«Have it ALL Manifesto The key principles of the Agile and Lean Life This blog post is the Agile and Lean Life Manifesto, setting the foundations and ...»
THE AGILE AND LEAN LIFE MANIFESTO
Have it ALL Manifesto
The key principles of the Agile and Lean Life
This blog post is the Agile and Lean Life Manifesto, setting the foundations and key principles for living
an Agile and Lean life. The twelve principles introduced in the manifesto are based on best business
practices like “lean manufacturing”, “lean start-up”, “agile development” and other advanced business
strategies, transformed so they can be used for managing personal life. In addition to that, a few best personal development practices and my own, already tested, ideas are also included.
The five most important goals of living an Agile and Lean life are to:
Acquire inner assets faster (knowledge, skills, decision-making power …) Create more external assets (time, money, revenue streams, status, energy, relationships…) Have the tools to tackle the biggest challenges in life, such as career change Successfully manage negative situations like anxiety, information overload and indecision Blossom in all areas of life and thus live a more happy and quality life The key philosophy behind achieving these five goals is to eliminate waste from your life. Everything you do and have in life (decisions, material things, relationships etc.) either adds value to your life or drags you down. There is no third option. You can either make a return or loss on your every investment.
Things that add value to your life are the things filled with positive energy and emotions. That means:
doing various different things that make you happy and self-confident, doing things that lead to creativity and greatness, having loving and empowering relationships, being a part of a group in which you fit in and prosper, doing things that make you healthier and more energetic, doing things that lead to building up your inner and external assets by providing real value to the world, developing your talents and using prestige - a non-dominant approach.
A very important task for all of you who want to live a more quality life is to eliminate as much waste as possible, with the end goal of making room for things that really matter to you – bring value.
Unfortunately today, it is very easy to get distracted by waste, having wrong assumptions about life.
If nothing else, you are exposed to thousands of ads that are fighting for your attention and assets on a daily basis. As the famous quote goes (and is sadly not far from the truth), before you know it, you can find yourself working a job you hate, buying things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like. This is all a big waste of life that you should totally avoid. That kind of a situation is the opposite of an Agile and Lean Life.
Eliminating waste is an endless process and, in addition to that, it’s also not an easy task to carry out.
But it’s very worth it in the long run. Eliminating waste is an important step towards personal freedom and genuine self-actualization, no matter where your starting point is. The Agile and Lean manifesto sets the foundations and key principles for doing it.
Life can be managed even in today’s complex and turbulent world Before we go to the key principles, you have to be aware that it can be done, that there is a way.
It’s true, life is not always easy. In life, you have to face big challenges, a lack of resources, negative emotional states and disappointments sooner or later. The new digital era has added additional pressure on top of that, with challenges like having too many options and unrealistic expectations, dealing with information overload, extreme market complexity and hardly bearable uncertainty, like no job security.
But as you know, the world isn’t that dark. We live in the best times ever. Life can be an awesome and beautiful experience. But only if you manage it correctly. Only if you have the formula for facing life challenges and turning today’s disadvantages into advantages; and deep down inside you know that the formula is not posting your happy pictures on social media, no matter the short-term satisfaction you get.
And don’t forget. There are no second chances in life. You have to get it right the first time.
But what is the formula? In school, they teach you everything from mathematics and chemistry to history and geography, but almost nothing is said about life management. There are thousands of books written about personal development, but most of them are either too superficial or only offer small insights on how to improve some areas of your life. That may have sounded arrogant, but it is not meant that way.
Yes, you should definitely read as much as possible in order to gain new insights on life, and there are many great books, but what you also need and is missing out there is a systematic and structured manual for how to live and manage life in today’s turbulent and complex world.
Life is too short and you want to figure out the formula for success as soon as possible, and then live life to the full. You don’t want to bother with how to live life all the time, making and correcting big mistakes, feeling sorry for yourself while life passes by. You want to achieve as much as possible, have as many good moments as possible, acquire enough assets to fulfill your desires, have deep and empowering relationships and so on - as soon as possible in life.
It’s true that everything takes time to be achieved, but the Agile and Lean life is about speed. It’s about the formula for accelerating your success. It’s about doing it as fast as possible in the right kind of way, meaning not being an asshole.
There was a pretty good formula for living life that worked very well two decades ago. The formula was: get a good education, find a safe job, get married with your first love, live by the values of the local church, write down your goals and try to achieve a few of them, and live happily ever after. Jobs were available, markets were booming, education was cheap. The formula worked.
Unfortunately the formula doesn’t work anymore. The times have changed too much. In 50 years, the world has been turned upside down.
The businesses were the first ones to be dramatically affected by the new digital age and struck with all the new challenges, from market saturation and globalization to new internet competition and financial markets’ meltdown. They had to adapt, there was no other choice. Adapt or die.
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Many manuals have been written on how to do it, about running a company successfully in the new digital age. For example, two very popular new age manuals are the “lean production” and “agile development”, while the “lean startup” philosophy offers a new formula for success in business today.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t use similar techniques for managing your personal life. This gives hope that it can be done. By adapting the agile and lean philosophy to your personal life, you have access to a new formula for living life and being successful.
The measurement of success according to the Agile and Lean Life formula is very simple. On your death bed, looking back on your life, you want to say to yourself: “Life was an awesome experience and a daring adventure. I have faced many difficult challenges but I have played the game right. I have made the right moves and have taken the right decisions. It was worth it. And I have contributed to making the world a better place to live in for generations to come.” The Agile and Lean Life Manifesto will show you how. You can become happy and successful in life no matter how difficult your life situation is - as long as you have access to the internet and possess sufficient intelligence to comprehend this text. For the rest of the world, we must all work hard so that they will have the same options. By living the Agile and Lean life you may not become the next Bill Gates, but you can definitely make a move towards a better and happier life.
Before we go to the key principles, you should be aware that:
We all have to face many (old and new) life challenges that are not easy at all We all deserve to live a quality life with adequate resources, self-actualization and happiness Life can be systematically and scientifically managed in order to achieve these goals You can do it as well, no matter where your starting point is. You can live a better life.
The Agile and Lean Life Manifesto is based on twelve principles that successfully replace old life management techniques like setting goals, looking for job security and giving personal power to other people.
The twelve principle of an Agile and Lean Life
1. Search before you execute: Experiment – Reflect – Learn - Execute
2. Go out and see for yourself, see in order to compose your dream life
3. Optimize your entire life, not only parts of it
4. Visualize, simplify and make a move
5. Move fast and with focus in the execution phase by using the flow
6. Plan regular intervals with reflections and adjustments
7. Believe in yourself over looking for outside safety
8. Relationships and environment over work and tasks
9. Continuously improve yourself and your environment
10. Create value, be flexible and modest over having an ego
11. Life Accounting – measure everything
12. Live life with love and respect
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1. Search before you execute: Experiment – Reflect – Learn - Execute The key to a more successful life is having a superior strategy for how to live it. Your life strategy is shaped especially by your values, beliefs, personal management system, and thus by your decisions about spending your time, energy, money, skills and other resources.
The Agile and Lean life strategy begins with the old Ancient Greek aphorism “Know thyself”. If you want to be successful in life, you have to know yourself and what you want out of life very clearly.
But how? The best way to get to know yourself is by experimenting, reflecting and learning. The best way is to introduce a new search mode in life, the phase you should be performing every time before you do any kind of real execution.
If you execute before you search, you could be climbing a ladder that’s leaned against the wrong wall.
Somewhere midway or at the top, you can discover that this is not you, it’s not something you want.
The higher you are, the more difficult it is to climb down. Most people never climb down, and instead start living a “zombie life” – a life of constantly running away from reality.
Therefore in an Agile and Lean Life, you have to divide all activities of all areas of life into two groups:
Search mode Execution mode In the search mode, you shouldn’t have any expectations, you shouldn’t have any commitments and you shouldn’t do any hard work. Expectations lead to disappointments and before you understand something, you definitely have expectations that are completely wrong. Commitments lead to heavy energy investments, and you shouldn’t be investing before you know what you are truly investing in and whether the investment really fits your character. Hard work should always also be smart work, but you can’t work smartly if you don’t have the right map and coordinates.
In the search phase you just try, experiment, observe, reflect and learn about yourself and the world.
The most important thing is to have no fixed ideas and no expectations at all in this phase. Your job is only to test the assumptions you have written down, correct them, and try different things to find out what suits you best. Your only job is to learn about yourself and the world. No goals. No measurement of progress. Just learning and playing.
After you find your fit in the search phase, you start executing. You set the big vision, strong foundations, have laser focus, commit fully, start working hard and achieving your goals. You optimize, improve, and measure your progress. But first, you have to find the right thing. You must put the ladder against the right wall before you start climbing.
After every experiment (action) you do in the search phase, you have to make a reflection. You learn about yourself by reflecting on your actions. Reflection is an insight into knowing yourself and life better.
Why you need a search phase before execution:
To do adequate research and form first assumptions about yourself and life (for example you can write down your assumptions using the persona technique for people and organizations you interact with or you can just write down your assumptions on the spreadsheet)
To conduct small experiments and figure out what your best personal fits are To not put pressure on yourself to achieve and do something that is not really you To have fun and try as many things as possible in life To set a realistic execution strategy that you can follow and really implement Let’s look at an example. The old strategy was to write down a goal in a smart way (SMART = Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Time-bound). OK. You then write down something like: “I want to lose 10 kg by exercising and dieting in one year.” What usually follows is that after a few months, you look at your goal paper, you step on the scale and feel even worse. No progress at all.
In the Agile and Lean Life Search phase, there are no goals yet and no pressure at all. The first phase is driven by curiosity. You know that you want to lose weight and you know that you lose weight by exercising and dieting. But instead of setting goals, you ask yourself: Is there a sport that I would really enjoy and wouldn’t even be hard exercise? Is there a diet for me that is tasty, healthy and makes me more energetic? With whom can I try the first sport I think I might like? Then you continue reading, trying and researching. In the first phase, you put no pressure on yourself, you just experiment.