Introspection Travel Log: 1
A few days ago, I posted about zooming my focus out to get the lay of the land, so to speak, by going on an introspection journey. After discussing this need with some friends, one introduced me to two exercises that have really influenced my thinking: David Allen’s Horizon’s of Focus (via Dandy with a Lens) and a Learn OmniFocus post about mind-mapping my responsibilities.
Despite being immersed in the productivity space, I’d never much paid attention to David Allen’s Horizons of Focus, but I immediately thought that the idea of thinking about my Values, Principles, and Purpose was something worthwhile. I’ve mused on my values plenty of times, but my principles? Not consciously, and my purpose… not on paper.
First, if like me, you look at values versus principles as rather similar, let me elaborate on how I thought of them. Values are traits and aspects of life you hold dear–things like athleticism or creativity, family or success (or both!). Principles are the rules you live by; they are probably influenced by your values, but they tend to look more like rules than qualities.
I went through this exercise from the bottom up, so to speak, building from the base of my values. I recently looked at my values, so this was more of a review to make sure none of my thoughts had changed. They had not, so I kept them, only elaborating on what exactly my values meant to me.
Found or otherwise, family is important to me, especially the little family my partner & I make together. I’d like to have a good relationship with my nuclear family, and with my partner’s family, as well as remaining great friends with my found family.
Becoming a better person, by learning and helping others, by reflecting on myself and on the world—these are things I want to focus on. I want to be challenged to be my best self.
Expressing myself through whatever means necessary is very important to me. Fabric, paint, development work, writing, I need to have my creative self to feel whole, to feel real.
It’s important to me to be self-sufficient. I want to run my own life (with my partner alongside me) and be beholden only to things I care for, and the rest can be secondary. This does not mean I am self-sufficient to the point of harming relationships or myself.
I do not define success as the equivalent of wealth. All I want is to be well off in my careers, I want to have a happy, healthy relationship with my partner and our family, and I want to know that I’m living my best life.
The world is the only one we have, and I’d like to really put effort into having as little of an impact as possible, and work as hard as I can to help reverse the existing impact on the world.
From these values, which still resonate with me, and make me feel as though I recognize my true self, I began ruminating on rules by which I already live my life–I just wanted to put them into words. I came up with six, and while they mostly relate to my values, some of them came out of left field.
I cannot do anything if I do not take care of myself. That is of the utmost importance. If I am not healthy, who can depend on me?
We Only Get One Earth.
This one is self-explainable. There is only one planet on which we currently live; we cannot replace it. Every action should be weighed against that.
Everyone Is Creative and Intelligent.
Creativity and intelligence showcase themselves in myriad ways–it is society that does not choose to see it. I want to appreciate creativity and intelligence in all its forms.
People, and Time, Change.
Everything changes, including people. It’s important to recognize that and to get comfortable with it. I don’t usually handle change well, even though I know it’s coming–even though I want to change.
Success Can Only Be Defined by the Person Aiming for It.
My definition of success does not match anyone else’s. I cannot judge other people by my yard stick, and they cannot judge me by their own–or they can try. What I am aiming for now may change as well, and that’s perfectly acceptable.
Family, Found or Otherwise, Is Everything.
I have a close nuclear family, and I have my own partner. But that is not all of my family. I cannot count on two hands the extent of my found family, but I love them all, and I want to always be there for them, no matter what.
I don’t think I’ve met anyone who doesn’t believe they have a purpose in life. I’ve always believe this myself, but I’ve never tried to articulate it. I think I’ve managed it, at least for now! It may change (and that’s okay).
Heal Myself, Heal My Family, Heal My World.
Stick with me–a few months ago, a friend introduced me to the concept of “healing the world” and that obviously resonated with me. We should start at the beginning, however, and talk about “heal myself.”
I do not think I’m broken, but I used to. I thought my inability to focus on only one thing was a problem. I do not anymore. My journey from thinking I was broken to the present has been a really long one, and I’m still on it; I expect I will always be on that journey. What I mean by “heal myself” is being there for myself as I discover myself and who I am meant to be in this moment.
“Heal my family” is not about healing wounds or broken bonds, but rather being the support I know I can be for my family and friends, giving them a port of call when they need one, and encouraging us to see each other more, and close the distances that life-changes have brought between us all.
Finally, “heal my world.” My little world, my little universe around me is an area I can influence, and I want to exercise that power. I want to enact change in my local area, to help others in my city, my neighborhood, and to make a difference in a way that I can see. I can influence the wider world, but the ripple effects are only so large from one person–if I can help the earth and the people around me, maybe the rest of the world will take notice.
All in all, this was an enlightening exercise, and it’s been influencing me already as I continue on this introspection journey.
Be well, talk soon!