I believe in what I call “enlightened other-interest.” I want to act such that at the end of the day the world will be better for me having been here.
Players of Dungeons and Dragons have created a wonderful tool they call the Moral and Ethical Alignment matrix and you can read all about it here.
On the moral dimension there is Good vs. Evil described as follows: “Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit. “Good” implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others. People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships.”
On the ethical dimension there is Law vs. Chaos, described as: “Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it. “Law” implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. “Chaos” implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel.”
On these two dimensions I would describe myself as “Neutral Good” which means I am have a strong desire to be Good and willing to sacrifice for others. But I am neither Lawful nor Chaotic in the ethical dimension; I am willing to work with the powerful but I am not beholden to them. I have a healthy suspicion of authority and am willing to violate norms of behavior, particularly if I think it is in the service of being good.
Below you will find the description of the values I consider important in my business and and personal life. Although many people might share the same values and think it is immodest to say so explicitly, I do so here so as to empower you to call me out as a hypocrite if I do not act in accordance with my stated values.
Integrity – This encompasses much of what follows.
Honesty – I must be honest and forthright in all my dealings with others and myself.
Principles – I must think before I act. I must develop rules for my behavior and then follow those rules.
Creativity – I seek creative solutions to problems and respect creative solutions of others. I want to do the things that won’t get done unless I do them.
Forgiving nature – Since creativity often involves failure, I must be forgiving of failure in others and myself. However, misbehavior must not be tolerated.
Hard Work – In my professional life I dedicate myself to hard work and delivering value for money. However, now that I have retired as a professional I admit that it is important that I take things a little easier.
Intelligence – I must exhibit a high degree of intellect and common sense.
Realistic views and expectations – I strive to be better than I am. However, I must accept myself and my environment for what it is and not what I might imagine it to be. I believe in scientific methods in the pursuit of objective truth.
Competency and Responsibility – I must be capable and qualified to do what I intend, and take responsibility for both my successes and failures
An aversion to gambling and a willingness to take risks – Taking risks is both unavoidable and often rewarded. The gambler finds the excitement that comes with risk and the expectation of unrealistic outcomes to be sufficient reward for taking risks with negative expected values. I aspire to be a gambling averse risk taker.
Aspirations – I want to be successful but not greedy. I define success as progress toward a worthy goal or ideal.
An open mind – I must be open to new ideas and people. This is essential to innovation. I must be willing to be different from others.
Humility – I must be decisive while always admitting the possibility that I am wrong.
Respectfulness – I must be respectful and courteous in my dealings. I must act from the brain and from the heart.
I am far from perfect and I welcome the critic who will let me know what I am leaving out and where I can improve.
P. S. If you would like to collaborate on a project with me then please read this.