First Principles

As a high schooler, I discovered philosophy books in a continuum of personal help books. This led me to assess some "first principles," which kind of guide my life. I'd like to introduce you to these to have a better understanding of my personality.

Control + Leverage = success

This headline tells you to focus on the things you control vs. the ones you don't, and to focus on the tasks for which you have the best leverage. This maps the way I act and choose where I can put my focus in our world.

What is control?

"There are things you control and things you don't control". Directly taken from our best Stoicism teachers, this small catchphrase taught me a lot about life and psychology. After all, philosophy, at its core, is all about explaining life from a human, non-scientific perspective.

insert entrepreneurship music

When we control something, we are essentially the last person who will decide its outcome. This is a good signal to monitor to know if I can achieve my desired outcome.

By dividing the world into two distinct categories, this philosophy tells us where to focus. Although it was written almost 2'000 years ago, it is still very true today and adapts pretty well to a never-ending digital world :

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Things you don't control :
- The end of the war in Ukraine
- Saving a little kid that drowned in Morocco
- If Oussama really stole 3M€
Things you can control :
- How will I respond to my colleague?
- Going to the Gym.
- Not eat that cheesecake.

The gap between stimuli and response

Our mind has forced us, for evolution's sake, to act with the appropriate stimuli without thinking in order to act faster. The association of the correct stimulus with the appropriate response is done via a process called "Education".

But as human beings (from my experience, animals don't have this ability), we have the possibility to "think" between a stimulus and its response. This means we can connect our inner self with our outer self: "Do I really need a third cookie?"

Awful image, but great message.

This gap is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more likely it is to be developed. The less you use it, the more it will shrink. I also like the idea of Imagination coming from this gap, but we will discuss it another time.

With the vertical feed, companies are more than ever trying to get our attention. Focus yours by asking, "Do I have control over this activity? I also added a little twist: do I have leverage over this activity?

What is Leverage?

Harry and Pierre are classmates. While Harry is very sporty, Pierre is great at mathematics. Who will run the fastest? Who will have the best grades on a math test?

The answer lies in the combination of time spent on the activity and its capabilities. The one who can get the most done with the least amount of energy will win. That is leverage. And great news, leverage can be built.

Leverage is defined as time divided by energy. Energy comes from our genes, the way we were raised, and the way we think (negative thinkers tend to have less energy).

  • One example of inner leverage could be that Hugo has to validate his academic year. As he loves doing math (low cost of energy) and is good at it (low cost of time), he will put his focus on the math tests. However, he will put aside the economics, for which he is good (low cost of time) but does not like (high cost of energy), to better focus on philosophy, for which he is mid-range (mid-cost of time) but likes quite a lot (nonexistent cost of energy)
  • One example of outer leverage could be: I need my product to be known. If I have money (leverage), I can buy ads. If I already have a great social presence (leverage), I can make a LinkedIn post. If I have a lot of leverage, I can go on forums to write about it!

Note that the way you produce outer leverage greatly depends on your inner leverage (and not the opposite!). Outer leverage is basically the materialization of your inner capabilities.

Now, how can we compare different activities using leverage? With the simple equation : "positive outcomes / (time*energy)". This way, we can rank our activities by the ones that have the most positive outcomes while taking as little time and energy as possible.

You might be the best at reciting the alphabet backwards... but does it matters?

Combining Leverage and Control

Inefective Leverage Effective Leverage
Control I should quit smoking. I should stop eating transformed food.
No Control Kids dying in Ukraine's War. Get back with your ex'.

Of course, the war in Ukraine is bad. But as I have no control over it (cannot say "stop") and no leverage (cannot call Putin/Zelenskyy), why do I hurt myself looking at it on the X Platform?

Ask yourself: does this image matters to you? Why should it?

However, I can possibly get back with my ex-girlfriend. I have high leverage over this decision, as I'm the one who ditched her, and I've grown in muscle since. So in this situation, If I arrive to convince her, then I will be in control of getting her back!

Now, the interesting part: should you quit smoking? Sure, it is bad and all, but how much time will it take you compared to the benefits, and will you truly arrive? Only 7.5% of said" non-smokers" successfully quit. Do you have the necessary leverage?

So should you really focus your attention on quitting smoking, especially if you smoke a lot? Won't the target of "only smoking one pack a month" be more achievable?

I like to focus my life on finding "hacks" with high leverage and control. Quitting on transformed food is easy for me as I love to cook (should I make a section about food?) and has clear outcomes (more energy, fewer crashes, a better body, and fewer expenses!)

That part of the philosophy helped me to better focus my attention and care less about the things I could not change (my parents' divorce, the loss of close friends, etc.), and this way of thinking also implies another part: you control (to some extent) your brain.

This means you can control your happiness. You can control your stress. You can control your anger. However, this doesn't mean you should always be happy and never angry; the mind needs these states to function (trust me, I made the mistake).

Sometimes being sad is the best option for our brain to cool out!

This thinking has clear implications:

  • (1) Everyone, at the end, lives the life they want to live;
  • (2) The ability to control your emotions for a specific period of time is a great, accessible leverage;
  • (3) You can use external factors to manipulate your emotions (music, sports, hanging out with friends, etc.)

This way of thinking led me to surpass myself, taking energy from my bones for certain periods of time and focusing on the things that truly matter. Helped me live a better life!

The Extremes is where Life lies

Clip David Guetta - Play Hard Feat Ne-yo & Akon
Ever heard of "Work Hard, Play Hard"? That's the title I wanted to write.

I believe what makes us alive are our emotions. Since I love living (weird to say, but some people like it less), I love both negative and positive emotions, as long as they are concrete and I feel something I did not before.

Of course, to the extent of preserving my physical and mental capabilities at their maximum (no drugs, smoking, etc.), I would still like to wake up at 7 a.m. and hit the gym when I'm 80 years old.

For me to work properly, I have to be fully focused for a period of time on my work. It has to be the reason I wake up in the morning. I should think about nothing but productivity during this period. This usually lasts for 3 weeks.

Then, to quote Mr.Ammar, I put a little chaos in my life for a week. Be it working normal shifts in a different country and enjoying the life there - I love to travel to meet new ways I could've been raised and born in different cultures. And party!

From working until 10 p.m. at WeWork to partying behind the DJs in Prague

Some would argue that a little more balance would reduce stress levels. But I feel that for the time being (18 years old as of writing this piece), it is best to maximize my happiness. That's why I try my best to see a new country every month!

Think little and expect little. Think big and win big.

This quote is stolen from my first self-help book, titled "The Magic of Thinking Big". This is the one quote from the book that marked a turning point in my life (at 15 years old).

The Magic of Thinking Big Livre audio | David Schwartz | Audible.fr: Livre  audio Anglais
Don't read it, it's crap. But worked for me.

It resonates with an anecdote I had at 8. Coming back from the doctor's appointment, my mother paid a 50€ bill (yes, I'm in France) for just an hour! Seemed enormous, where I had around 20€ a month.

I asked my mom, "How much do doctors make per month?" And she responded, "around 5,000 euros.". What an amount for me! Since this date, I have always thought doctors, lawyers and psychologists made the most money.

For me, millionaires were a myth. It was not even in hindsight. At least not in France, with 2 Polish parents in a 70-m2 apartment outside of Paris. My brother always loved to remind me how "of course Jeff Bezos is a self-made man; he only started with a $200,000 grant from his parents".

The Power of Self-Limiting Beliefs - Author Don Winn Blog
This was a rope for me.

This American book explained how big outcomes can be achieved, when we truly think about achieving them. It struck this Stoic vibe in me about owning the future of your life in your hands.

This quote also resembles Steve's quote, "The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do".

Since then, I've made a clear difference between the fixed and the fixed mindset of my entourage. I made it clear that I would only surround myself with people who wanted to go forward and always become a better version of themselves.

Fast-forward 3 years to Prague. I met Alejandro at a crypto event. He is around 40 years old, and he is a trader. Coming from Sweden, he has been living in Prague for the past year. He now strives to become a billionaire. Wether he will succeed or not, we don't care. It's the mindset that counts.

Being a millionaire was so out of sight for me that I did not even consider being a billionaire. After a week of conversation, he explained how becoming a billionaire was possible. He changed my mindset.

The end of the story here is that we all have limiting thoughts. Some are conscious, and others are subconscious. No matter what state they are in, they limit your potential. The goal here is to address them and break them in order to be the best at the game of life!

Energy

Since I started my entrepreneurial journey, people have thought I have ADHD. They did not before, but now they do. Some even asked me at popular crypto events if I was "autistic or something". I believe this is because of my energy and the amount of things I do at my age.

Energetic Hype GIF - Energetic Hype Active - Discover ...
The image I send to the world:

That's bullshit.

From what I see, my energy levels are that high because I do what I want to do. My brain is still processing things as I do them. I have no limits in that mindset. I have no voice telling me, "Oh, you should do this or that". The amount of energy not consumed by this voice is retranscribed in my actions.

And I think it's beautiful. That's why, with everything I do, I always try to be the most open and true to myself, or my energy levels will suffer. Doing something you love guarantees energy.

Closing Thoughts

As I wrap up this page after a week of writing (and a month of postponing), I think about the road ahead and how limited my time is. We only get one shot to show the world how powerful we are, and I will strive to fulfill that mission.

My goal is to be immortal - live after my death for the longest. This will be done via the companies and products I'll build, which will continue for years after I die. Just as we still talk about Napoleon, Socrates or Jesus. They did not die, and neither will I.