Core Values

What I’ve been listening to – Milky Chance
What I’ve been reading – Infinite Jest, Good to Great
What I’ve been watching – Dragonball, Up in the Air

I recently re-watched Up in the Air – the film, starring George Clooney, about a firing consultant who has adapted to living his life on the road. As a former consultant who also spent much of his time on the road, the movie triggers feelings of recognition and nostalgia for me. This most recent viewing was no exception and 2 things, in particular, stood out to me.

First, the cinematography is fantastic. One example is the tightly shot, quick cuts of Clooney’s maneuvers in the airport. The way he manipulates his luggage and undresses in security with perfect control and no wasted motion perfectly encapsulate the efficiency that consultants achieve and hints at the amount of repetition life on the road entails. I also liked the way they transitioned locations – they did something typical in taking generic shots of the new city, however they did it from a bird’s eye view – floating above the city the way an arriving airplane might.

Second, Anna Kendrick’s acting is perfect. She’s not exactly what I was like coming out of college but she’s incredibly convincing as a fresh out of college analyst/consultant. On the one hand, she’s brimming with talent and eager to prove herself so she doesn’t back down. But the eagerness to prove herself stems from a place of insecurity and she knows that there are things she doesn’t know. Anyway, in summary, watching the movie did transport me to a different time and place in my life and that’s what good movies do.

Now on to values, I thought it might be an interesting idea to try to define my personal values since I’ve been doing a bunch of thinking about what good corporate values are. This is necessarily a difficult and iterative exercise since I’ve never done anything like this before so I expect whatever I do here will be flawed or incomplete at best. Ideally, the values should be articulated in a way that is both concise (short, easy to remember and only the most important) and precise (they are exactly the things I prioritize and I know exactly what they mean).

Also, they should be real values, not aspirational ones. Meaning that these are the frameworks that I really make decisions on, get motivation/energy from, etc. Aspirational values (how I want others to perceive me or that are somewhat secondary in importance) are good as well but I really want to self-understand a bit. Without further ado, here’s some of the values words I think resonate most with me – picked out of a longer list I found online.

1) Excellence: I can be a force for positive change and I do the maximum to achieve that change. I do not just “skate by.”
2) Honesty & Simplicity: I care about absolute truths and efficiency.
3) Humility: I believe in clock building, not time telling.
4) Freedom & Responsibility: I prefer to be self-directed but will stand up for my commitments
5) Exploration & Creativity: A part of me consistently yearns for new things. I prioritize creation and learning over consumption.

My aspirational values are probably

1) Balance
2) Calmness
3) Community

Well that’s it for now. Will add and develop this concept more over time.

Addendum: I also think there’s something about learning and persistence. I said it was a function of desire for excellence. I think all that even more fundamentally comes from a belief in my God-given talent. That leads to a desire for excellent results – to be worthy of the gift – and I know that results don’t come easily. I’ve climbed the mountain before.

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