The LifeOS Framework
Every personal development philosophy is built on a set of beliefs or assumptions or ideas or whatever you want to call them. They can be related to spiritual or astrological concepts, human desires, logical flaws, or anything in between. But whatever they are, these foundation-level concepts guide the development of the entire philosophy from core concepts to personal transformation strategies and everything in between.
Identifying and understanding the core beliefs of any philosophy is critical to your personal development because it quickly helps you understand whether or not the philosophy is for you. If you agree with the beliefs then the ideas, strategies, and conclusions of that philosophy will resonate with you. If you don’t agree, something will always feel off and you’ll struggle to make meaningful progress regardless of how hard you try to understand and use the philosophy.
To make sure you don’t waste your time with a philosophy that conflicts with your core beliefs, below are the four core foundation beliefs of LifeOS. They’re presented as The LifeOS Framework as it’s the framework inherent in LifeOS for understanding people (you). They’re built on the latest understanding of the human brain development and decision making processes combined with some of the most forehead-slappingly obvious logic it’ll make you wonder how you didn’t see it in the first place.
Take your time and read through. If you find yourself nodding along and want to dive deeper, there are options at the end of the article that will help you put it into action. If you find that these foundations don’t resonate with your perception of the world. I’m happy for you to be wrong 🙂 KIDDING. Seriously though, please search for something else that does resonate with your core beliefs and come back if you ever find your beliefs have changed.
Let’s dive into the first one.
Principle 1: Desires drive your life
The first principle of the LifeOS Framework is that your entire reality is driven by desires. At any point in time, in any situation, doing any activity, there’s something you want – to get, to do, to see, to experience. Sure, some people will experience occasional and brief moments of complete satisfaction where all they could ever dream of doing is lying still and enjoying that moment, but even then, there’s a desire: to lay still and enjoy the moment. Every thought, every feeling, every decision, and every action is driven by a desire.
The fact you’re driven by desire might seem obvious, but it has very important implications for your current and future life situation.
Desires drive your decisions
Every decision you have ever made and will ever make is driven by a desire:
- Where you live is driven by a desire
- Where you work is driven by a desire
- Who you spend time with is driven by a desire
But it’s not only big decisions that are driven by desires. Smaller, everyday decisions are also desire driven:
- Whether you withdraw $100 or $200 from the ATM
- The seat you choose in the food court
- Whether you step right or left to avoid oncoming pedestrians
Every decision you have ever made and will ever make is driven by a desire. There’s a drive to achieve or find or complete or experience something. This means that if you’ve made poor decisions in the past or you’re making poor decisions right now and want to make better decisions, you first need to understand you’re making those decisions for a reason: to fulfil a desire.
Desires drive your actions
Every action you have ever taken and will ever take is also driven by a desire:
- Getting out of bed in the morning is driven by a desire
- Searching for a solution to your life challenges is driven by a desire
- Gettin blackout drunk is driven by a desire
Once again, it’s not just the big actions are driven by a desire. The smaller, everyday actions are also driven by a desire:
- Shifting in your seat to make yourself more comfortable is driven by a desire
- Packing a water bottle in your day bag is desire driven
- Avoiding eye contact with the person walking toward you is driven by a desire
Every action you have ever taken and will ever take is driven by a desire. There’s a drive behind it to achieve or find or complete or experience something. This means that if you’re repeating unproductive actions and want to know how to change them, you need to start with understanding that you’re doing those things for a reason: to fulfil a desire.
Desires drive your emotional state
Your thoughts, decisions and actions are driven by a desire. If those decisions and actions help you to fulfil your desire, you experience a positive emotional state in the intensity that relates directly to the significance of that desire.
- If your house location bring ease and effortlessness to your life then you’ll enjoy something in the range of positive emotions and experiences
- If your work location decreases your travel time and allows more time with your adoring family then you’ll enjoy something in the range of positive emotions and experiences
- If the people you spend time with engage and inspire you then you’ll enjoy something in the range of positive emotions and experiences
But, if your decisions and actions fail to fulfil your desire, you’ll experience a negative emotion with an intensity directly related to the significance of that desire.
- If your house location puts you and your family in difficult and dangerous situations then you’ll suffer negative emotions or experiences
- If your work location keeps you crawling through traffic longer than you wanted and decreases your quality time with your family then you’ll suffer negative emotions or experiences
- If the people you spend time with frustrate and bore you then you’ll suffer negative emotions or experiences
This means that if you’re experiencing any one of a number of negative emotions such as anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness or anything in between, it’s for a reason: you have an unfulfilled desire.
This might all seem a little obvious (hey, I warned you!), but it’s an important first step in overcoming your frustrations and disappiontments and creating a rich and rewarding life. It moves the conversation away from blaming others for your less-than-ideal situation and focusses back on what’s really driving your life challenges: your desires.
It doesn’t matter how much you know about the LifeOS Framework and how well you can explain it to your friends, you will never transform your less-than-ideal life until you apply the theory to your limitations and challenges. To make sure you apply these lessons and start your journey to a remarkable life, each of these four principles has a 1-minute exercise that will help you understand these concepts apply to you.
Your exercise for Principle 1 is simple: You came to LifeOS to solve a problem. What is the desire behind that problem?
If you’re making poor decisions and want to make better life decisions: look at your current poor decision and ask yourself: why am I making these decisions? What do I get out of making these decisions? What is the desire is driving these decisions? What do I want?
If you’re repeating unproductive actions and want to take more productive actions: look at your current unproductive actions and ask yourself: why am I taking these actions? What do I get out of taking these actions? What is the desire is driving these actions? What do I want?
If you’re experiencing some negative emotional state and want to change that to a positive emotional state: ask yourself: what is the opposite of this negative emotional state? What emotional state do I desire? What do I want?
If you know what your desire is and came here to find out why you can’t fulfil it: just go straight to Principle 2.
Principle 2: The problem is Dependence
Despite what it might seem like on the surface, your desires are not the cause of your less-than-ideal existence. Wanting a new job or a boyfriend or money or people to leave you alone or to become the next YouTube celebrity is not a problem. There are people who want all of those things and are still living happy and fulfilling lives so it means your desires can’t be the problem. There has to be something else at play.
The cause of every and any challenge in your life is not what you desire but how you try and fulfil it. There are many different ways to fulfil any desire and the one you follow not only determines the barriers and challenges you face, but also how likely you are to overcome them.
I’ll start with an example that you probably didn’t come here to solve, but would like to be able to solve anyway: making a jaw-dropping, mind-bending, Scrooge McDuck-level, shit-ton of money. There are plenty of ways to make a lot of money. You can make money by:
- Stealing other people’s valuables and selling them
- Starting a ponzi scheme and defrauding others of their hard earned wealth
- Sitting at home buying lottery tickets and hoping you’re the 1:134,490,400
- Becoming an elite sports star
- Mucking around at school and ending up spending 50 hours a week working a dead-end job with no promotional possibilities and hoping that the $13 you’re able to save each week won’t be eaten up by a car/medical/house emergency
- Dedicating yourself to your studies and developing skills and competencies that allow you to land a high-paying job with significant promotional opportunities then consciously managing your money to build your nest egg
- Building your own company and leveraging the power of economies of scale to quickly amass a significant bank balance
- Build an automated website that makes commissions from recommending other people’s products and start your second/third/fourth one while your first one continues to grow
The mechanism you choose to make money will determine the problems and challenges you have to overcome, and therefore, whether or not you’re eventually able to fulfil that desire.
If you try to make money by stealing and selling other peoples’ valuables then your problems and challenges, and your eventual ability to make your money and fulfil that desire, will be determined by that mechanism. You’ll have to:
- Locate houses that contain expensive goods
- Determine the optimum time to break in
- Bypass all security systems and break in without being noticed
- Locate the goods before anyone stops you
- Remove those goods without being noticed
- Transport those goods without being noticed
- Sell those goods to people without them reporting you to the authorities
- Repeat many more times (depending on the goods you’re stealing)
Is it possible to get make money like this? Sure it is, but this mechanism presents obvious and significant challenges for fulfiling your desire — mostly related to dodging the law and avoiding ending up in jail. Yes, you might get rich, but you’re far more likely to end up in a bright orange jumpsuit rattling your metal cup against the bars whilst Bubba makes sexy-eyes in your general direction.
Luckily, it’s not the only mechanism for making cash.
If your mechanism for making cash is studying hard at school and educating yourself into a position where you’re able to charge significant amounts of money for your time, then the problems and challenges you face will be determined by that mechanism. You’ll have to:
- Ignore obvious and ever-present distractions (friends, the opposite (or same) sex, extra-curricular activities) in and around your place and time of learning
- Forgo experiences, activities, and events so you can dedicate time to study
- Forgo time with important and significant people in your life
- Work tirelessly in your non-study time to earn enough money to be able to continue studying
- Take on a significant debt load to fund your continued education
- Try and land a job in your chosen field once you complete your study
- Choose a house in a location that allows the easiest access to your work whilst taking into account your large debt load and limited income
- If you can land a job in your chosen field, work long hours for little pay and sense of satisfaction with the hope your dedication and commitment will pay off and you’ll be chosen to climb the ranks and take a more senior position in the organisation where you can force others to work hard for little pay and sense of satisfaction
- Work long and hard and funnel the additions to your pay packet back into paying off the debts you’ve accrued on the way to achieving your position
- Continue this until your debts are paid off and your nest egg is sufficient for you to relax and enjoy the spoils of your hard work
Is it possible to make money by following this mechanism? Yes, it definitely is. You can make lots of money and you’re far less likely to lose everything than through breaking the law, but it still has it’s own barriers and challenges – mostly related to the significant costs (both in terms of money and time) necessary to follow this path and the length of time it will take to repay those costs. Yes, you can make lots of money and you’re far less likely to lose everything than through breaking the law, but it will take a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment, often at times when you don’t want to work hard and be committed.
Luckily, once again, it’s not the only mechanism.
If you try to fulfil your money-making desire by building an automated marketing website then you’ll face a different set of challenges and barriers. You’ll have to:
- Identify a niche where people are actively looking for solutions
- Learn the 4-step, 2-hour process of building a website for less than $100
- Write content that solves the problem of your target audience
- Drive traffic to that website
- Optimise the performance of that website
- Build your next website
Is it possible to make lots of money this way? Yes, it definitely is. You’re more likely to make and keep your money than through stealing and it requires less hard work and dedication than studying and upskilling, but it still presents its own challenges – mostly related to your familiarity with and willingness to explore technology.
I’m not going to go on here; you get the idea. The mechanism you follow to fulfil your desire determines the challenges and barriers you face.
What’s the real problem?
Every mechanism has challenges and barriers and each set of challenges and barriers are different. This fact doesn’t mean all mechanisms are created equal and that randomly picking one from a list with a dart and a mind-map is a good idea. Some are easier and simpler meaning a fulfilling, rewarding, and exciting experience waits around the corner whilst others more complicated and difficult meaning that following them is more likely to leave you trapped roller-coaster of emotional suffering until you manage to cut your way out. The complexity and difficulty isn’t due to the number or technical nature of the barriers. It’s because of something far simpler to analyse.
There are many different ways to slice, dice and categorise the challenges above to draw any number of interesting observations about the nature of existence and suffering, but the one that will give you the greatest insight into why your life is less than remarkable is the level of control and influence you’re able to exert over these challenges.
Challenges you have no control or influence over
At any moment in your life, there are things you have no control over. These include what people think, what people do, what people say, what people don’t do, the weather, your physical surroundings, government monetary policy, the rate of inflation, and just about anything else external to you.
In the above examples, they include:
- The security systems
- Whether or not people come home
- Whether or not people notice you
- Whether or not people report you
- Getting hired in your field of study
- Getting promoted
Whilst you can influence whether or not you overcome these challenges, the fact they’re external means you can never fully guarantee whether or not you overcome them.
- You can influence what people do but you can never guarantee they’re going to do what you want
- You can influence what people say but you can never guarantee they’re going to say what you want
- You can influence whether people hire and promote you but you can never fully control their decisions
External challenges will always remain outside your control so you can never fully guarantee success.
Mechanisms that have a higher percentage of elements outside your control or whose success is contingent on elements outside your control are referred to as being more Dependent because you’re dependent on things outside your control to fulfil your desires.
Challenges you have complete control and influence over
At any moment in life, there are challenges you have complete control over. They include your decisions, your choices, and your actions. In the above examples, they include:
- Locating houses that contain expensive goods
- Ignoring distractions
- Studying hard
- Exploring unfamiliar areas of technology
They’re internal because you have complete control over these elements and can choose whether or not you overcome them and fulfil your desire.
- You can choose whether or not you pay attention to other people
- You can choose whether or not you dedicate yourself to studying
- You can choose whether or not you explore unfamiliar topics
You have complete control over Internal challenges and can, therefore, guarantee success in those areas.
Mechanisms that have a higher percentage of elements within your control or whose success is contingent on elements within your control are referred to as being more Independent because you can complete them independently of what other people think, say, and do.
The Real Problem
This is another one of those really fucking obvious when you think about it things… If your mechanism for fulfiling your desire has a high percentage of challenges outside your control, you’re going to struggle to fulfil your desire and experience the negative emotional repercussions from having an unfulfilled desire.
Let that sink in for a minute.
If your life is less than remarkable, it’s not because of your intelligence or genes or work ethic or desires or upbringing or charka alignment. The single cause of your less-than-remarkable life is choosing Dependent mechanisms to fulfill your desires. You’re trying to get the things you want through ways and means you don’t control. And worse than that, you’re trying to get the things you want from channels that you not only don’t control, but that also have no vested interest in your happiness.
This point is so important that I’m going to repeat it, and this time, in bold and quotes:
The single cause of your less-than-remarkable life is not your desires or your intelligence or your genes or your work ethic, it’s because you’re choosing Dependent mechanisms to fulfil your desires. You’re trying to get the things you want through channels you don’t control. And worse than that, you’re trying to get the things you want from channels that you not only don’t control, but that also have no vested interest in your happiness.
Read that above statement again and again and again until it sinks in. You’re not broken. The universe doesn’t hate you. You haven’t sinned in a past life or incurred the wrath of the gods. Your lack of strong role models or tough financial situation throughout your youth isn’t to blame. You don’t need a juice
You have the physical and psychological tools, you just need to stop trying to force a world that doesn’t care about your happiness and has no vested interest in making sure you’re happy to fulfil your desires. That’s it. That’s all it is. Every problem, every frustration, every pain, and every sharp pang of anger exists because you have Dependent mechanisms.
Dependent, unproductive mechanisms are the problem. They’re the root cause of every issue, every challenge, every bit of pain, and every bit of frustration in your entire life. Everywhere. All the time. In every moment of your life.
Your exercise for this module is simple and depends on the problem you’ve come to LifeOS to solve.
If you’re making poor decisions and want to make better life decisions, look at the current poor decision you’re making and ask yourself: what mechanism am I using to fulfil my desire? And what negative impacts is it having on my life?
If you’re repeating unproductive actions and want to take more productive actions, look at the current unproductive actions you’re taking and ask yourself: what mechanism am I using to fulfil my desire? And what negative impacts is it having on my life?
If you’re experiencing some negative emotional state and want to change that to a positive emotional state, ask yourself: what mechanism am I using to fulfil my desire? Which elements of that mechanism are out of my control (focus on other people’s thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions, as well as other environmental elements)? And which elements of that mechanism are inside my control (focus on your thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions)?
If you’re struggling to currently fulfil a desire (make money, get a partner, etc…), ask yourself: what mechanism am I using to fulfil my desire? Which elements of that mechanism are out of my control (focus on other people’s thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions, as well as other environmental elements)? And which elements of that mechanism are inside my control (focus on your thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions)?
Principle 3: The solution is Independence
If the root cause of every challenge, barriers, issue, and frustration is choosing Dependent mechanisms with lots of elements outside your control, what do you think the solution might be?
(It’s time for that forehead-slapping obviousness I talked about at the start)
Yes, it’s finding more Independent mechanisms. It’s finding ways to get what you want with fewer elements or less significant elements outside your control and more elements inside your control. That’s it. That’s as hard as it gets. The more elements inside your control, the less you have to rely on other people and events falling into place and the higher the chance you’ll get what you want. Simple, obvious, and easy.
This doesn’t just relate to making money. It relates to every frustration in every frustration in every minute of every area in your life.
- Fed up with traffic slowing your journey to work and eating up the precious minutes and days of your life? Stop complaining about something outside your control and find a way to get to work that gets around the traffic. Or, even better, find a way to work that means you can do it without having to drive anywhere
- Sick of people taking advantage of your kind nature? Stop waiting for them to change and find a way to get what you want without needing people in your life
- Done with not having enough money? Stop waiting for someone to just pay you more and start finding ways to generate your own income, regardless of what someone else determines your hourly rate should be
- Finished with being alone every Friday night? Stop waiting for the perfect partner to fall into your lap and start proactively both becoming the kind of person who’s naturally attractive and pursuing the partner you’ve always wanted
Instead of waiting around for the world — which has no vested interest in your happiness — to fulfil your desires, fulfil them yourself. Wake up in the morning, decide how rewarding you want your day to be, and start taking responsibility for your happiness.
Sure, you could choose to follow Dependent mechanisms and wallow in the inevitable frustration of a painful life trying to convince an uncaring world to take pity on your soul. You could even through a tantrum when you don’t get what you want if that’s something that excites you. Or, you could choose Independent mechanisms and take control of your life. You could wake up in the morning, work out what desire you want to fulfil, and fulfil it. Then, once that’s fulfilled, fulfil the next. And then the next. And then the next, regardless of what’s happening around you. Regardless of whether your boss is in a good mood or how much traffic there is or how many zeros are attached to your bank account. You can choose to be the complete master of your life situation, life experience, and life trajectory in every moment.
What this means for your life transformation journey
The solution being Independence has two significant impacts on your journey to live a fuller, richer, and more rewarding life.
Independence Impact 1. You’re the boss
The first is that you’re the complete master of your life. You have complete control. Living a rewarding, fulfilling, and exciting life is a conscious choice you make in every moment. And not in that ‘Just think positive thoughts and the universe will give you a new sports car’ wishful thinking junk promoted by poorly thought-out nonsense masquerading as personal development.
You become the master because you have control over the specific mechanism responsible for your happiness. You get to choose to feel fulfilled or excited or calm or free or connected or significant or whatever else you’re looking for because your actions and your actions alone determine your life and life experience. You’re not waiting on anyone or anything else to make you feel fulfilled and excited. You’re the boss. You’re in charge. And you get to choose.
Independence Impact 2. Challenge Clarification
The second is: you might not need to solve the problems and challenges you’ve been focussing on.
Continuing with the examples from the Principles 1 and 2: If your desire was to make money and your mechanism for making money was to work your way to the top, you’ll face specific challenges that require specific solutions. Problems you’ll need to solve and questions you’ll need to answer are:
- How do I stay focused when all my friends are partying?
- How do I become more efficient at studying so I can fit in time to work?
- How can I increase my chance of gaining a scholarship?
- How can I influence a hiring panel to increase my chances of being hired?
- How can I impress my boss to increase my chances of being promoted?
- What are some smart money management techniques to maximise the value of my hard work and pay off my debts sooner?
Each of these questions has a range of different answers, each with its own theory and steps to follow which will all take a significant amount of time and energy. But, all these questions relate to the specific mechanism. By changing mechanisms, you actually change the problems you need to solve and the questions you need to ask. If you changed from climbing the corporate ladder to creating wealth through building websites, your questions will be:
- How do I make a website?
- In what niches are people searching for solutions?
- How can I make money from providing answers to their questions?
- How can I drive traffic to my website?
You haven’t solved the problems associated with the first mechanism, you’ve changed mechanisms so you don’t need to solve those problems anymore.
- You don’t need to insulate yourself from your friends’ activities
- You don’t need to be more efficient at studying
- You don’t need to gain a scholarship
- You don’t need to influence a hiring panel
- You don’t need to be promoted
- You haven’t accrued significant debts and so don’t need advanced money management techniques to pay them off
These things stop being problems for you because they’re not barriers to you fulfilling your desires anymore. You haven’t solved these problems, you’ve just made them insignificant. You’re not better at solving them, you just don’t care any more.
This doesn’t just relate to the example of making money, it holds true for every issue in your life.
- You only need to learn how to manage your boss’ bad moods if you have a boss. If you start your own company, the ability to deal with your boss’ moods is irrelevant
- You only need to learn how to defend yourself from those who put you down if you spend time associating with people who find their strength and power in putting other people down. If you start associating with people who find their strength and power in lifting others up, finding strategies to deal with these people becomes unimportant
- You only need to work out the best way to avoid crawling through peak hour traffic if you work from a location other than your house. If you start working remotely, traffic becomes irrelevant
Yes, you’ve still got challenges to overcome and barriers to work through, but they’re SIGNIFICANTLY simpler to solve and more importantly, you have the power to solve them regardless of what happens around you. You become the complete master of your reality in every sense of the word. You have the ability to choose whether you feel fulfilled and happy or sad and angry in every moment. Independence gives you complete control over your entire life experience at any point in time.
Your exercise for this principle is to look at the challenges and barriers you’re currently facing and ask yourself: if I wasn’t dependent on other people to fulfil my desires, What would be different about my life and my life experience? Think through your current average day and make a note of everything that would change if you weren’t dependent on other people.
Principle 4: The Core Desire
Now, we get to the fun part. You know about how:
- Your entire life is driven by desires
- Dependence is the reason your life is anything less than exciting and rewarding
- Independence will give you complete control over your entire life situation, life experience, and life trajectory
At this point in time, it’s all pretty straight forward and somewhat obvious. The idea of focussing solely on what you contribute to create a more rewarding life isn’t anything new. The Stoic’s have been saying this ever since before the idea of personal development was even a thing and it forms the core philosophy of most 12-step programs.
But, there’s one key element they’ve all missed that’s necessary to become the complete master of your reality in every minute.
Whilst following the path of Independence will eliminate 90% of frustrations in your life, it still leaves you with one significant problem: there are some outcomes that are inherently dependent. Getting money or a car or the perfect partner all rely on obtaining things outside your control. This means that regardless of how hard you work and how well you optimise your mechanisms to become more and more Independent, you’re always going to be struggling against a world that has no vested interest in helping you fulfil your desires. Yes, Independence will make those challenges much simpler and easier, but they will still exist.
This is tough, but also not true. There’s a simple workaround that means you can fulfil your desires in a way that removes all dependence and puts you 100% in control of your life experience in every moment, as long as you understand one fundamental of human desire.
What do people really want?
The cause of this lingering Dependence issue is an assumption that you inherently desire something external. That you want money or a car or a boyfriend or a promotion or a house or a job or a money or to leave your hometown and land somewhere else. But is that what you really want?
The journey to answer this question is one with many twist, turns, and false starts. There are some poorly thought-out opinions around that only serve to confuse the answer by not standing up to a basic logical test: for something to be a core desire of all people, you could not be happy wihtout it.
- Some people suggest that health is a core human desire, yet there are plenty of people in various stages of health decay that are happy and fulfilled so this can’t be a core human desire
- Some people have suggested admiration and approval are a core human desire, yet there are plenty of people who don’t give a flying fuck about what other people think and still live happy and rewarding lives so this can’t be a core human desire
- Maslow identified love and belonging as a core human desire yet there are plenty of people who not only actively seek out solitude, but are only capable of finding happiness in that solitude, so it can’t be a core human desire
- Other people have suggested success as a core human desire, yet there are plenty of examples of people who have lived their whole lives in a constant state of mediocracy and still passed away feeling happy and fulfilled
The real answer comes from exploring the obvious contradictions in these answers and finding the truth behind them. Yes, it’s true that some people desire health, but others don’t. Others desire admiration and approval yet others don’t. Some desire love and belonging and others don’t. Some desire success whilst others don’t. What’s the common theme behind these desires? What is at the core of all these outcomes? What is the core human desire?
The primary desire at the of ever human thought, decision, and action, lies behind these desires, in what people hope to get from these once they fulfil these desires.
- Why do people pursue health? Health isn’t an end in itself, health in a means to an end. People pursue health because it will reduce the amount and significance of the barriers and challenges they face and make it easier to overcome the ones that do appear in their life. Health gives them a greater sense of certainty that they can live their life the way they want to now, and in the future
- Why do people pursue admiration and approval? Admiration and approval aren’t an end in themselves, they’re a means to an end. People pursue admiration and approval because when people admire and approve of you, it makes your life easier. You face fewer barriers and challenges and those you do are easier to overcome. Admiration and approval gives people a greater sense of certainty that they can live their life the way they want to now, and in the future.
- Why do people pursue love and belonging? Love and belonging aren’t an end in themselves, they’re a means to an end. People pursue love and belonging because when people love you and you belong to a group, it makes your life easier. You face fewer barriers and those you do are easier to overcome. Love and belonging give people a greater sense of certainty that they can live their life the way they want to now and in the future
- Why do people pursue success? Success isn’t an end in itself, it’s a means to an end. People pursue success because when you’re successful, it makes your life easier. People want to associate with you, you have more money, and you have greater power to determine your life direction. Success gives people a greater sense of certainty that they can live their life the way they want to now and in the future
Unless you completely skipped that whole section, it should be obvious what the core human desire is. It’s not health or approval or love or success. It’s the certainty that you can have your life the way you want to, now and in the future, or just Certainty for short.
But, and this is important, whilst health or love or success are important for some people to experience Certainty, they’re not necessary to experience Certainty and they’re definitely not the only way to experience Certainty.
- Money allows some people to experience Certainty because they can purchase the goods and services they need. But, for those who either have the skills necessary to create the goods and fulfil the services they need, a bulging bank account is irrelevant to their Certainty
- A car can help some experience a greater level of certainty by helping them get the places they need to go, but if they can do them without a car (public transport, ride-sharing, couriers) then a car won’t contribute to their Certainty. In fact, if they live in an area where it’s expensive and cumbersome to own a car, it could reduce their level of certainty.
- A close-knit group of friends will help some experience Certainty through support and guidance whilst those who feel as though they don’t need support and guidance will find them unnecessary. In fact, those who feel relying on others limits their freedom could find friends a hindrance to experiencing Certainty
Your Core Desire
This is why Certainty, and not these external representations of Certainty, are the core desire behind 90%* of your actions. You don’t want money or a car or health or love or success. You want to be able to perceive, through the limited resources available to you, that you’re going to be able to have the life you want now and in the future. You want Certainty that everything is going to be OK.
If you want to see this in action in your own life, here’s a simple exercise: In the exercise at the end of Principle 1, you wrote down the desire behind your decisions, actions, and negative experiences. Find where you’ve written that and ask yourself this one very simple, powerful and very important question: Why?
Why do you want that? What is it important to you?
Don’t drift away to logical, global, and well-justified explanations of why human beings as a race desire these things. Don’t look at external influences that may or may not have shaped your decisions. Focus specifically on why you want it, in the moment you want it. If you fulfilled this desire, what do you anticipate would happen? What would be the outcome? And how would you feel?
Keep asking ‘why?’ until you get to the point where you can’t go any deeper. That point, at the deepest level, will be: Certainty
Why this is CRITICAL to understand
This shift is important for three reasons:
Reason 1: Your desires aren’t inherently Dependent
The fact that Certainty is the core desire behind 90%* of your thoughts, decisions, and actions (and therefore, every negative experience) removes the primary limitation from being able to free yourself completely from dependence on others and create a remarkable life you control: that outcomes are inherently dependent.
- You don’t need a loaded bank balance with six 0’s and two commas
- You don’t need admiration and approval
- You don’t need success
All of the essentials of Certainty are attainable, regardless of how the world responds. You don’t need to sit and wait and demand and complain and beg. You can attain all of
Reason 2: You don’t have to solve 10/50/100 different problems
The fact that your core desire is Certainty means that you no longer need to focus on solving lots of different problems. You don’t need to work out how to study more effectively then get hired then promoted then save lots of money while paying off large debts and you don’t need to work out how to identify low-competition niches and build websites and create content and drive traffic. You just need to solve one problem. Just one: Certainty.
Every frustration or challenge or limitation only exists because you either lack Certainty or are pursuing Certainty.
- You don’t need to learn how to impress your boss, you just need to develop a greater sense of Certainty
- You don’t need to prove yourself in front of your friends, you just need to develop a greater sense of Certainty
- You don’t need to learn how to be less judgemental, you just need to develop a greater sense of Certainty
All these issues have the same common core: a Dependent pathway for Certainty. Eliminating them just requires one simple solution: a more Independent pathway to Certainty. There aren’t 10/50/100 issues you’re facing. There’s typically only one. And if you can find a more Independent pathway to fulfil that core desire, the rest will typically vanish without much effort.
Reason 3: You might not have to solve the problem you’ve been focussing on
In Principle 3, you learned that because Independence is the solution to your problems, it means you might not have to solve the problem you’ve been focussing on. The fact that Certainty is your core desire takes that one step further.
In Principle 1 (Desires drive your life), you identified your desire. In Principle 3 (the problem is Dependence), you saw how you could fulfil that desire through a number of different mechanisms and the mechanism you chose was responsible for the barriers and issues you faced. But, the fact that desire exists in the first place only exists because you see it as the simplest and most readily available pathway to Certainty. You believed (consciously or unconsciously) that in order to experience Certainty, you had to fulfil that specific desire.
But is that really the best way to experience Certainty? Is that the most Independent way to perceive that you will be able to have the life you want, now and in the future? Choosing a more Independent path and fulfilling your desire for Certainty means you can not only avoid the inherent difficulties and frustrations that come from using a Dependent mechanism, but you can also avoid the inherent difficulties and frustrations that come from trying to experience Certainty through an ineffective outcome.
You can avoid the pains that will always come from relying on things you don’t control and that have no vested interest in your making sure you’re happy and can fulfil your desire for Certainty if and when you want.
Some very Dependent ways to experience a greater sense of Certainty are:
- Putting other people down and making yourself feel bigger than them
- Attacking and assaulting people to asset your physical dominance
- Bullying people into doing what you want
- Emotionally blackmailing others into spending time with you
- Getting blackout drunk to avoid thinking about your past mistakes
Some less Dependent ways to experience a greater sense of Certainty are:
- Building a thriving community of like-minded individuals
- Becoming more attractive and attracting a compatible partner to share your life’s workload with
- Creating a life-changing product and building a sustainable and company with strong ethical, moral, and financial foundations
- Attending workshops and classes to further develop your life skills
- Moving to a safer and more stable area
Some more Independent ways to experience a greater sense of Certainty are:
- Identifying and challenging your fears to expand your personal perception of your abilities
- Developing useful life skills to reduce your reliance on others
- Growing and building life essentials
- Developing the ability to rapidly understand and decipher complex concepts
- Creating and implementing an action plan for achieving a seemingly out-of-reach goal
These different pathways will appeal to you based on a whole range of different factors (including the amount of testosterone you were exposed to in the womb) and experiencing Certainty is just a matter of finding the right one based on your brain development, current life situation, current life experience, and desired life trajectory, but most of them mean you will probably not need to solve the challenge you identified way in Principle 1.
Your exercise for this principle is to look at your current desires and ask yourself: What is a more Independent way I can experience certainty?
How to use the LifeOS Framework
Any personal development framework is totally useless if you can’t use it to overcome the challenges you’re facing. And not just use it to prepare yourself by considering some altruistic ideals in the morning or to consider what you could have done differently by journalling at night. The value of any personal development system is how effective it is at solving the challenges and issues you’re facing in the very moment you’re facing them. It’s how well you can rise above the everyday frustrations that plague your life and transform them into empowering experiences, in the very moment you’re facing those frustrations. After all, if you can’t use it to overcome your challenges and issues as you’re facing them then you may as well not bother leaving the house.
Whilst LifeOS does have tools to help you prepare yourself in the morning and consider what you could have done differently in the evening, the most important and effective tool is the one that you can use to overcome your issues, in the very moment you’re facing them.
The good news is that while you’ve covered a lot of theory on this page, the solution is simple. In fact, you’ve already tried it. It’s one question: What is a more Independent way to experience certainty?
In any moment you experience frustration or pain, the simple way to transform that moment to empowering and exciting is to answer the question: what is a more Independent way to experience certainty?
- When you’re frustrated with your friends, ask yourself: what is a more Independent way to experience Certainty?
- When your work is slowly squeezing joy and happiness from your life, ask yourself: what is a more Independent way to experience Certainty?
- When your partner is driving you insane, ask yourself: what is a more Independent way to experience Certainty?
- When the bills are piling up and money stress is weighing heavy on your shoulders, ask yourself: what is a more Independent way to experience Certainty?
- When you’re stuck in your head replaying that morning’s conversation with your boss, ask yourself: what is a more Independent way to experience Certainty?
When any moment of your life is less exciting, empowering, and enchanting than you want it to be, ask yourself:
What is a more Independent way to experience Certainty?
The answer is the path forward.
How to find Independent Pathways
Whilst these concepts are relatively straightforward and using them to transform your life is simple, it can be tough to find Independent pathways if you’re unfamiliar with the process.
The simple solution to this issue is to connect with your vision of your perfect life. Your vision of your perfect life will give you a meaningful, empowering, purpose-driven endpoint to work towards that will help you understand what needs to change in every minute of your life to feel more confident, strong, and certain about your future.
- The kind of people to spend time with
- The type and amount of work you passionately desire
- The depth and type of intimate relationships worth pursuing
- The physical health you should be aiming for
- The location you want to live in
And everything else in between. It’ll give you a framework for identifying exactly what you need to change in your life right now to be more certain and confident about your day-to-day existence.
If you’re ready to stop being disappointed by the world around you failing to fulfil your Dependent pathways and are committed to living a more Independent life, you can find a guide on how to create your vision of your perfect life here: How to create a complete and compelling life vision