Train your snap reactions—not swearing, kindly rebuking, strategic reaction, driving, family decisions, et cetera. Too much occurs in life to anticipate every circumstance or calculate how to respond. In essence, this means living by principles. More specifically, it means ingraining your principles into your habits so that acting on your principles becomes second nature.
Consider news, politics, and business. By automatically presuming, “If everyone is doing it, I won’t,” you will keep your business unique—and thus “necessary”—, you won’t be shocked by what happens in the news, and you will know the political climate enough to adapt in advance. Just the same, the principle from Jesus, “Build your house on the rock,” will tell you which governments, economies, and companies will collapse and which will last. Then, when the billionaires and newspapers try to tell you where they hope you should invest in, you’ll be smart enough to know, “They lie to their people. It won’t last.” Then, when stock sinks like ENRON and GM, and everyone is in panic, you’ll say, “They didn’t pay taxes, so they weren’t profiting, I don’t care what the accountants say about GAAP.”
But, these must be habits.
As you approach 40 years old, many practices in your life will become habits. Then, you’ll mostly live on autopilot, all the while thinking, “I’m tired.” So, wisely choose your habits before that time arrives, lest your habits choose themselves.
It is vital to train these habits early on and include among them innovation and “flexibility” as key habits. You do not want your habits to be dependent on geopolitical paradigms nor technology, which always change. The best way to remain flexible with the times, as a habit, is to learn outdated technology and artisan craftsmanship. Learning to type, for example, write cursive or calligraphy, playing older video games, occasionally dressing old school, using transportation means from 100 years ago, studying steam engines and traditional sand casting—these will help you see technology in a transcendent way. If you do that, then technology will be for you a river, not a pillar, meaning you will flow in technological changes, even in your old age, merely as a habit.