Values are a reflection of identity.
They also provide the foundation for relational intimacy, trust, and appreciation. Two people may not share the same beliefs, but if they share the same values, they can learn to appreciate each other on the very deepest levels of human interaction.
There are various orders of values (listen to this podcast from JFM and Ryan for more.)
Ultimately, my values dictate who I allow into my inner circle, how I prioritize my time, and what I dream about in the future.
They evolve and change a little here and there, but for the most part these values reflect who I have always been, who I am right now, and what I want to be about in the future:
- Essentialism. Higher-order and more focused than Minimalism. Essentialism provides more focus to do only what’s necessary and only what adds the most value to my life. Reject the rest – the nonessential. A very useful value when it comes to packing for a backpacking trip, making financial decisions that involve spending money, or managing your time.
- Wilderness. I appreciate nature, but nature without wilderness is just “being outside”. It has value, but for me, it doesn’t have the power that wilderness holds. Wilderness is remote. Wilderness is disconnected. Wilderness is being alone. Wilderness is raw. Wilderness is unmodified by man. Wilderness is where you discover yourself. Wilderness is where you meet God, because in wilderness, nobody’s watching.
- Mobility. This one isn’t complicated: I don’t want to be tied to any material possession, relationship, or line of work that requires me to remain in one place for an extended period of time. Why? I want to see the world. And I want to take advantage of the unique opportunities that present themselves. Plus, I get cabin fever pretty easily and it creates anxiety. It’s a curse (blessing!) of the INTJ.
- Divergence. I tend to question everything. I’m part cynic, part skeptic, part curious. Most people who live in the first world are robots who do what they’re told, what society expects of them. My least favorite directive is “You should do this…” Question everything. You might discover some great opportunities.
- Experimentation. Divergence leads to experimentation. Experimentation is all about embracing uncertainty, which allows me to grow. I want to grow, evolve, change. I don’t think humans can do this by following other humans. I do think they can do this by conducting their own experiments and seeing what happens.
- Lifehacking. There is always a better way of doing things. Never settle. Tinker. Break things. Fix things. MYOG. DIY. Commit to figure out your solution to a problem, rather than accept the limitations of your circumstance. Hack it!
- Storytelling. I’m inspired by stories. I love being in a story! Every good story has the key elements that make life worth living: a protagonist, an antagonist, fear, problems, solutions, failure, and triumph! I like telling stories through writing, photography, and film. My favorite bear encounter stories are always reserved for live events around a campfire!
- The West. I may not always live in the West, but the West will always live in me. The ideals of the Western ethic – frontiersmanship, not being afraid of uncertainty, facing adversity head on, freedom, discovery, exploration, homesteading – are as romantic as they are practical manifestations of how I want to live. It’s anarcho-libertarianism with a bit of leftist social reform, because in the West, “we’re gonna take care of each other.”