Not Fulfilled? Depressed? Maybe You Need An Alignment

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@eliquid you've inspired me. I spent some time over the past 3-4 days thinking about what you've written and doing the work. Still have a lot of reading to do, but this was a valuable exercise.

Some background, I'm 28, have been making my living being self-employed full-time for the past 6 years, and have been nihilistic virtually all of my life. Discovering Jordan Peterson's lectures about a year and a half ago started to change my worldview and slay the dragon that is nihilism.

Onward.

MY CORE VALUES:
  1. Security - Financial independence, a home (modest farmhouse), and a good reputation (brand).
  2. Balance - Walking the fine line between chaos and order. Engaging in work/play that puts me in a state of flow. Avoiding extremes except for when it truly serves my values and priorities.
  3. Growth - Personal growth (health, knowledge, wisdom) and financial growth (net worth, income, value).
  4. Legacy - Leaving the world at least a little better than it was before I was here and passing something meaningful on to my heirs.

MY TOP 3 PRIORITIES:
  1. Family - Continuous improvement on my relationships with my family, my girlfriend, and preparing for my children.
  2. Increasing Security - Building wealth and growing income for both my family and myself.
  3. Growth - Only engage in work and hobbies where I benefit regardless of whether I succeed or fail, as Scott Adams describes in a recent book.

MY MISSION STATEMENT:
  • To systematically design and build a secure, balanced life for myself and my family by solving meaningful problems and systematically improving/creating value.

MY PERSONALITY:
  • Jordan Peterson's test (promo code H3H3 worked for me a few days ago for a small discount) has me pegged at moderately high in Orderliness, High in Openness, Very High in Intellect, all other traits are moderately low or average.
  • INTP (-A/-T)
  • Enneagram was tied between Type 5 and Type 7 but I think Type 5 fits me better. I bet a lot of us builders have similar personality types.

A year ago none of this really mattered to me. I've done similar exercises my entire adult life but I've never truly desired any of it because of my nihilism. Since nothing mattered, goals and discipline were worthless to me no matter how much I wanted to want them. I made enough money to do what I felt like doing in the moment and that was that. A tragic waste.

This past year I've found a sense of meaning that has sparked some kindling and I'm working on both keeping it lit and growing it into a bonfire. Nothing is more important than keeping that sacred fire alive. I've "known" this for years and read this cliché advice a thousand times, but now I've learned that you have to experience it before you understand it.

Bored of this? Me too. Let's wrap up.

@eliquid's exercise provides a good framework for thinking about how to continuously work towards achieving/maintaining my values (as a systematic way of life, not as goals). The kindling is what will (hopefully) keeping me from saying "fuck it all" for the hundredth time.

Everything has felt different this past year, especially right now.

Godspeed, builders.
 

animalstyle

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@eliquid

Thank you for creating this thread and continuing to push for the use of the tools in here. For me - it has made a big impact, especially now.

My initial stab at this was prompted by your message to 'go do it NOW' - so of course looking back a few days later with a more level head, there are some tweaks. I made those in a quote below (to save screen space).

2018 Alignment

Values

Self Esteem
Wealth
Contribution
Mental Strength & Awareness
Social Connection

Mission Statement

Focus on improving my personal physical and mental well-being to grow into a more positive, social, confident person through building better habits. By working on myself, seek self-actualization to perform at my highest potential to build wealth by providing value to others.

Priorities

Positive Mindset
  • To exercise a positive mindset each day to enable me to perform to my highest potential and positively influence others.
Self Actualization
  • Work every day to improve myself with the goal of operating at my fullest potential.
Deliver Value
  • Focusing on delivering true value to others knowing that this is the best way to grow a business, earn money, and find personal satisfaction.
Habit Building
  • Keep awareness on habits that control me rather than me controlling them. Work to remove bad habits and build better habits each day. "The man makes the habit, the habit makes the man"
Not to push you @animalstyle , but have you started to make actionable steps to these yet?
Yes I have:
  • I printed out my alignment and hung it on my whiteboard so I see it every day.
  • I've been doing the master cleanse over in the thread I started which has helped clear my head, improve physical health, and build mental strength through delayed gratification.
  • I've been setting clear goals and working hard to complete them to build wealth.
  • I've been scheduling social arrangements and taking the opportunity to do activities rather than more mindless consuming at home.
  • I've been meditating most every day and spinning up positive affirmations and feelings to get pumped before working.
  • I've scrapped two big bad habits that were controlling me previously (video games being the big one).
Trying not to get over-excited about it all, but I am really feeling ready to kick 2018's ass.
 
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Happiness
Often a choice to be happy or not. Each day no matter what the obstacles it's important that I thrive to stay on a positive track.
Risk
Each year my risk tolerance changes. I look back and think what if I did x instead of y. Then I realize that every year I take new risks and endure new challenges. It's important to try to choose as wisely as possible with out ever knowing what the end result will be but knowing part of the journey is in taking that risk.
Family
I feel like as you are young and as you grow older you appreciate your family more and more. Friends are often blips in your lifetime but family tends to always stay there and become a focal point of your life despite any differences.
Hard Work
Work hard and for good causes. Each year I strive to find a great charitable opportunity to help and spend time with those who are less fortunate.
Innovation
Each year I am always looking for exciting and innovating opportunities. Many will not work out and I understand that but I only need 1 success in life to make it all worthwhile.
 

eliquid

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Good stuff Charto,

Curious if anyone from earlier in the thread wanted to step up and say how they have been doing since first starting this exercise?

I've fallen off the wagon a bit myself. Couple of things have happened in my life with family members that got me off track. Major things like dealing with cancer, jail, divorces, etc.... ( not me dealing with this myself, but others in my circle of family and friends )

Sometimes life can throw you several curve balls and they just derail you no matter how hard you try.

It's easy to question yourself in those times.

But having values that are at the core of your life help bring you back to shore like an emergency life raft when you need it.
 

ssura

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Been thinking about this a lot recently and decided to do it.

Core Values:
  • Freedom (Physically and Financially)
  • Self-Worth
  • Balance (Work and Life)
  • Health
These are my core values. Every time I think about my core value mentally, these are the ones that continuously appear over and over again.

Freedom: Physically, I don't want to have to ask for permission to things for myself. It kills me to think about how I used not to be allowed to go for a walk to clear my head. Financially, I don't want to have to rely on anyone else except me for money.

Self-Worth: I want to be able to see how far I can go. I used to think I would never amount to anything and become another 9 - 5er at a low-end wage job. Ended up learning how to code on my own and started a (short) career as a web developer.

Balance: This is a tough one for me. I have had countless times where I would be in one extreme or the other. I would be working too much and ignore everything else, or I would be doing everything except for work. Both extremes brought a lot of problems of their own. For the first time, I'm trying to function in the middle.

Health: My problem with balance brought a lot of physical and mental health problems. Without my health, I would be nothing. All of my hobbies require me to be physically active, and I can't be the social me with an unstable mental state.

My Top 3 Priorities
  1. Time
  2. Single Focus
  3. Charisma
Time: A finite resource that runs out fast. I want to be able to manage this better and gain more of by grinding when I can. I've cut my social circle drastically, but those close to right now are significant people. I want to be able to be there for them like they have been for me. As well, I want to be able to enjoy my time here. I don't want to look back to my life and regret it.

Single Focus: ** This might not be the right term for this. ** I'm not entirely sure when I started to notice this, but when I've been working on something I genuinely enjoy, I forget about the rest of the world. Nothing matters during that time. It's amazing. I've been trying to achieve that more and more while I'm working, and it's helped me learn things exponentially faster for my business.

Charisma: It might be weird that I'm putting this here, but I've recently been working on my charisma. It's helped me with meetings and handling everyday aspects of my life. I used to think that being an introvert was a disadvantage but learning how to switch on charisma without changing my personality. It helped me better enjoy my life and work because it's aligning everything I'm working towards together.

Personality Type
I'm an INT-J and a Type 6 (Best match after reading Type 5 and Type 8). Reading these things is kind of spooky because of how much I can relate. I like to revisit these and re-read them to help me align myself again.

Mission Statement
"Be able to enjoy both work and life to gain more time to be able to spend with those that are close to me and doing what makes me happy."

Excuse the cheesiness of my mission statement, but it's the best thing that I could come up with that summarizes how I feel when I wrote this up.

This entire exercise has been great and I feel great after writing it down finally.. Thank you @eliquid for posting this.
 

Sutra

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Even though I've been working for myself the past 6 months I've felt like I've just been floating around. Before I started woking for myself I was living like an isolated homeless man, but felt great. My living conditions sucked but I had a purpose; something I was working towards. I felt aligned and fulfilled. But now that I achieved the #1 thing I've wanted in life I feel like I'm just drifting and floating through the days. Not good.

Years ago I created a mission statement, values, etc, by going through Stephen Covey's stuff. It was a long time ago but I remember feeling light, driven, peaceful, and fulfilled at that time. It was a life of joy. So I know how valuable doing these things can be.

For the past week (longer actually), I took time away from work to really get to know my motivations, values, desires, etc. Put it all together and have my goals set. Anyway, enough of that. Here are my values, life statement, and priorities:

Values:
  • Nourish the body
  • Balance the mind
  • Make long term value
  • Create love and abundance
  • Be present and go for more
  • Explore and adventure

Life Statement:

I believe in waking up every morning feeling full of vitality and energy, living a healthy, loving, fulfilling life of exploration, appreciation, and wonder, being present and always going for more, enjoying peace of mind, inspiring respect and desire, and feeling that I contribute to something greater than myself.

Priorities:
  1. Build net worth
  2. Be fluent in Thai
  3. Form meaningful relationships
 

eliquid

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Wondering how everyone is doing months and almost a year later?

I'm going to call some of you out by handle here in my next post just so you see it. But I'll give it a few days first to see if you all happen to spot this post first.

If you don't wanna share, that's cool.

However, I am interested in hearing if anything positive or negative has came about. And who might have fallen off the wagon mid-way through.
 
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@eliquid, thank you for posting this, it's incredibly insightful. Personally, I don't think I'd have been in a place where I could have done this a year ago. It seems that there's something about getting older that lets you know yourself a little more.

The whole thread really struck a chord with me when I first read it and after a week of musing on it, I thought I'd take a swing at setting myself a personal mission statement, define my core values and my priorities for the next 12 months.

Mission Statement
To build high-value assets for my family which allow me to diversify my income while having a positive impact on the lives of those around me.

Core Values
  • Pragmatic - being able to solve problems in a very straightforward way is something that runs right to my core.
  • Consistent - being able to consistently chip away at goals rather than making big swings with rest periods in between.
  • Fair - being fair and balanced when dealing with people without letting prejudice or bias cloud my judgement.
Priorities
  • Family - with a new addition joining us at the end of September, I want to aspire to be the perfect role model for the little human while strengthening the bonds with my wife, parents and siblings.
  • Income Diversification - I feel nervous having all my eggs in one basket. If I got shit canned at work then I'd be left with nothing. I want to diversify my income so that should anything happen, I've still got a high-value asset that I can either sell for a quick injection of cash or that can support us.
  • Health - This will always be a priority that I'll never again compromise. I've been overweight and suffered the health consequences. If I'm going to be there for my family and provide for them - I need to be healthy.
 

animalstyle

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Personally the definitions I created for 2018 are still serving me well. I've failed to review them daily, though they are still pinned to the board in my office.

Thanks to your bump of this thread I looked them over today for the first time in a while. They were a good confirmation of where I've been focusing my energy and they showed me some areas where I've been slipping.

Overall extremely valuable and I am happy I've taken the time to do this exercise - TY @eliquid
 

Apex

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After a time in which I have been quite absent from everything related to online work, I think I have a little idea of what I want.

Core Values:

  • Growth: Be able to grow day by day, both personally and financially. Become that person that I think I can be.
  • Clarity: Be able to continue moving forward with clarity, with clear ideas and a previously established path. Don't leave anything to chance.
  • Positivity: I admit, I'm a person who has made many mistakes because of my negativity. I'm beginning to value positivity as an important trait for me.
  • Autonomy: I want freedom and be able to have the options in my hand.
  • Perseverance: I think this is something that we have all struggled with on occasion. Much of my success will depend on my ability to stay strong at tough times.

Mission Statement

To grow day by day with perseverance, clarity and positivity to achieve a better version of myself and ultimately a better life for me and my family.

Priorities

  • Building a sustainable business: This is my main priority and I suppose that it is also for the majority of users of this forum. I want to create a business that allows me to generate the income necessary to have the life I would like for me and my family.
  • Physical well-being: I'm a sports lover, so it's an inseparable part of my daily life and maintaining a good physical shape is one of my top priorities.
  • Family: I was born in a family with a low social class, although I have not suffered from poverty nor have I lacked a meal at the table. I would like my family to be able to live the life they have always wanted. With this I don't mean a life of luxury, but one in which you can be sure that nothing will ever be missing.
A couple of months ago I asked for help because I was very lost. I think I'm starting to see some things more clearly, and this thread has helped me for that.
 

eliquid

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Had my birthday a few days ago.

Always reminds me to do this exercise. Will be doing it and pondering over it the next 2 weeks.

How has everyone else been?
 

eliquid

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Not sure I posted this for 2018..

I skimmed my posts and didn't see it.

But in 2018 I did this as my mission statement based on my core value evaluation in 2018 ( mid year )

To:
  1. Solve problems with simplicity, creativity, and entrepreneurship
  2. Create Ah-Ha moments based on insight, enlightenment, and knowledge
  3. Live a full and stable life with complete and utter autonomy


.
 

Sutra

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Strange timing. Updating my values/goals is something I put it on my list of things to do very soon. Should have it done within a week or so.
 

eliquid

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After much thought the last couple days ( I thought this would take me longer, but seems like I have this down really well now after several years ), I came down to this:

To:
  1. Solve problems with simplicity, creativity, and entrepreneurship
  2. Share my full knowledge, wisdom and insight with those that deserve it
  3. Live a full and stable life with complete and utter autonomy

So it didn't change much. I actually liked my 2018 version alot and think I hit the nail on the head. I just refined it for 2019-2020 with #2.

I found my values really didn't change either, so my mission statement didn't really need to much.

I think this year I will look more into sports ( as exercise ). Running and Swimming are single person sports that have interests aligned with an INTJ. I've also had a fascination with triathlons for years, so maybe I might head in that direction starting to train for my 5 year personal goal.

I'm also going to triple down on a DO NOT DO list. I need to keep weeding out to get to my minimum.
 
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Happy Belated Birthday, eliquid.
It was serendipitous that you've posted again, as I've been reflecting upon my journey in life and am seriously considering a new career. It will be my birthday tomorrow, and today is as good as any other day to put a laser-focus on my work.

Core Values
  • Peace of Mind - Life is never calm, but I have found that doing something I enjoy doing has made it much easier for me to deal with the ups and downs that I encounter.
  • Freedom - My definition of freedom, in this case, is the ability to work wherever I want. I live in a different state than my parents and I like to visit them. I also like to visit other cities and travel. Being shackled to a desk just isn’t for me.
  • Stability - As an INTJ-T, I find it enjoyable to be able to develop a routine and settle into it, modifying where it makes sense.
  • Honesty - I remember first working at an agency (with some pretty good clients) where ad spend was a black box. I got sick of their many scummy business practices and quit, thinking I could do better by myself.
  • Interpersonal Connection - As an introvert, I force myself to interact with others at times. However, I notice that so many of my interactions are meaningful and I really enjoy talking with others.

My current position has given me the opposite of this (except for honesty and connection). It has not been giving me peace of mind - working with clients in the local digital agency space doesn’t do this. I lack stability, too. Perhaps it’s the clients I’ve gotten, or maybe it’s something else, but I just feel like I don’t have anything going for me in this department. This year has also been the least stable year of my life.

It’s interesting to see how I could end up in a position that is antithetical to the values I just posted. Had I taken this quiz in the past, I perhaps might have listed values like entrepreneurship and financial health. The things I thought would make me happy, haven’t. However, I cannot complain, because it has been my own fault that I ended up like this.

Let’s align those tires, shall we?

Mission Statement
I will achieve peace of mind, freedom, and stability through the strengthening of personal relationships, and in honesty in all of my business dealings.

And, for my priorities, a big focus on improving others. I have started to believe that I should focus less on self-help and more on helping others more. My guiding quote for this year is from Ben Franklin: "Do well by doing good."

Priorities
  • Helping Others / Giving Back I have volunteered before, but not for the past few years. I want to find some way to help others or give back.
  • Learning - I enjoy learning but ever since last July or August I have been stagnant and fallen behind. I wouldn’t call myself cutting edge but I was able to do things not a lot of others knew. Now I feel like I’ve been left in the dust and I need to really focus on expanding my skill set and knowledge.
  • Provide Value To Others - My issues stem from being so “me” focused. If I focus on what others need, rather than what I need, it would be better for everyone.

This is a great thread. Amazing to see so many changes in others. I have already seen this be a great benefit me as I codify what I value and care the most about.