The Number One Rule From my 74yo Mum

Good things come in small packages. My mother is only 4ft 10 inches but possesses wisdom belying her small stature.

A few days ago, I took a day off to hang out together. This isn't entirely new. I spent a lot of time with mum when I was young, and we even had a couple of overseas holidays together – just the two of us. Something I've always admired is her stoic consistency. Never one to mince her words, she always manages to cut through an issue and get to the heart of what's important.

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned from her – through direct teaching and my observations of her behaviour – is the enormous value she places on achieving and maintaining peace of mind; such that today, almost every important decision I make passes through this filter first. Will it improve or deplete my peace of mind?

I believe this is the number one rule.

Now don't confuse this with the thing we all face from time to time – our comfort zone. That's not what I'm talking about, here. Achieving a life we're proud of requires us to push against our comfort zone. After all, that's where the rewards tend to live. But if what you're doing puts you in a position of stress because it contradicts what you value and what you know is right, you should walk away.

A lot of us ignore this if the rewards appear disproportionate to the sacrifice. We tell ourselves we'll swing back into balance later. But do we? In reality, we're like the slow boiling frog. Then before we know it, we've made a bunch of stupid decisions (usually for money or fame), and it's too hard to find our way back. We relinquish authenticity, integrity and therefore, our peace of mind.

I recently watched a fabulous interview between Marie Forleo and Seth Godin – two of the most insightful and authentic thought leaders on the planet. Seth talked about the path many people think they must take in order to make their dent in the universe. They try to create an artificial buzz around their project, or they try to game social media or simulate credibility in some way.

They want everything to happen NOW.

This approach rarely works. What it does do is eat away at what little credibility and trust you have out there. And in doing so, it destroys your peace of mind as well. Worse still, many never recover from it; more so now than ever (thanks to the Internet).

So the message is this. Filter everything you do through the number one rule and ask yourself, “Will this thing I'm about to do increase my peace of mind or dilute it? Will it build trust or diminish it? Will it get me what I want in a way that I'll be proud to own or will I be ashamed a year later?”

Credibility and trust are the real currencies of success in today's connected world, and as Seth Godin says, “It turns out the long way is the shortcut.”

Other Resources

Blog Posts
Create a Side-Business from What You Know | A Job is Optional

Tools and resources for entrepreneurs that I use myself.

Books for Entrepreneurs in the New Economy
The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris
Tim's book is responsible for fuelling much of today's solopreneur phenomenon. A must-read.

The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
Chris debunks the old myth, “It takes money to make money,” with plenty of examples to relate to.

Purple Cow – Seth Godin
Seth is a pioneer from the earliest days of the Internet and a trailblazer in today's ‘connection economy'. Read everything he writes. Seriously.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary V is loud, rant-prone and tends to swear a lot. But no one knows social media better. Read and learn.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope we get to hang out more in the future. And in the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences. You can email me directly at I respond to all emails. If this was beneficial to you, please consider subscribing and sharing with someone you think would also benefit. 

Disclaimer & Disclosure: I'm not a psychologist and I'm not a financial advisor's elbow. This material doesn't constitute financial advice but rather a collection of personal opinions, based on my own experiences. Some of the links on my site are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I provide links to services or products I have used and liked or researched and recommend. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you believe they will be beneficial to you.

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