“Principles are like recipes for getting whatever you want out of life.” – Ray Dalio
A principle is a fundamental truth for behavior that helps you achieve your goals. Living by principles makes life easier because they simplify how you live life and make decisions. If you live in a principle-based way, you don’t have to analyze every little decision or wonder if you are living in a way that is aligned with your values.
Principles help you to attain your goals. Improving Direction, Action, Feedback and Optimization will radically improve your life, but the principles outlined below work as a core layer of beliefs or truths to help you get even more out of Zorga. You will see these principles peppered throughout the Zorga system and tools.
Zorga principles don’t necessarily have to be your principles, but they are mostly timeless and doing Zorga (and living life) will likely be much easier if you believe in these core principles. If you find you disagree with these now, try to keep an open mind and consider that others have used these with great results and changing your mindset takes time. Later, we’ll go over identifying and living by your own principles.
Zorga Principle #1: Take 100% responsibility for your life.
Yes, you are responsible, even if life has been unfair, if you’ve been horribly mistreated, raised terribly or worse. Some people are just born smarter, better-looking, from better families, from better countries, with better opportunities and more. This is the hardest principle for most to swallow but it will ultimately provide you the most benefits as it changes your entire mindset about life from that of a victim or unlucky to one who has power over their life.
Life is not fair and sometimes bad things happen to good people, but that doesn’t mean trauma or jealousy has to be our identity. You can be responsible for your choices, actions, decisions, your health, the way you treat people, for your happiness and your life. Hard work, being on time, being kind, being a good listener and many more great traits take zero natural talent. Work ethic is absolutely free, you can decide to have it now.
It may not be your fault but if you want to live a better life it’s your job to now take 100% responsibility for how your life will proceed from here on out. Nobody is going to plan this for you, not your government, family or friends. It will be very difficult to change your life if you will not take full responsibility for getting what you want out of life.
No one can think or breathe for us. If you think others are responsible for your life, your brain will stop looking for ways to improve your life and will instead look to others to do it for you. To put it another way, people that don’t take responsibility for their life are often some of the most miserable or angry people on earth and rarely, if ever, make life changes or improvements, instead waiting for life to happen to them or for death to come.
More importantly, you can learn skills to improve your life dramatically without formal education. The big lie is that you don’t have free choice, “can’t beat the system” and various other forms of defeatist nihilism. All are false and can be easily disproved with literally millions of examples – many by people who had less skills or opportunities than the average person.
Finally, releasing others of responsibility for your life is also very liberating and motivating as you begin to realize your own personal power and agency. You’ll no longer waste energy worrying about what others have or what’s “fair.” Instead, you can take that energy and apply it to your life.
Zorga Principle #2: Dedicate yourself to the truth and radical acceptance of reality.
There is nothing more important than understanding how reality works and how to deal with it. – Ray Dalio
The firmer your grasp on reality, the more power you will have to alter it for your purposes. – Robert Greene
Success in this world is determined by your understanding of it. Seeing reality and the truth is critical. If you think up is down or left is right you’ll have no idea what direction you’re actually going in and will end up wildly off course. And there is a war for your mind going on in these modern times with our millions of distractions, lies or deceptions and that only makes seeing reality even more difficult.
Our ability to see clearly is a major advantage. Whether it’s in business, war or love, you need to be able to see reality properly. If you can’t see reality, then you can’t make proper decisions and honestly won’t understand how bad (or good) things are. If you don’t accept reality, then you’ll be wasting energy on things you can’t change. See life as it is, not as you want it to be. See life like a scientist.
Many people live in massive denial. Are you a “little heavy” or are you obese? Could you “do a little better” or are you “phoning it in” as a parent, employee or friend? Is your life “hopeless and miserable” or do you have food and shelter but perhaps need to improve your situation to achieve more satisfaction and joy? Are you believing conspiracies or things that have no scientific or at least common sense proof?
Confront reality. If you’re fat, admit it. If you have a stack of bills or tasks, you need to deal with that. If your life sucks, make a plan and take action using Zorga. You don’t have to beat yourself up (and it wouldn’t be helpful to do so), but you do need to be honest with yourself about life and your current status. Once you see clearly, the path to a better life becomes much clearer.
Life happens and good and bad things happen. Sometimes awful things happen or you have to grind for years on end. Acceptance of that is the way forward in getting on with your life. Accept everything that’s ever happened to you and release it. Don’t let it hold power over you. Accept reality and accept yourself fully to begin making the changes you need to make in your life.
Zorga Principle #3: Change your belief system to change your life.
Your belief system has an incredible impact on your life. It all comes down to how you think life works and how you interpret things that happen to you. You can take two people and give them the exact same life circumstances and one will think their life is great with massive opportunities and the other will think they live the most miserable life on earth.
This all comes down to their belief system (also known as “mindset”) and how they interpret life through their belief filter. Do you think life is inherently unfair and cruel? You will almost certainly see the world that way. Do you think life is full of beauty and challenges to be overcome? You will almost certainly see the world that way.
Change is possible and your potential is far beyond what most people can imagine. You are, for the most part, what you think about and who you decide to be. If you’ve decided to be miserable you will be. If you’re perpetually a victim you will be. If you decide to suddenly become a new person you can be that person. You really can.
Faking it until you make it is a well-known tactic of many successful people. It’s also well-known that the “placebo effect” works even if you’re aware of it. So, you can install whatever belief system you want and that belief system will run (for better or worse).
Believe that you are improving and Zorga will work for you. If you’re an eternal “downer” and constantly think things won’t work for you, you can silence that voice inside your head. So many people have stopped learning, stopped growing, stopped even being curious. Be more open-minded and much more curious. Live consciously.
Change slowly if you want to take it slow or tend to do too much at once. Make small daily improvements. A 1% improvement compounds each day and is a 3700% improvement in one year.
Zorga Principle #4: Focus.
Focus and attention may be the most scarce resources in modern life. With work, life, social media, endless entertainment, messages and notifications and a hundred other things begging for your attention it’s very easy to be “busy” all day and get nothing accomplished or never move forward.
Getting organized, simplifying your daily routine, eliminating notifications/distractions and focusing on your goals and taking regular focused action is what Zorga is all about.
Focus on you, not on others. It has been said that comparison is the thief of joy. With the advent of social media, we now have regular access to the incredible lives of the ultra-workaholic, ultra-beautiful, ultra-lucky and ultra-wealthy 0.001% of humanity (and that small percent is actually hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are, if they admitted it, anxiously miserable from all the attention!) Comparing yourself to them may give you a bit of jealous motivation but can ultimately be demotivating or even demoralizing. Instead, focus on yourself and loved ones and getting better every day.
Focus on your strengths and what you love. What can you be the best at? The most effective people on earth have relentless focus and know exactly what they are good at and focus on that. Sure, you may have weaknesses and it may help to improve those and become more “well-rounded,” but if you are good at something, you’re far likelier to succeed at that rather than becoming mediocre at something you dislike or are not good at naturally.
Zorga Principle #5: Raise your standards.
If you allow others to mistreat you, allow yourself to get out of shape, don’t bring your best to your career or relationships and generally don’t have any standards of what you will and will not accept in life, then you will almost certainly have a low quality of life. Raise your standards and watch your life improve almost instantly.
How you look, how you treat yourself, how you keep your household, how you raise your kids, how you allow others to treat you are all critical standards. Importantly, once you establish and enforce these standards, others will realize that you won’t accept less and will treat you accordingly. Respect yourself and so will others. This will result in a near-instant increase in the quality of life (though you may lose some “friends” or colleagues who never respected you in the first place). Get fed up, disgusted and intolerant of any low standards.
Zorga Principle #6: Relax, laugh and get out of your comfort zone.
Having a good sense of humor can make life dramatically easier. Don’t take life or even yourself too seriously knowing that we are all living on a tiny spinning rock (one of trillions), we will all die and you can’t take any of it with you. None of us are getting out alive so you can have a laugh at the absurdity of it all. Keep laughing, you’re alive!
Being too self-absorbed about improving your life can actually make you miserable. Stop thinking there’s something wrong with you or that you need to be fixed, this can be a loop that some don’t escape. Focus on changing your habits and taking action to live a better life. Many times, worrying about doing stuff is usually more exhausting than actually doing stuff. Zorga will give you the tools and information to get what you want.
Also, it’s difficult to change anything if you don’t try new things. Relaxing and laughing can help you get out of your comfort zone. Many times, a laugh can totally disable a situation that you thought of as scary or panicky so just relax and start living.
Zorga Principle #7: Just show up and get in the game.
It’s amazing, but some people will complain about their poor quality of life and never actually “get in the game” to change it. You can’t do a lot in life without actually participating. Life is like the lottery: if you don’t play, you can’t win. Get off the couch, make the call and take action, especially if it makes you uncomfortable.
Many people actually never “show up” meaning they never take action (start the business, ask for the date, be present for their family, or literally just show up to school or work, etc.). A lot of people are eternally planning and not doing, in fact, because they’re so focused on the planning that the doing starts to seem terrifying. Nobody wants to make mistakes, but you’ll never accomplish anything by just sitting there and thinking about it. It is critical that you do not overthink any aspect of this system or life in general. Overthinking is many times just another form of procrastination or perfectionism.
The personal development industry (and others) specialize in overcomplicating most things and making even the simplest things hard to understand. Take action relentlessly, implement Zorga quickly (meaning now) and then come back and tweak after you get momentum and more energy.
Zorga Principle #8: Relationships will greatly determine the quality of your life.
A lot of happiness is in the quality of our relationships. If you think about it, almost all life problems are people or relationship problems. How much would your life improve if every bad relationship you currently have just magically disappeared or was repaired? A bad relationship can make your life miserable whether it’s a spouse, kids, family, friends, bosses, coworkers or a neighbor. If you love and respect these people then your life will probably be pretty good. If not, then you need to re-examine some of these relationships, repair them, possibly even end them or at least, for the moment, put some distance between yourself and them. Creating new relationships is also a great way to improve the quality of your life.
It’s been said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with and there’s a lot of truth to that. Your close relationships will be the people who support you, guide you, inspire you and more. In turn, you can also do the same for them. Make sure you choose your relationships carefully.
Zorga Principle #9: Happiness is not the goal, the goal is doing things that lead to happiness.
Making happiness your goal puts the focus on the end result and not on how most people end up actually being happy. Being engaged, excited, serene, accomplishing goals, having great relationships and similar things all tend to lead to happiness. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Focusing relentlessly on “being happy” is often missing the point. Focus instead on the actions and habits and experiences that bring happiness.
Remember that if you were always insanely happy, you would have nothing to compare happiness to, so it would simply become the “new normal” and not special at all. Happiness is really only experienced because you know what sadness and despair feel like. For this reason, many have figured out that a good default state is “equanimity.” You are not deliriously happy but experiencing more of a balanced middle area between happiness and just being mindful of your existence (but not sad). With balance you can enjoy the highs of happiness yet day-to-day you have the ability to stay untroubled and calm.
Zorga Principle #10: Model the success and habits of others.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you want to be successful at something, research how the best do it, learn from them, model their behaviors and systems and strategies and perhaps even improve on what they do. The reason why hanging out with successful people tends to make you more successful is that you pick up their habits, mindsets and way of being. This is why wealthy families tend to stay wealthy and elite schools are elite. This is why Zorga works.
When you start doing this, you’ll start noticing some commonalities among successful people. For example, they tend to associate pleasure with what most people associate with pain: exercising, eating right, taking calculated risks, making plans, thinking deeply about strategy, hard work, difficult conversations, having a disciplined routine and more. Of course by going through this short term “pain,” successful people end up having a lot more pleasure so that is an important lesson to remember. Life will involve pain, you should just choose your pain (for example, working out hard) instead of having it imposed on you (being unhealthy).
Patience is another habit of successful people. Many of life’s endeavors don’t produce instant results and the expectation of instant results in society is a big weakness of many these days (hoping to win the lottery, for example). Something as simple as a handstand can take months or years to master and this principle applies to many things in life.
Zorga Principle #11: Health (both physical and mental) is wealth.
What’s the point of being rich if you are bedridden, cannot walk or have no energy to enjoy your wealth? What’s the point of destroying your health at a job you hate just to finally reach retirement and find yourself sadly unable to enjoy the time off? Ask any rich elderly person and they would happily pay almost anything to have the energy and mental clarity of their youth. Health really is wealth and should be a top priority.
Zorga Principle #12: Become unstoppable and “undisturbable”.
Ultimately, after you are clear on your Direction, it’s simply a matter of taking Action, receiving Feedback (adjusting course), not stopping until you reach your goals and not getting disturbed by life or “failures.” Being unstoppable and “undisturbable” (that word made famous by Albert Ellis as discussed in the References section) is a powerful combination and these habits can be developed and learned. Grit, perseverance, resourcefulness, resilience, adaptability, mental toughness, persistence and determination are all synonyms for this principle but the main insight is that you can simply become unstoppable and undisturbable the moment you decide to be. The Zorga tools will help you get there.
Zorga Principle #13: Develop agency.
“I shall either find a way or make one.” – Hannibal
Agency is the ability to get things done regardless of circumstances. Agency is a powerful word, but you’ve probably not heard it used in this manner. If you have agency, then you can be trusted to get done almost anything that is capable of being done. If you have agency, you can be given responsibility for something and the person who gave you that simply knows it will get done and done well.
Agency is what we want from presidents, generals, project managers, employees, assistants, partners, babysitters—almost anyone. Here’s the best part: Agency is a capability that can be called from within.
Imagine you are broke but you owe someone $1,000. If they casually said they need that $1,000 in 6 hours, you’d probably dismiss this as not possible.
However, if you are broke but need $1,000 in 6 hours for a lifesaving medication for your loved one or they will die, it will get done.
It may require extraordinary energy, running all over town, calling, pawning, selling, begging, or maybe even something illegal, but the point is that most people can call up the resources within to get this done. This is agency, and if you place enough importance on a task, and as long as it’s capable of being done, you’ll get it done. Find it within yourself.
People that have agency tend to have a very simple outlook on getting things done along the lines of Yoda’s famous “do or do not, there is no try” statement. How do you lose weight? You eat less and exercise more. How do you get motivated? You wake up and start working on the most important task and motivation will come. How do you have that hard conversation? You call the person or meet them. There’s something that needs to get done, and they do it. There’s not a lot of over-complication or over-thinking in people with agency.
Zorga Principle #14: Don’t beat yourself up.
Whether it’s how you talk to yourself or how you eat, you really need to be kind to yourself. A lot of depression, anxiety and fear is self-inflicted because you’ve basically abused or terrorized yourself, usually in a misguided attempt at motivating yourself (“don’t be an idiot, do it!”). While this may work sometimes, Part 4 will show that healthy and effective people don’t talk to themselves like that. Treat yourself with kindness and like a friend. Forgive yourself if you’re not actively hurting people, many of us are way too hard on ourselves. Motivating yourself does not mean torturing or threatening yourself and doing so will just make you anxious or depressed.
Of course, there are some who are much too easy on themselves or in denial, but in general, most people that are struggling with getting what they want are much more judgmental and abusive to themselves then they are to anyone else.