I think seeking self-awareness and self-understanding is absolutely critical to being happy, being able to understand others, and having a zest for life. I've decided to publish my ten most significant personal values for the sake of holding myself accountable to making sure I follow through with them. If there's anything you disagree with, feel free to email me and I'd absolutely love to have a discussion. That being said, let's get on with this! 😍
Note: These values are in no particular order. Each of these are equally important to me and are my core values.
#1: Activate Unique Experiences
Humans are natural storytellers. I want to live a life where I have no regrets, and the only way to achieve this is through unique experiences and valuable relationships. By having this value, I want to force myself to activate valuable experiences whenever I can. Whether it be visiting a different country or riding in the back of a random strangers' truck at 3 am, I want to make sure that I have stories to tell. Personally, activating experiences and seeking them in general have led to high quality introspection in the past, and I don't want to sacrifice them by just sitting around all day, or only doing work. In the end, my work/any professional/personal goals I have will all benefit from the pursuit of having stories to tell.
#2: Constantly Learn
Our brains LOVE learning. There was a point in my life where I didn't read pretty much an entire year, with the occasional book every 5 months. I just memorized the information I needed for school and was good to go. But, I've gotten really into reading again recently, and I've realized truly how much I love it. Outside of physical learning, I think that training your curiousity muscle in general is insanely important. Sometimes, I'll just decide to dive into a random field for a couple hours, and see how much I can learn. It's a super interesting way to learn more about the world and have a good time.
#3: Be Unconventional and Avoid Complacency
I've had days where I've sat around all day, watching YouTube, and being super unproductive. I've had days where I just follow what everyone else is doing. The conclusion that I've come to is that I don't feel great when I do this. Being complacement makes me miserable. Now, I'm not saying that I want my life to be work 24/7 with no fun. Quite the opposite. I want to replace the times where I would choose to sit around doing nothing, with time spent hanging out with friends, reading, or doing something productive that's not part of my to-do list. In terms of my work life, I have an eventual goal of impacting billions of people, by working on solving the world's biggest problems. This is a REALLY ambitious goal, but, I know it's what will make me personally fulfilled. There's no way I can see myself in a traditional job, although I do respect the people who choose that path, and so, I want to make sure I love unconventionality, since that's the type of life I want.
#4: Seek Perspective
In late October of 2019, I remember having a really influential conversation with one of my mentors about life in developing countries. I haven't been to a developing country (yet - It's on my life bucket list), and the most exposure I had to life around the world at the point was very limited. My mentor, who's lived in Kenyian slums and has a very good understanding of the world told me, that in these countries, if you go on the streets, you'll see people just standing on the streets and looking. They look because they don't know how to really do anything other than survive. To me, that was insane to hear, and it was the first time in which I truly internalized how I lucky I was to have the life I have. It also taught me the importance of not assuming and understanding the perspectives of others. Our life experiences shape who we are and this is unique for everyone. Rather than making blatant guesses as to why someone thinks the way they do, or on how to tackle a problems, I want to understand the perspectives of the people this impacts.
#5: Be Helpful, Be Kind, Be Grateful
... Or in other words, don't be an asshole. I'm so lucky to be living the life I live. I mean, come on, I could have been born a cricket, but instead I'm a human living in the western world surrounded by tech. A lot of people get so upset over the most minor of inconveniences and take that anger out onto others. I don't want that to be me. There's really no downside to being helpful/kind. It makes me feel good personally, and you have the chance of making someone's day better. This is so important.
#6: Have Meaningful Relationships
"You are your five closest friends" is a saying I've heard constantly all throughout my life, and it's true. You are, in a way, a reflection of the people you hang out with, and a lot of your choices are influenced by this. Toxic relationships aren't valuable, and I'm pledging not to engage in them. I want to have relationships where I can have interesting conversations, experience new things, and grow myself as a person. The people who enable me to have those things are going to be the relationships I pursue. I also just want to make it clear that I find a diverse range of friendships really valuable. Not all my friends have to be the CEOs of multibillion dollar companies, in fact, I don't want that. As long as those three requirements are fulfilled, the other tangible things aren't going to decide my stance on a relationship.
#7: Seek Understanding
There are a lot of things that don't make sense to me. Why does my dentist try to talk to me when I can't speak? On a serious note, why are we taught to memorize and not learn when we're younger? Why do we wage wars over religion and poverty? These are significant questions, and they all stem from questioning things that don't make sense. I think trying to understand the core of most problems you face is super important. Even in things like arguments, trying to understand another individual's point at it roots is very beneficial. Seeking to understand helps us find intention behind what we are doing and helps answer those big questions we have.
#8: Have a Zest For/Enjoy Life
As I said before, I could have been born a cricket. But I wasn't. Although times get tough at times, and I can go through rough mental states, I want to always try to enjoy life. There's a lot of bad in the world but there's also a lot of good. Life is what you make of it and choosing to try and enjoy it, and truly live it, is an easy way to improve your life. After all, there's so much out there, and appreciating is a small thing that you can start doing.
#9: Figure Shit Out
There are a lot of things that I don't know how to do. When I'm interested in one of these things, I have two options: Either figure out how to do it or just don't do it. I want to push myself to able to figure things out. Whether I train it from doing things like going to a random part of the city I live and trying to find a way back home without using the internet, or by taking something apart and trying to put it back together, my goal is to become better and better and adapting to doing things I've never done before/don't know how to do. Building this now, and having this skill in general is always going to help me adapt to whatever life brings my way.
#10: Be Authentic
It's easy to live life behind a façade and try to change yourself for others. But that's no fun. If you are truly happy with yourself, you should be able to be yourself in front of others without being worried about being judged. Certain people are always going to judge you, but, letting it get to you is going to make you miserable. I think about authenticity a lot. I've written an article breaking down my approach to this, which you can check out here! 😉