Be ready to adapt to the needs of any situation based on the specific consequences that you value.
Let your principles raise what matters but let the situation point the action. Focus on the concrete consequences. Sometimes the right decision is a tough decision that pressures your personal code of conduct. Beware the potential for noble flexibility to transform your good intentions into misguided evil. Catch yourself before you fall into common mental traps. Fools often think too short-sighted or too long-sighted. Fools get attached to abstract ideologies and ignorant of the specific consequences. Fools see the world in terms of black and white and are unable to weigh the costs and benefits of trade-offs in every decision. Fools flaunt presumed righteousness and become unwilling to look at other viewpoints objectively or at all. Fools get careless about the scope of risk, blind to the possibility of being wrong, and narrow-minded against alternative paths.
Get clear and specific about your true goals in order to pick useful battles and avoid unnecessary risks.
Goals balance short-term and long-term happiness, satisfying need, desire, and purpose. They are tempered with self-control and foresight. They are grounded by self-reflection and planning. Society esteems noble goals such as raising the next generation, making life easier, exploring the unknown, and protecting civilization. Real goals are fulfilled with a continuous line of action that plans every second from the present to the future. Goals require preparation; the diligent accumulation of versatile tools and skills. Goals require prediction; a firm understanding of specific consequences and creative possibilities. Goals require focus; clear vigilance and strong intentions.
Develop and exert strong control over your mind and body.
Self-control overcomes the first-try confidence barrier. It repairs habits and heuristics. It focuses on the factors under one's control. It invokes the self-awareness and conviction to think rationally then act decisively in the spur of each moment. It follows the do-it-now principle. It knows what is and is not worth doing. It acts at the right time and in the right order. It knows when to be decisive and when to be cautious. It starts and finishes tasks responsibly. It simulates the short-term and long-term consequences of its actions. It evades the emotional bias of sunk cost and peer pressure. To mitigate risk, it values consequences that are reversible with next-step flexibility.