objective view of both.

20. Your life is already happening

People waste years waiting for their life to begin. But your life is happening right now. Every moment is a chance to grow. The quality of your future is determined by the caliber of your present. Any time spent thinking otherwise is wasted.