Core Values

When I think of core values, I think about the clearly articulated ideas that explain how people live their life, and what they aspire to. These are mine.

They have evolved over time and I expect that to continue, just hopefully not too much.

Every day is a great day.

We only get so many days, and it’s tempting to live for some imagined future when things will be great.

I can’t control everything that happens to me and around me, but I can control my mindset, reaction, and whether I do my best1 to make each and every day a great one for myself, my family, and others.

Build and be open to love and trust.

Days can only be so great without the love and shared experience of family and friends. I want to do my best to build on the love in my life and especially the trust that makes all relationships stronger.

At the same time, I want to work to be more open to receive love and trust in return, something that has been more uncomfortable for me than giving it in the past.

Always be learning, applying, and sharing. Form strong opinions, loosely held.

The primary intrinsic motivation in my life has been to learn.

I want to do my best to always be feeding that thirst for knowledge, applying the results, and sharing what I’ve learned with others.

I support strong opinions, loosely held: having a point of view that is clear and direct, but also humble and open to learning from others with another point of view I hadn't considered.

I especially try to be open to perspectives from those with different backgrounds, experiences, and genetics from mine to make sure I’m learning as much as I can and staying mindful of biases I may not ever be able to fully offset.

Be thoughtful, intentional, effective, and kind.

I do my best to be thoughtful— regularly taking time and energy to reflect and consider my actions and their impact. I try to work to know myself and the landscape I inhabit.

Then, I work to be intentional and plan the specifics of how I want to act and try to create systems and habits to support that. I am always fighting against going through life on “auto-pilot”, knowing that my monkey brain is fighting back at all times.

Over time I attempt to gauge whether my actions are effective at having the impact and outcomes I want over just optimizing for what feels good or efficient.

Through it all, I try to work to be kind to others. My default presence can sometimes be intense, short, forceful, and at worst condescending. I do my best to try to counteract that and to be kind both in small actions and in larger effect.

Act in good faith. Seek out and tell the truth.

I try to take action in ways that openly reflect my core beliefs and values. Obscuring them can be an easier path to being “effective” but in a way that I believe would be hollow and unsatisfying.

The world is full of people who act in bad faith. The world I want to live in is one in which that is acknowledged but good faith is supported and rewarded. I want to do my best to walk the path I want others to walk and help make that world.

(This post contains an affiliate link.)

  1. "Do my best" is a key feature of active questions, a concept I learned from Marshall Goldsmith's "Triggers” - One of my all time favorite personal development books if you're into that sort of thing.

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Published November 26, 2019.