Inner core - personal values and beliefs
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LIBRAMy personal values can be summed up by the acronym LIBRA. I've spent numerous hours thinking about this since I attended a course on Stephen Covey's 7 habits of highly effective people back in 2006. After considerable reflection and revision, I've come to these five.
L for Live
I enjoy living. I prefer to live in the present and immediate future. In contrast, some people live in the far past (everything was better in the old days) and some people live in the far future (my life will really start when I retire). It may sound a bit contradictory, but I'm also a bit of a planner. I often picture myself in 10 years. Confused? No need! There is a great difference between having a plan with long-term goals and being so focused on those goals that you forget to enjoy the moment. It's sound like a cliché, and maybe it is, but to me life is a journey. Completing the journey is of course a goal, but what you see and experience along the way really makes the journey worthwhile. As a consequence, I pay great attention to the details around me. People, designs, statements, news, food, music, and what not. Traveling is best done with intense focus on details in the immediate surroundings -- the same is true for living.
I for Inspire
Ok, I enjoy living with focus on details. An important fellow of this is to be inspired and to inspire others. Without inspiration life becomes dull, narrow-minded, self-centered, self-sufficient, and generally plain boring. Inspiration along with a strong focus on details and persistence to follow interesting trails has a tendency to result in interests becoming small research projects for me. For instance, reading on various models of the mind and thinking systems has given me many thoughtful hours wondering about life and the world we live. Consequently, I eagerly engage in new books on the matter.
I also try to be a source of inspiration for others. I like to challenge current beliefs and those who know me may label me as occasional and friendly provocative. I do try to do it with a gentle push tough by stating the obvious (but sometimes) unpleasant truth and then let people draw their own conclusions.
B for Balance
Achieving balance in life is just as important as seeking inspiration. Failing to balance work, family life, and keeping fit and healthy is the certain route to stress and a derailed life. I've seen how stress affect people at close hand several times and one remarkable observation is how long it takes to them reclaim their life - some actually never reclaims it fully. Therefore, I keep balance in my own life and I have a number of body indicators flagging red colors when my "speeder" has touched the floor for too long. To achieve balance, I'm rather clear about my three life roles - the family man, the scientist, and the outdoor explorer.
R for Reflect
I spend a significant amount of my life reflecting. What was the reason things happened the way they did? Why did people say what they said? How can I enhance the positive things and tone down the negative?
Reflection is certainly a prerequisite for self-development and better attunement to future situations. Thus, my main goal with reflection is "sharpen the saw" as Stephen Covey would say. For me, reflect also means to follow the daily news flow and try to grasp and understand the reasons why certain things happened.
A for Act and being Proactive
Acting and being proactive are important if you want to be in charge of your own life. I won't say I am a 100% acting or proactive person, but over the last ten years or so I think I've gradually expanded the circle where I act or proact instead of react. Stephen Covey (7 habits) promotes the importance of being proactive and I fully agree - it can just be rather difficult to practice in every situation. In my view, the reactive person lives in the immediate past as he mainly acts on some stimulus. The acting person takes control of his own present time and immediate future, which he shapes by acting. The proactive person is able to influence his surroundings in a way that with smoothness and ease allows him to catch the big fish in the long run.
Three main life rolesIn my life, I'm mainly in these three roles.
Sources of inspirationA colleague asked me once what I've been reading on the subject and what courses I've attended. Quite a lot, when I think about it. Some highlights include: