Initially I wrote this collection of ideas as a preface to InfraGen's Guide. However it quickly got much larger than a preface should ever be. I also realized that none of the material there was InfraGen specific, so in the spirit of modularity (one of the technical principles I practice), I separated it its own repo which will develop independently from InfraGen.
I started writing this project when I was at a meditation retreat deep in the Vermont outback. I had just started working on a passion project of mine -- InfraGen. InfraGen is a tool that aims to simplify boilerplate generation and configuration in programming projects.
I was obsessed in this tool. For a few days it was all I could think about. Every bit of free time I had I spent coding InfraGen. I didn't even give my girlfriend, Asya, a proper good bye the day she went to Africa because my mind was completely immersed in this project.
Eventually it evolved into more than a preface for the InfraGen guide. I decided to follow one of my technical principals, modularity. The preface started out as part of a larger project, but eventually grew into its own project. Therefore it needed to be modularized.
When choosing the name for this project, I thought back to one of the most insightful books I've ever read, Ray Dalio's "Principles". In the book Dalio discusses principles, values, by which he lives his life. Values which got him to where he is today. I have great respect for Dalio. He is one of the few billionaires who's main focus isn't just making money. Ironically, Dalio ran one of the largest financial companies, Bridgewater Capital. However, at least based on what he wrote about, Dalio leads a balanced and principled life.
Dalio shares many values with me. But also Dalio specifically encourages his readers to not copy and paste his principles. Those principals work for him, and while useful as a reference, probably won't exactly match the readers'. I took this advice to heart.
In a sense I "forked" Dalio's book. In programming, forking is essentially copying an open source project that is close to what you are trying to achieve, and then modifying it or using it as a reference for your specific needs.
I chose the parts that worked for me, starting with his title (hey it's a great title!). But I tried to focus on my personal principals - strategies and philosophies that specifically work for me, using Dalio's as inspiration.
Similarly, I suggest that if you agree with most of my principles, that you "fork" them. But instead of blindly following them, I'd suggest to meditate on your own principles - what's important to you, only using mine as reference.
I don't remember when I read Dalio's book. It was definitely many years before I started writing my own "Principles". Back then, my life was (relatively) much more tumultuous. I was struggling with Bipolar I, Asperger's, ADHD, and was probably on a dozen other "spectrums", which essentially are just used a short hand to describe impediments to a healthy, content lifestyle. I had no direction and was quite confused about what I stood for. I couldn't answer the question "what is important to me".
As the years went by, the struggle continued. But, I slowly learned strategies, philosophies, practiced modalities, discovered the right pharmaceuticals, and met a myriad of people who mentored me and showed me unconditional love. There was no one "magic bullet" or "aha moment" right direction. There was no one moment where I decided "I'm complete" or "I know who I am" or "I know what I stand for". In fact I still am figuring these things out. But throughout the last 10 years, the answers to those questions got progressively clearer. And I started becoming a lot happier, healthier, more confident, and more fulfilled in life.
There is still a lot left to go. I face many challenges in my life for which I don't even know how to being finding the answer to. But I do feel well equipped and confident that I can handle them, and if not things will turn out fine anyways in the end.
I've gathered enough experiences, strategies, approaches towards life's problems, and most importantly guiding principals to feel fairly confident and safe about my future. I hope to pass on what I learned to others who are struggling, but more importantly start a conversation, a collaboration, in discussing and discovering better ways of doing things.
I have more experience in some areas than others. I have ~10 years of experience in frontend development. I have had a diagnosis of Asperger's since 2009, Bipolar since 2015, and ADHD quite recently (Sept 2019). I see mental conditions as spectrums, a general grouping of obstacles we are given to overcome in our lifetimes. Everyone is on some spectrum, the question is, will insurance pay to help you with those obstacles 😛. I've also been involved in various healing modalities such as yoga, acro yoga, meditation, cuddle parties, talk therapies, psychedelic assisted therapy, pharmaceutical therapy, circling, to name a few. All of these experiences have yielded strategies to better approach my specific set of obstacles.
I hope to contribute information on ways to deal with these obstacles, in hope that others who share those obstacles can benefit. There's no one size fits all approach. But I believe that as a community, we can gather enough diversity in material to be able to help a lot of people with a lot of obstacles.
With that said, I strongly encourage you to open the dialogue. Do you have comments, questions, ideas, do you have a better way of approaching the obstacles I describe in this project? Do you have a whole different set of obstacles? Strategies? Philosophies? All are welcome!
You can contribute to this project by seeing the instructions in CONTRIBUTING