More thoughts about my principles and values

More thoughts about “my principles and values”. This was written in response to a private message to a friend, but I wanted to keep it here for myself. Some of the original is elided…

You are right that the survey is a bit flawed… just about everyone in my life will observe me at different times and in different contexts. I have spent a lot of work time with you, more so than personal time, which partially explains why you see me doing things that place emphasis on work ethic pretty consistently. I’m with myself (and hopefully observing myself) 24×7, but then I can be biased and skewed when it comes to differentiating who I really am vs. who I imagine myself to be.

Another factor… I have actually downplayed my work ethic in the years since you worked with me. I was utterly fanatical about work, and it got more intense at T*****. After shifting to A******* I made a conscious decision to place value on my home life above my work life. I think I am still a bit over-committed to work and not committed enough to my social life, but I am now much closer to a healthy balance than I have been before. (Actually, looking back now, the decision to leave T***** was largely driven by the realization that “they need me” is not a valid reason to stay if I am no longer benefitting from the relationship :)

Something else is wrong with my survey’s premise. I have sort of mixed up “my values” with “my principles”. I think “values” are what we are passionate about, and “principles” are what guide us. I think of them as being the “why” (values) vs. the “how” (principles) that both combine to make us who we are. For example, I value “family” and “friends” very highly, but those are not principles. I need to sort out the scramble a bit and post again :)

>Honesty hurts.

I don’t actually believe this… but your definition of honesty doesn’t quite match mine either. To me honesty means “don’t tell a lie or mislead someone” but it doesn’t mean “full disclosure” at all. I am a pretty “open” guy also but I am not open to everyone nor about everything. People who know me casually don’t know everything about me. Some people who I am not really friends with and don’t care about will not even get to know what I think about them :) Basically, I am honest with everyone, and honest+open with my friends. The only things I will not share with close friends or loved ones are someone else’s secrets, stuff told to me in confidence, etc.

My mother once asked me to lie for her, and I wouldn’t, and I got kicked out of the house for it. Another time she asked me to betray a confidence (basically, bring confidential information home from work) and I refused again, and was kicked out again. The second time I stayed away for good. I didn’t value my work more than my family, but above all else I value myself and I would not have been doing myself a service to betray my own principles. Being able to live with myself is the implied “value zero” I guess :)

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