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I found it easiest to clarify and then prioritize my values first, and then I used that list to help
craft my life purpose statement. It took hours to clarify my values list, but once that was done,
it took less than 30 minutes to come up with the new purpose statement.
Creating this list gave me some fresh insights about what’s most important to me.
The first 3 values (caring, oneness, devotion) involve creating a strong core of love,
support, and connectedness.
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These values help align me with the principle of Love. When these values are fulfilled,
I feel very happy and inspired, which is a great foundation for a purpose-driven life.
The next 2 values (intimacy and exploration) help me align with the principle of Truth.
Once I have a strong base of Love, I’m motivated to reach out, share, and learn.
The 6th value (brilliance) is about expressing myself creatively.
What unique value can I contribute to others? What’s the very best I have to share?
The last 3 values (honor, playfulness, prosperity) are about how
I wish to enjoy and experience the game of life.
I was amazed to see how much my core values have changed.
This is a very different list than any I’ve created in the past 20 years.
Then when I thought I finally had the best answer, I froze when I tried to move forward on it. Even though my logic said “OK,” the decision still didn’t feel quite right for some reason. Usually I could never reach the holy grail of perfect clarity.
After running this pattern an embarrassing number of times, I took a step back and began questioning the pattern itself.
I wondered if the process of asking and answering, “What should I do?” was in fact a trap of sorts.
Words like “right” and “should” imply the existence of an optimal or at least near-optimal solution
among the various alternatives. Life isn’t black and white, but we can certainly imagine that
one outcome will be at least slightly better than the others, don’t we?
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For example, if you ask yourself, “Should I quit my job?” you wonder which will put you in a better life position: quitting or staying. “Better” is a subjective term, but if one option left you homeless and the other option wealthy, all else being equal, you’d be inclined to define the wealthier outcome as better.
Now it seems logical that a process of examining alternatives, projecting likely outcomes, comparing those outcomes, and making an informed decision should be fairly effective, shouldn’t it? But in practice this pattern has failed me again and again.