Previously, I offered a simple approach to identifying your core principles.
This is for readers willing to take a bit more time in the service of developing a more comprehensive and nuanced set of life pillars as well as comparing your current ones with ones you want to aspire to.
Decide where you fall on each of the following continua as well as where you would like to fall. You might want to print this out and, on each continuum, put an X on your status-quo and a Y on your desired place on that continuum.
Hedonist –> Altruist. While not publicly extolled, many people foundationally try to get themselves as much pleasure as possible. On the other end of the continuum are what could be called the Mother Teresas, people who are to suffer in service of being as altruistic as possible. Where does your behavior fall on that continuum? Is that where you want to stay?
Materialist –> Minimalist. Capitalism couldn’t have survived this long unless many people craved the material, deeming its attainment worth even spending their life in a less-than-fulfilling career and taking on worrisome debt to pay for the materialistic lifestyle. So while it’s easy to piously decry materialism, if so many people are willing to sacrifice so much for it, it can’t be ignored. On the other end of this continuum, a small percentage of people, live very simply in exchange for the freedom of pursuit that brings and/or for environmentalism reasons. Where are you on this continuum? Is that where you’d like to stay?
Status-Seeker –> Status-Indifferent. Many people are motivated to achieve higher status, that is, careers and possessions that are widely valued. That’s one reason, for example, why many people choose to become an attorney even though it’s well known that most lawyers are unhappy. It’s why many people buy a Mercedes rather than a Toyota even though they cost more, require more servicing, and break down more often. On the other end of the continuum, some people choose to forgo status in favor of what they believe will yield a better ratio of pleasure to pain. How about you? Where on the continuum is your, ahem, status-quo, and is that where you’d like to stay?
Self-critical –> Self-accepting. Being self-critical furthers growth, self-efficacy, and ability to make a difference. But it’s hard to make the ongoing effort to keep growing. It’s been said only partly in jest that the only person who actually likes change is a wet baby. So, especially as people get older there’s a tendency toward self-acceptance even at the risk of growing stale. That may not be as foolish as it may seem. The cost of striving for growth in discomfort, time, and perhaps money may not be worth it. For example, if you accept yourself as-is, you can focus your time on doing what you already do well. Where on the continuum are you? And is that where you want to stay?
Collectivist –> individualist. Collectivists believe that, generally:
- Society is wiser to redistribute resources to make outcomes for groups more equal than to make decisions based purely on individuals’ merit.
- People should more often work in teams than independently.
- Socialism yields more net good than does capitalism.
- Government and nonprofits yield more net good than do companies.
Individualists believe the opposite.
Where are you on this continuum, and is that where you’d like to stay?
Planner –> Spontaneous. Even assiduous planners find that best-laid plans can go awry. And too much focus on planning can distract a person from today’s exhortation to live in the moment. Yet planners nonetheless conclude that it’s wiser to plan than to leave much to happenstance. Live-in-the-moment types hold the opposite view. How about you, now? And is there where you want to stay?
Practical –> Idealistic. The practical person makes low-risk choices rather than betting on long-shot dreams. In contrast, the idealistic person feels that life is better-led by thinking big, even radically. Where are you now on that continuum, and is that where you want to stay?
Reflective –> Impulsive. Some of that is genetic, but not all. So even if a person is impulsive by nature, s/he who values reflection tries to restrain that natural tendency. Valuers of the impulsive calculate, usually subconsciously, that impulsivity’s increased speed outweighs any increase in errors. Where do you stand? Is that where you’d like to stay?
Just –> Merciful. Some people believe that justice is self-evidently correct. In contrast, merciful people tend to bend toward sympathy. Where are you? Is that where you’d like to stay?
Work within the system –> Work outside the system. Some people believe that whatever changes are needed are best accomplished from within the system. Other people think that’s too slow, for example, believing that revolutionary uprising is needed. Where are you? And is that where you want to stay?
Work within the system Work outside the system
Ethical –> Pragmatic. Some people believe that being ethical trumps self-interest and they often behave ethically even to their detriment. Other people believe that taking care of themselves and perhaps their family trumps ethics except for extreme violations. Just one example: Such people may feel okay about taking sick days when not sick. It’s hard to be honest with yourself about this item but try: Where do you stand on this continuum? And is that where you’d like to stay?
Religious/spiritual –> Secular. Some people believe their ultimate obligation is to serve God. Other equally good people are driven primarily by secular humanism, what they personally believe is wise. Where are you? And is that where you want to stay?
Imagine you’re on your deathbed and are reflecting on where you’ve been on those continua. Does that make you feel good or change something about how you’re living?
I read this aloud on YouTube.
- Foundations: Unearthing new facts at Mouns Jones House
- Sky Sharma Foundation raise more than £8,000 with charity music concert
- The Carrie Meek Foundation hosts first Job Readiness Program Orientation Session
- Dade County Federal Credit Union Funds B.T.W. High School Foundation, Inc. Scholarships
- CVS Health Foundation grants $56K for 211 call center substance use counselors
- Department of Science & Technology (DST) celebrates it’s foundation day
- Foundation elects new board members
- American Transplant Foundation Throws Fundraiser With Phil Lesh
- R K Singh lays the foundation stone of the of the Underground Cabling Project in the Kumbh
- Annual Wine and Jazz Festival continues to support Kearney Area Community Foundation