The Core Values (featuring Shiny Shoes)

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Now that the chaos of interviews and work is mostly behind me, I can finally get cracking with Art of Manliness 30 day regime as I promised at New Year. In the spirit of making up for lost time, and because I’ve been thinking about the task for Day 1 for about 6 weeks already, I’m doubling up today and getting the first two steps done.  If you haven’t checked out AoM’s excellent site yet, these two tasks are:

1. Define your core values

2. Shine your shoes

Clearly the second is the less demanding of the two, and something I try to do regularly anyway, but today I decided to put in a bit of extra effort and get 3 pairs of shoes looking bright and shiny. Hopefully it won’t snow again while I’m out later…

Shiny shoes today!

The first is undoubtedly one of the most difficult on the whole program, as I mentioned earlier I’ve had this question in the back of my mind for a few weeks since I first thought about doing the 30 days. Getting down to the five most important things to measure yourself by is now mean feat to accomplish, especially in just one day but I think I have managed it at last. I tried to think of it from the point of view of Benjamin Franklin’s system of 13 virtues, which he rated himself on every day. The question I’ve been turning over in my head is along the lines of:

“If I was going to give myself a score in 5 aspects of my ‘performance’ each day or week (and maybe I will) what would they be?”

The 5 ideas I eventually settled on, in no particular order, are these:

Respect- the hard part here is striking the right balance between self-respect and respecting other people, tradition, the law etc. Far too many people lean too much towards the former, turning it into selfishness, while I have been guilty of going too far the other way, accepting too much without standing up for what I want or need.

Humour- the world would be a dull place without it, and there are few greater strengths than being able to laugh at yourself

Knowledge- I’m always trying to learn new things but, like many people, sometimes have problems with admitting my limitations in this area. Yes, the name of the blog is somewhat of an exaggeration, I don’t know everything. Occasionally, you have to face up to this fact so that you can learn more.

{inviting suggestions for a better word here} Action- I couldn’t think what this quality is called, but I have in my head an idea that includes doing what needs to be done, not leaving it for someone else to take care of, plus challenging myself by trying to do things which I know I won’t find easy or I know I’m not good at as a way of trying to improve myself. I’m calling it ‘Action’ for now but I’m open to ideas for a more suitable label.

Logic- lastly, based on a background focussed mainly on the scientific and mathematical sides of life, logic has always been a strong element in my thinking. Even when I shouldn’t, I can’t stop myself from asking questions about causes and effects of a situation, and what is or isn’t possible. In a recent discussion I had about going to church, I was asked “Do you not believe in God?”. I replied that I did not, and in all honesty any internal debate I may have had on the matter (not that I remember any such thing) would have been fairly brief, that’s just the way I see the world.

Once more, on paper, the five values

The 5 pillars of Andy


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