In my bio on this site, I describe myself as somebody who loves creating things. I recently took some time to reflect on this in a bit more detail, and I realized that this statement needs some qualification. On its own, creation encompasses rote repetition: the potter at the wheel producing endless copies of the same mug. I’ve come to realize that I enjoy the creative act as the culmination of a learning process, having first understood something new. I enjoy creation as instantiated learning. It is the intersection of knowledge with competence.

This line of thinking made me reflect on my personal values. I quickly focused on what I think of as “distinguishing values.” There are a broad set of common values that are broadly held within our society: kindness, integrity, etc. These are obviously important, but they don’t tell you much about a person. When somebody says, “I value integrity,” nobody is surprised (hopefully).

Distinguishing values are those that are less common and thus more informative. After some thought, I believe the following is a fairly complete list of my distinguishing values:

  • Independence
  • Self reliance
  • Initiative
  • Broad Competence
  • Conviction
  • Resilience
  • Passion

Most of these are slightly ambigious, and I prefer it that way. That ambiguity gives me flexibility to discover and grow.

Written on March 30, 2021