Lifeset is a public repository of guidelines, rules, and tips, to help structure and optimize life as a human. The rules of Lifeset are focused on providing an easily digestible, yet expansive set of guidelines, both practical and theoretical, for living a healthy, productive, and fulfilling life.
More specifically, these are the rules that I live by, and I plan on refining and modifying them over time. This page acts both as a tool for others to study, but also something for me to refer to, to remind myself of the lessons I have learned.
For those who are reading this with the intent of tackling their own issues, I strongly advise picking the points which you feel are most relevant to your current struggles, and then writing about them in reflection.
Avoid excess: Whether it be drugs and alcohol, exercise, media consumption, work, etc., excesses are to be avoided. Excess is acceptable, only when it is temporarily (in the short-term) brought on deliberately through specific activities.
Avoid spectrum extremes: When we feel we are "too much X", we conclude that we should jump to the opposite extreme of where we initially were. For many cases, it is best to go towards the relative center of said spectrums. 'Center', in this case, is subject to personal preference and circumstances, meaning that the center must first be found, in order to travel to it. Things to be especially careful about in terms of balance: Taking things too seriously / not seriously enough, being too emotional / cold, working too much / not enough, being too social / not social enough, being too considerate / inconsiderate, being too boring / too outgoing.
Avoid neglecting aspects of life you might assume are unnecessary: Existing as a human comes with many quirks. One of said quirks is that you most likely need the things everyone else needs. Social interaction, sexual stimulation, emotional presence; think carefully if you are thinking of cutting something like that out of your life.
Be malleable: When you have encountered an aspect of yourself that you would like to change, put extensive focus and effort into changing it. A habit might take a long time to form, but until then, consciously practice what you would like to change. Making gradual changes (over the course of months, and even years) is often unnecessarily time consuming, and puts you in a state of instability for a longer period of time. Be malleable, and make changes to yourself quickly.
Do not become overly attached: All is temporary, and attachments (especially to material possessions) create unnecessary anchors to the physical realm. Neglecting the temporary nature of everything also encourages taking said things for granted. Appreciate that which is temporary, but be ready to let it go at any given point. There is no escaping the loneliness of human existence. Embrace the fact that you will be alone, and do not live to feed a feeling that cannot be satiated. Remember that you alone will be your only partner through life.
Expand your comfort zone: Take advantage of and involve yourself in situations where you have a chance to put yourself outside of your comfort zone, so as to expand your experience, your degree of comfort with the unknown, and your ease with whatever foreign activity you were involved in.
Do not aim to impress others: "Being yourself" is a popular saying, but it fails to explicitly specify the most common reason for not being oneself: attempting to impress others. Going about life persistently looking for ways to make others like you / your work only brings anxiety. It is wiser to treat impressions as a side-effect of your genuine interests and behavior.
Value your time: Time is limited, and for many it appears to become increasinly valuable with age. As small of a word "inconvenience" is, facing inconvenience after inconvenience loses countless hours, days, and months of time you could be spending doing something fulfilling. Organize your time, and avoid people and circumstances that regularly pose inconveniences to your capacity to keep your time organized.
Know your passions and your purpose: Understand what it is that you enjoy doing (passions), and what motivates you to exist (purpose). Achieve your purpose through your passions. Make this the mission of your life.
Remember the importance of perspective: It can be tempting to accept our vision of the world as absolute. However, as fundamentally subjective creatures, one must remember that our vision of the world is never accurate. Use this to your advantage, and remember that many emotional lows are due to perspective. A shift in perspective is a shift of your reality.
Use rationality appropriately: Rationality is a tool, to be used in all cases involving the methodology of reaching a goal. That is to say, a situation where the purpose is to find the most appropriate way to achieving a pre-established goal. Rationality's appropriateness ends at situations that have no goal, and subjective preferences based on innate biological traits take over. Many matters, including emotions and social relationships, are not fundamentally rational (from a human perspective). Thus, attempting to deal with these areas from a purely rational perspective only breeds frustration.
Be aware of the human perspective, versus the cosmic perspective: As animals, our biology plays a large role in determing our fundamental values. Communities, families, and our lives are heavily influenced by these base values. We find meaning in life because these values drive us to care about things. That being said, we also possess the ability to handle abstractions and consciously conjure thoughts that do not pertain to this primal value system. Beyond these values, we search for meaning in the cosmos. The value system of our universe appears, at the moment, to be void.
Whether we like it or not, meaning does not seem to exist outside ourselves. As humans, a healthy life is composed of a balance of embracing the meaning that our biology provides us, and embarking on philosophical journeys to continue our search for meaning outside the human perspective.
Un-immerse yourself: Every now and then, step out of the immersive world of your occupations and worries, and reflect on the state of affairs. Being mindful, introspective, and reflective in this manner encourages regular reassessments of values and objectives, and gives good peace of mind.
Live in the moment: You only exist now. Reflect on the past, set goals for the future, and then act. Endless worries about future plans will only paralyze you. Most desires are not years ahead, but only one step in front of you. Take that step.
Follow your path: Feel free to not meet others' desires or expectations when appropriate. Do not compare yourselves to others: everyone is on their own path, with their own obstances. You are on your own path for your own reasons. Remind yourself of these reasons. Disregard the rules of your environment if they do not align with your goals and intentions. Prioritize and remember your individuality. A direction on your path is not a lifelong commitment, and it is okay to change directions at any point in your life. You, and the path you tread is your only persistent possession. Put those first.
Create a plan: Analyze your environment. Find what you want to change. Create a plan on how to change it, commit to these plans, and execute them. Refer to these plans to stay true to your aspirations.
Track your progress: Track your progress explicitly through writing, or relevant applications. The simple act of consciously reviewing your progress will encourage you to be more aware of your habits, and push you to work more if you are not progressing as quickly as you would like.
Be a stoic: Take every opportunity, negative or positive, as a chance to improve yourself. Take every challenge as a way to prove your skills and learn something new. Take every foreign experience as an opportunity to expand on your pool of knowledge.
Progress consistently and regularly: Even small steps on a regular basis lead to substantial results over a long period of time. Practice on a regular basis, regardless of short-term motivation or desire to do so.
Improve your workflow: Study, understand, and improve your workflow. After every project, review your work and the way it was created, and be critical. When the next project comes, consciously integrate the improvements you wish to make into your workflow.
Practice with intention: Your skills will improve far more quickly if they are being used with a focus on a specific objective. On a small scale, short-term objectives will make you more critical towards your technique and accelerate your improvement. On a larger scale, long-term objectives will encourage you to be fully and more consistently engaged in the activities you wish to practice.
Do not depend on inspiration: Creativity is a skill. Practice it. Inspiration should be utilized when it is present, but creative work should not depend on it. Furthermore, no activity is exclusively composed of creativity. In waiting for inspiration to strike, countless hours of potential improvement in the technical side of an activity are gone.
Practice curiosity: Seek to learn and satiate all curiosities. The act of learning should provide joy, and should be sought out on a regular basis. Many topics seem superficially uninteresting, but end up being very engaging at a higher depth.
Learn and balance low and high level perspectives: Low and high level workflows are both important in creating a proper balance between time and control. Working on a higher level allows for quicker production, but forces you to depend on the quality of lower levels, which can often be limiting for more complex projects. Working on a low level allows for extensive control over your work, but developing more complex tools takes a lot of time. Each task requires you to choose the balance between these two, and being familiar with both allows for more freedom in choosing an appropriate setup.
Be a generalist: Engage in all practices that interest you, avoid specializing in a single field. Find ways to combine knowledge and skills from one discipline to another. Information is too accessible and conveniently structured to only engage in a single discipline.
Anchor abstract concepts: Abstract concepts can be difficult to grasp and to keep track of. When trying to develop abstract ideas, it is good to, at the very least, manifest them into the physical realm through symbols like writing. Beyond that, they can also be manifested through designed experiences. Each attempt to manifest an abstract idea is one step closer to understanding it fully.
Do not over-indulge in theory: Theoretical knowledge is useful, but it is easy to get lost in the world of theory without balancing it out through practice. Theoretical knowledge is pointless if it is never put to use.