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Nate Ritter's personal principles

Here's the deal

  • These are in no particular order.
  • Principles are ideas by which we live.
  • Ideas are not sacred. Ideas change. Ideas are not people nor identification marks.
  • People change their value systems all the time.
  • Principles are an attempt to retain some version of consistency between contexts, thus simplifying one's life with generalities.
  • Specific instances may require these ideas to be adapted or thrown out entirely.
  • To be offended by an idea means you are offended by a magical, make believe thing. Don't be.
  • Get your own.

You are valuable because you are breathing (and are made in the image of God)


  • God gave you the breath you breathe right now. That's a blessing, and He has a reason for doing it (the reason doesn't matter to us, and we might never know it, so don't focus on that).
  • When you recognize you are valuable, and that your identity is in Christ and nothing else - no more and no less - your behavior towards yourself and others changes.
  • You see others, who also have their value and identity in how Christ sees them, as valuable also. Who are you to judge why God gave them life? He loves them just as He loves and blessed you (with nothing more and nothing less than breath and identity in Christ).
  • You are free from the judgement of others.
  • We bear the “imago Dei” (image of God). Every person does. The value comes from being created in this form. Ref: Genesis 1:27, Matthew 5:21-22

Look backwards while you work


  • Celebrating small wins is important. It is often said, but rarely done because it feels quaint and inconsequential. However, stepping back to think about small accomplishments (like a 1% improvement) and sharing that with others lets them join in your vision (community/relationship building), solidifies your resolve to continue, and helps you see the job from someone else's viewpoint.
  • It may build empathy as well, because as you ask others to celebrate your wins, you may want to start helping celebrate the wins of your friends and family too, building relationships in the process.
  • Story: cutting sod to make a walkway. The feeling of progress and how easy it was to continue when I turned around and cut it while looking back at my progress rather than forward at what I had left to do. Encouraging vs discouraging. Tricks your brain into thinking it's easy, which actually does make it easier and more enjoyable to do, reducing stress in the brain at the same time.

Making an impact: Focus locally first


  • Making a "dent in the universe" or a large impact on the world is commendable, but typical without practical, tactical steps. It's not bad to have lofty goals or large visions, but visions without execution are delusions.
  • The fastest, easiest way to make a large impact is not the number of people, but the depth of the impact. This can be much more easily done locally - within your current geography and network.
  • Learning and solving the needs of a local population can scale. Not all do, but while that's explored, you're making an impact now, today, in people's lives you can see.
  • Seeing your impact is important to feeling fulfilled in your purpose with whatever the task at hand is.

Authority and responsibility must be balanced


  • There must be a balance between having the resources to accomplish the task and the responsibility for it's outcome.
  • Authority without responsibility is typified by the team leader taking the credit while doing nothing to get the team's goals accomplished.
  • Responsibility without authority is typified by the team member who is accomplish a task but not given any resources (time, control, tools, etc) to do so, while being judged upon the performance of completing said task.
  • When the two are not balanced, the relationship is toxic.

On Travel


  • Travel is one way to experience variety and diversity, visually, linguistically, philosophically, etc.
  • The ability to see from other's perspectives influences your ability to find value in the world
  • Travel rewires and short circuits your brain, causing you to learn to find solutions in difficult situations. It makes your mind tougher and more flexible.
  • Travel helps you understand there are more than just black an white values and perspectives in the world. Trying to understand where other people come from will enrich your life and the lives of those around you.

Invest in flexibility / freedom (contextual to democracy)


  • You never know what life will bring you. If you are flexible and free to change directions quickly, you will have less loss, heartache, and difficulty.
  • Freedom has exponential growth. You may not know what exactly will grow or when, but something that is free definitely will do so.
  • NOTE: This is the goal of the game while in a democracy. Other government types do not hold this as the best way to succeed. Case in point is communalism. A better principle which supersedes all forms of government is altruism. Altruistic democracies, benevolent dictators, etc. The altruism is the point. Confucius said the best government is to be the best man you can be. Plato / Socrates said focusing on and becoming more virtuous is the goal. Both infer or explicitly say only those who can govern themselves in this way have the ability to lead others to do it too. And in that, you should lead / govern by example.

Go all in. Commit to something.


  • Desperate people or people with nothing to lose are not the ones you want to compete against. Be that person. Commit to it.
  • On the flip side, not committing and/or waiting to see if something else better comes along leads to mediocre results at best. This is the case at least in careers, hobbies, and relationships, and perhaps more areas of life.

On thankfulness and being grateful


  • It slows you down be present in the moment
  • It reduces the comparison mindset's impact on your thought process
  • It helps you be patient with others
  • It makes you more empathetic to where others may be coming from
  • It reduces stress, telling your brain "this is easy", which is, many times, self-fulfilling

On financial literacy and value


  • Basic financial literacy is not taught in schools. It's probably the most fundamentally important and used tool in every day life after high school.
  • Reference: (most, but not all is correct IMO)
  • Value regardless of context is the building block to financial literacy. If you can find the value in the chain of events and/or transaction, you make better decisions and avoid financial ruin. You also are free from the bindings of an employer/employee relationship because you'll always be able to see where people are in need.

Cultivate a dynamic mindset

Credit: Joshua Waitzkin in the Art of Learning


  • Static mindset examples: You are smart. You are fast. You are [x].
  • Dynamic mindset example: You can learn how.
  • Static mindset is indicated by an identity wrapped up in a personal property/trait. Dynamic mindset is indicated by fluid change, improvement, and the ability to learn from mistakes.

Act the way you want to become and you will become the way you act


  • Your habits dictate your thoughts, your skills, your network, etc.
  • Know who you want to be
  • Becoming the person you want to be is as simple as acting more like that person today - now
  • Who you believe you are is important to you. Matching that to reality is important for others. Authenticity is how parallel those two are in your life.

Compound Even One Percent as Soon and Often as Possible


  • 1% improvement per day leads to massive gains
  • Much of life is "winner take all", and much of those competitions are earned by being the best. How much better is irrelevant. It could be thousandths of a second to get the gold medal
  • Compounding interest is fundamental in successful financial investing. It should be fundamental in self-development (self-investing) as well.

Find Someone who Shares Your Values

The world has become "lonely". People are amidst other people all the time but still are intensely lonely. The way to combat this is to share something with another person or group that is meaningful to both of you. Philosophy, bowling, cheesecake, anti-cheesecake clubs. Whatever, as long as it has meaning and value to you.

And they won't likely share all your values. You just need them to share one, and then respect and enjoy learning about the differences between the rest, and why you each hold them.

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