For Success: Principles Are Everything
It seems a lot of people need to work on principles. Because if you don’t get the principles of the thing, you’ll never get how to do the thing itself. This it true for, well, anything: Weight loss, strength training, learning a musical instrument, financial investing, etc.
Tactics on the other hand, are precisely how to do something. But your tactic is only as good as the principles behind it. Let’s give a few examples.
Principles of Weight Loss
Control Your Calories
Choose Foods Close to Nature
Principles of Strength Training
Principles of Financial Investing
Long haul: Mostly stocks, some bonds
Avoid “castles in the air“
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of principles for each category. They’re just starting points and examples.
Also notice this about principles: They don’t tend to get too specific. They simply give you the general throw of a thing. But they should–if they’re good principles–narrow the field of options. They should point in the right direction and force you to focus on what’s important.
Now, let’s have a look at some tactics.
Tactics of Weight Loss
Tactics of Strength Training
“Classic” 5 x 5
Tactics of Financial Investing
Again, by no means an exhaustive list, just some starting points and examples. And of course each of these could be argued of its effectiveness, which isn’t the point I’m making. I’m not saying any one of these tactics are “best”, only that they’re possible ways of going about each objective. But again, notice this: These tactics are only useful to the extent they adhere to the principles.
For example, if you engage in intermittent fasting, but somehow manage to over-compensate calories when you do eat, then intermittent fasting will fail, at least for weight loss.
Same with using a classic 5 x 5 approach for strength training. You can do five sets by five reps, but if you aren’t using progressive resistance–that is, if you aren’t constantly trying to up the weight–then the tactic will fail.
Again, tactics MUST be informed by your principles
Finally, Betterment. This is the service I use, because for me, investment isn’t something to “think about”. It’s a long term game won by patience. So, the less I have to manage and the more my investing is automated, the better off I’ll be. Are there some people who can time the market? Sure, why not. But for most people, that isn’t the game you want to play.
The problem I see is people spend too much time fussing about tactics–what is the best diet, what are best set and rep ranges for strength, etc–without understanding principles. Get the principles down first. Really understand them. Because when you do, the tactics become mostly a matter of preference, so long as they align with the principles.
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