Do you know what your core values are? I may be 36, I didn’t think about that until recently. They’re, however, critical when it comes to chose your life path.
During my summer vacation, I read Heath Brothers Decisive, how to make better choices in life and work. That’s exactly the kind of books I avoid because the title is too well marketed, but I don’t regret any single minute I spent on it.
Decisive is about getting better at making choices by understanding the decision psychological process, and improving what can be done.
One of the chapter that really stroke me is about defining your core values. When you need to take a decision that impacts your whole life, you should confront it against what you really are. So the first thing to do is actually understanding what you really are, or what you want to be. Does quitting your job for money makes you a prostitute? Does taking a boring job that fits your life / work balance makes a boring person? The answer is not as easy as it seems.
Defining your core values is a good way to know yourself better. It’s quite complicated too, because your core values can vary as time flies and you gather experience.
I took some time to think about it, and tried to understand what were my core values for every important decision I had to take the past 20 years.
Being young is awesome, because you do most things without asking yourself why. It also sucks because you need to take life impacting decision without any experience or distance: choose a career path, get engaged with someone you barely know but chose to spend your life with, have kids without knowing what it’s about. Thinking about it, I was always moving forward, without taking the time to think.
However, there were a few things that always counted in my decisions, I can now count as one of my then core values.
The most important one were having fun and learning. I couldn’t stand being bored, even though it meant a bright future. I joined a well known French politic sciences school and was bored to death. As a consequence, I failed miserably during the 2 years I spent there but became great at roller and ice skating.
Then, I joined that computer engineer school, and had lots of fun; not everyday, but the topic I was studying was fun enough to keep me focus for 4 years despite having to work to pay my studies, losing my father from cancer, my job, getting married and having an unexpected kid, both the same year. I had to take lots of urgent decisions: find a new job to pay for my school (but neither in the porn nor gambling industries even though they provide some interesting technical challenges) and feed my new coming family, deciding what to do with my girlfriend and the baby and so on… I had to decide with my guts, but every time, my core values remained.
With the years, I don’t think my core values changed that much. Having fun and learning from what I do is still important, but feeding my family and spending more time with them became quite important as well. When I decided to leave blueKiwi 1 year ago, I did not think about it this way, but I’m pretty sure those 4 things weighted a lot in my decision.