A Life Driven by Values

Hello, friends. Just a quick note to let everyone know that my life, finally, seems to have calmed down. Two full months after my mother’s death, the fog had been lifted and I found that I was motivated to pursue productive activities once again.

I’ve spent most of the last few weeks doing serious soul searching. It’s clear to me (and Kim) that, above all, I need to make 2023 a year for myself.

2023 — My Year

More than a decade ago, I was used to thematizing my years and months. It was fun! It also paid off. Every time I decide to devote time lapse to one thing, it has amazing results, whether it is with physical fitness, writing, or dating. This themed custom lasted for several years, then fell on the side of the road.

Well, I’ve spent too much time putting myself in second place. Or third. Or ninth. Until yesterday, my goal was to put myself first for next year (or so).

It’s hard for me. It seems selfish. It doesn’t seem right. But the truth is, I’ve let other things interfere with my search for physical and mental health for too long. I have made excuses. Not anymore! For the foreseeable future, JD is the first job. Let the age of egoism begin!

The truth is, of course, that putting myself first, I will almost certainly become a better person to others, including you. I understand that this is true (and, in fact, this is advice I often give to others), but I have not been able to act on knowledge for too long.

Anyway, I suspect there won’t be any real change for you, the readers of Get Rich Slowly. The change will be mainly within me. I gave myself permission to put my needs and wants above all else in 2023, but I’m pretty sure that will translate into more fodder for the stuff around here. And, finally, complete the design of the site.

But as part of this Year of Me, I’m deliberately not sticking to any release or production schedules around here. If I have something to say, I will say it. Otherwise, I won’t force anything. The post you read is a good example: I just finished another Designing Your Life exercise  and I had some free time before calling with a friend, so I decided to share a quick update.

Again, this is a huge change  in me, and I know it. But that’s an important change.

Courage to dislike

For Thanksgiving, Kim and I went to California to visit her brother’s family. To pass the time, we listened to The Courage to Be Dislike by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumtitake Koga. This book (which should really be called The Courage to Be Happy) explores the worldview of psychologist Alfred Adler.

The courage to dislike is full of wisdom. (I’m frustrated that I can’t highlight the parts in the audiobook!) Gems like this:

  • People produce anger.
  • Learn to live without being controlled by your past.
  • Unhappiness is something you choose.
  • People generally choose not to change.
  • Your life is in the here and now. ( Echo of Eckhart Tolle, huh?)
  • All problems are problems of interpersonal relationships.
  • Life is not a competition.
  • Admitting guilt is not defeat.
  • Denies the desire for recognition. (Hey! It’s like having a lack of ambition!)
  • Discard other people’s duties. (In other words, establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries.)
  • Freedom is being denied by others.
  • You are not the center of the world.
  • The purpose of interpersonal relationships is a sense of community.
  • Do not reprimand or praise. (This is a big revelation for me and Kim.)
  • They’re in the present. (Eckhart Tolle again.)
  • Excessive self-awareness is self-suffocating.
  • Don’t seek self-affirmation; Pursue self-acceptance.
  • The essence of the work is the contribution to the common good.
  • Have the courage to be normal.
  • Life is a series of moments.

I realize that many of those statements may not make sense without context. They didn’t make sense to us until we heard the explanation.

I’ll re-read The Courage to Be Dislike in Kindle format. Well, I’ll flip through it, looking for the best part. The book is written as a Socratic dialogue, which is good and bad. For the purpose of rereading, I don’t need to (or want to) sit for most of the conversation. I’m just looking for the best part.

It is very likely that I will publish a full review/summary of the book here on Get Rich Slowly in the future.

A life driven by values

In closing, here is an excerpt that appeared in  my Readwise spotlight  today. I tagged this months ago, but it seems particularly relevant to where I am now:

“The ability to subordinate the drive to a value is the essence of a proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values: values that are carefully thought out, selected and internalized.”

– Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

One of the reasons I came to the place where I needed My One Year was because I had somehow lost the ability to control my impulses while at the same time forgetting my core values. It’s time to change the script! I have already begun to take steps to control my impulses, for example, I have removed Reddit and Hearthstone from my iPad, and it is time to start practicing my values again.

That’s all I have for you today. I’ll be back soon with more, I’m sure, but it could be something short. Or it could be something more communicative… Like this. (Really, with what I envision in the future, each  of  the three parts of this post will be its own separate article.)

I’m not going to give up longer, more focused articles. But for now, for Year Yo, blog posts like this seem to be true.


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