30 January 2023


How would my 100-year-old self look back on my life?

What would he like my principles to be?

My grandfather died saying he had a fantastic life. I want to tell my grandchildren I also had a fantastic life.

So what is a fantastic life?

A fantastic life is one that brings me closer to my goals, and in which I live according to my principles.

The Principles are what this page is about.

The Goals are here.

(1) I think long term. From the perspective of my 100-year-old self (or older)

My 100-year-old self wants me to invest in things and people which provide joy on the long term. My-100-year old self:

(1) Is fit, healthy and mentally at ease (principle 10)

(2) Is surrounded with great people (principle 5)

(3) Doesn’t depend on the government for retirement (principle 4)

At the start of the Ukraine war in 2022, I read this in a short biography of the Ukranian President Zelensky, who was quickly becoming a national hero: When he became president, Zelensky asked not to have a picture of him in government buildings, classrooms, and other official buildings. But instead for everyone to have a picture of their children on their desk. And to think about them when making decisions.

Those are the kind of decisions I want to take.

Most of the principles below fall in one way or another under this principle.

(2) Time is My Most Important Resource in Life

I don't want to waste time. Ever.

I only have a 100 years to have an amazing life doing amazing things. There is a sense of urgency to get things done!

Even if I think I have mountains of time, for almost everything, the situation can change unexpectedly at all times. I have to take action now.

I will only live once, I want it to be a life worth living!

(3) My life is A Joyful, Adventureous Life

Life is an Adventure!

My 100-year-old self wants me to have led a joyful, energetic life. Always in a peak state. That’s why I prioritise fun.

I laugh violently, I make jokes, sometimes bad ones.

I try to make other people smile. I try to smile a lot myself.

It's easier to solve problems in a happy, playful mood.

I want to help people have fun. I want to make a business which is fun.

I am opportunistic - My 100-year-old self doesn't want to regret not doing anything I wanted to do.

I want to take the most exciting option at all times, and I want to create exciting options at all times.

I believe my mental health contributes massively to my physical health. If I am unhappy, my body deteriorates, so I better be joyful!

I want to become financially successful as a byproduct of fun. Not the other way around.

I want to see people smile as the result of an interaction with me or my products. I want to overcome the challenges to see the smiles on your customers’ faces when building digital products. That's why eventually I want to build an offline lifestyle business.

I believe that with high energy and optimism I will always be able to create better opportunities to improve my life.

(4) I want to be Financially Independent

We probably need around 2 million USD if we want to spend 5,000 USD monthly together with my spouse. Assuming we retire at 70 and die at 100.

Frankly, I never want to retire at all. Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet are prime examples.

The biggest potential return is probably in starting a business.

I believe the best business is the one I'm passionate about.

So the path I'm following is building according to my gut feel until I stumble upon something that people want to pay for, while at the same time it's something I'm passionate about.

A Throw Until Something Sticks approach.

Another part of growing financially independent is taking risks, and jumping on opportunities. Sometimes a cryptocurrency or stock rises or declines unexpectedly. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn't. But when it happens, I better be there.

Newsletter #39 - The Remote Life Plan elaborates on why we need to earn independent of location.

(5) Everything has been done before

For most things in life, there is someone who has been there before.

Instead of asking what I want, I ask who I want to become.

I admire people like Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, ... who provide strong energy while maintaining a strong element of fun.

(6) I want to create opportunities through Intentional Serendipity

It's important to keep meeting people to get new ideas.

I once read a story in which one person builds behinds closed doors, while the other is always chit-chatting. The moral was that the former gets a lot more done, and the latter gets less done overall, but what he gets done is a a lot more relevant. I believe there is truth in this story.

I'm training my personality to adhere to this principle.

Here's a link to my newsletter covering this.

Other people call this increasing the surface area.

(7) Children Are Amazing!

It adds to Principle 3, it makes life an even bigger adventure.

(8) I train myself to be resourceful

I want to have five solutions in my head even before reaching the Google search bar.

There's always a way, I just have to figure out (See principle 5: Everything has been done before).

(9) I want to spend time with my parents and listen to their stories

There will come a time when they are not there anymore to tell their stories.

Maybe I should write their stories?

(10) My body should be mentally and physical fit to achieve a 100 years old

If I want to become a 100 years old, I need to take care of my body, both physically and mentally.

Physically it requires daily exercise and a healthy diet.

Mentally it requires taking time off for myself. Time for meditation or priming, time for focused work. 15-30 minutes per day would be ideal. A weekend per half year would be fantastic.

Mentally it also requires a passion for what I do. A love and purpose. He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How (from Man's Search for Meaning).

(11) I want to push beyond my borders

Physically and mentally by running marathons, by doing ice baths, by doing other physical challenges.

(12) I want to be grateful

Gratitude is one of the strongest forces towards having a fulfilled life. We're creatures who have self-awareness, on a small spinning rock somewhere in an infinite universe, in a relative time. Ain't that something to be grateful for?!

I want to be generous

The secret to living is giving. If at moments I feel I don't have enough, I donate to charity. It puts me with both feet on the ground that I have abundance.

While living in Asia, I realise I'm very lucky to have been born and raised in a European country:

(1) Great public education (compared to Asia)
(2) In a democracy where everyone can write and say what he wants (contrary to most of South-East Asia)
(3) In a family with financial means (contrary to many families in Thailand, let alone Laos, Myanmar, Cambodja, ...)
(4) In a country not torn apart by civil war (present day Myanmar)

I try to be generous with all people who have less than me. The bigger the difference, the more generous I should be. Not only in money, also in words and deeds.

Public Backlog

-- I need to run at all times, I need to have a high intensity at all times. There's only few moments when that's not the case: when meditating, when reading and reminiscing notes or things I wrote in my past, when reading fiction, when doing yoga, ... I don't know how to clearly separate the high intensity / low intensity yet. I want to go to bed being excited for the next day. Almost as if I cannot sleep because of it. Like a little child who can't sleep for excitement for Santa Claus in the morning.

-- If there's a reason to dress up for a party, I do it! It only has advantages: Costumes are the best, playing a role is great fun, it makes it easier to strike conversation, ... Also applies for suiting up for a night out!

-- If I can make every day a great day, then I will always have had a great life!

- I want to speak in positive terms about people. It builds energy and enthusiasm in myself, people are attracted to people who bring positive energy, and it builds a positive image of myself. Apparently Richard Branson's mother would put him in front of a mirror every time he said something bad about someone, to show him how it reflects bad on him.

-- I want to be Curious. I read Surely You're Joking Mister Feynmann for a masterclass in curiosity and how it brings unexpected surprises.

-- I share Winning Stories. After a hard day at work, I try to share what went well, what I liked, what I did and how it made for a better day. Everyone bitches about their work, but somehow we're still making progress, so we must be doing something right?

-- It's ok to change my mind. As long as I can explain why. Consistency is overrated.

-- I Sing and Dance whenever I can.

-- Doing new things first provides fear, and then a whole lot of energy. The short term fear holds me back from the benefits lying behind it. I need to look at how I will feel after the event, not just how I will feel on the moment of maximum fear.

-- I read fiction and (auto-) biographies. Biographies help me decide how to achieve my goals (see Principle 5: everything has been done before). Fiction helps me relax, and inspires, it allows me to take on a different role and think in a different way (for example dressing up for a party). Note: Sometimes it's time to stop reading and start doing. It's a difficult balance. If you're only reading and speaking to people you know the latest trends, ideas, on which you can build. If you're only building and never getting inputs you're probably building in a vacuum.

-- I don't eat in airplanes.


Naval makes an interesting observation about children on Twitter.