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Core values


After much introspection and a dozen or so woo-woo “find yourself” exercises, books, and workshops, these are the 3 things I value most.

Health

Yeah yeah yeah “if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything” we all know this, but by default we go on eating poorly, working too much, staring too long at screens, sacrificing sleep, and failing to get enough physical activity.

Trying real hard to put my money where my mouth is here. I’m ruthless with minimizing screen time. I eat one plant-based meal a day. I’m learning to dance & do BMX bike tricks, to the tune of 2 hours a day.

Authenticity

I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when I see it. And so do you. And you know when it’s absent.

Maybe spending time in a stilted environment, or talking with someone who’s guarded and insincere is just part of life to you - if so, that is awesome and I love it for you. I can’t stand it.

We all have such short lives. The choice to spend our time bullshitting each other is a tragedy I feel deep in my soul. So long as I’m not starving, I’ll prioritize authentic communication over revenue - they do conflict at times, but it’s possible to have both.

Learning

Not much to say here, I am just a giant nerd. I want to get better at the stuff I do for a living, of course, but I also want to learn history, and how agriculture works, and carpentry. I want to study philosophy and linguistics and functional programming. So I make as much time for all that as I can, provided that I’m staying healthy :)


Runners up

Here’s a some stuff I also value - but whose value either ties in to one of the top 3, or else doesn’t quite match them.

Autonomy

This used to be my strongest core value! I’ve built my whole professional life around efforts to increase autonomy.

But ultimately, having control of my time and how I work are ways to create space for learning that wouldn’t exist by default. It also ensures that I have time for rest, and sleep, and play - good for my health.

And most importantly, being able to decide whom I work with and on what terms is what enables me to be authentic. I die inside just a little bit when I find myself enmeshed in a team dynamic that prohibits real talk (I bet you do, too). So I seek out ways of working that keep me out of those situations.

Introspection

I have spent, and continue to spend, a ton of time journaling, reading and reflecting, and talking to others about feelings. (Feel free to browse dozens of tweets on the topic.)

Originally I thought of this as a core value, but really I think it gives me the courage and self awareness to be authentic, reduces stress that would compromise my health, and is in fact a form of learning.

Nature

Spending time in nature and also not destroying it are important to me. In a sense, though, it’s a means to an end. The natural environment is a great place for exploration and introspection, which funnel into authenticity. And spending time outdoors seems to be good for my health.

Combating alienation in the workplace

This one’s a mouthful. Since I can remember, I’ve been motivated to improve quality of life and add meaning to everyone’s work life, not just my own.

It’s still something I’m passionate about, but now I just see it as another way to value authenticity - alienation springs from being forced into a role where you have to suppress your authentic self.

© 2022 Brian David Hall