This week I came across a blog post that nails most of what’s been going through my head over the last few months. The entire piece is well worth a read, especially if you’re a freelancer or otherwise trying to work on your own, but the part that really resonated with me is Sebastian’s thoughts on strategy.
Set hard rule principles, and start acting on principle instead of tactically. That’s my biggest piece of advice for having a better life.
I believe life works like this – most people don’t think at all, and go by routine. This leads to life in a swamp. (No disrespect intended to people living in swamps.)
Of the people who do think, most people think tactically. They think, “What should I do?” This leads to slightly-better-than-swamp, but you’re still frantic.
The next level up is thinking strategically. Very few people do this. This is saying, “What am I trying to accomplish?” instead of “What should I do?” Instead of latching on to any particular action, you keep the end goal in mind. This is surprisingly hard to do, and will lead you to a very healthy, happy, wealthy, engaged life if you do it – staying away from frantic tactics and being strategic, I mean.
There’s an even higher level, though. This is acting philosophically instead of strategically. This acts, “What is right and wrong? What’s worth living and dying for? What do I stand for? Who am I?”
Then acting in accordance with that.
I think I’m somewhere between acting tactically and strategically – I’m strategic in some areas (and can easily spot when other’s aren’t strategic), but far too often default to tactical thinking in more complex situations. It’s something I’m going to focus on for the next few months, especially in terms of projects I’m juggling.1