Permanent Assumptions

Recently I was introduced to the idea of permanent assumptions. This is the notion that the things you believe to be stable in time are equally valuable as being able to identify the shifts and drifts. Jeff Bezos sums this up in one elegant quote:

You can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, “Jeff I love Amazon, I just wish the prices were a little higher.” Or, “I love Amazon, I just wish you’d deliver a little slower.” Impossible.

So we know the energy we put into these things today will still be paying off dividends 10 years from now. When you have something you know is true, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.

— Jeff Bezos

Riffing from there, I thought it prudent to come up with my own, evolving list of permanent assumptions. The exercise itself is one of enormous introspection and as such I couldn't recommend it enough. Enjoy, and I'd love to see yours as well!

  1. Most people, consciously or unconsciously, lie to themselves constantly to fit a self image from which they derive benefit.
  2. Stories shape everything around us and form the loose fabric of reality. Civilization is simply a story of stories.
  3. Life and reality are utterly malleable through the simple yet defiant act of changing your story.
  4. Incentives, self and socially imposed (and how they are structured) are the driving forces of the world.
  5. Systems and structures are most often designed to cater to the LCM of the population.
  6. A great leader is someone who helps others realize they are leading themselves.
  7. There is no meaning to life save the one you give it, all actions are equally pointless and judging one over another is a waste of time.
  8. At the end of the day the only things that matters are your relationships, and even then, marginally.
  9. Not all questions have answers, but that does not mean you stop searching. The search itself is pursuit as happiness.
  10. Happiness is not the goal and is not guaranteed. The point of life is not to be happy, the point of life is to feel fulfilled — to seek ferociously while being content where you are.
  11. Knowledge is useless without context. Always find context first and knowledge second.
  12. Technology is a tool, it is neither inherently good nor bad but simply what we make of it.