Chapter 4. Personal Foresight - Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Our Life Purposes – The HRVWE Success Codes

What is the purpose of our lives? We explored that deep and excellent question in Chapters 2 and 3. If the speculations there are correct, we’re here to do our small part to help the universe continue to evolve and develop, and to further the Eight Values in a world of continuous exponential change, a world where the best parts of ourselves, the insights and algorithms that our brains and bodies use, are increasingly escaping our biology and moving into our much faster, more efficient, dense, capable and immortal technologies. Applying those insights to our personal lives is of course another challenge.


Our Five Life Purposes – HRVWE

To that end, we now offer a provisional set of purposes, habits, attributes, goals, skills, and priorities that will help you to become a better self-leader. These six topics are each simple models for what should be most important in our lives. The categories in these six models can memorized as acronyms and codes, hence we call them “success codes” in this Guide. Like all models, these life and self-leadership success codes are provisional and incomplete. But having formal models about what is important to a good life is itself a foundational success strategy. It’s only by forming specific models, and subjecting them to critique, that we improve our strategic foresight.

All of these code sets except two (the Eight Values and the Eight Skills) use just five or less categories. Because we have five fingers, and five is an easy number of things to memorize, five is a good set of factors for a model you’ll actually use in your life. The factors in each of these codes are also listed in a very rough order of priority, ranked by the typical time and energy that you might expect to spend managing each.

As you review these codes, ask yourself if we’ve left any out, or if you would change their priority order for yourself. You’ve got ten fingers, so feel free to add more, but try to limit yourself in your first models to just your five most important purposes. It is a good exercise to find out for yourself what those five factors might be, and how you would order them in terms of the work needed on each.

The first success code is HRVWE, a model for the five most important purposes we all seem to have in life. Like all our codes, HRVWE can be mapped to each of your five fingers. Here then are the purposes, in a rough order of priority as I see them:

  1. Health. Our thumb. The first purpose of our lives is to get and stay healthy. Without a minimum of health, nothing else happens.
  2. Relationships. Our index finger. We seek meaningful and productive relationships (and self-relationships) make a happy and successful life.
  3. Vision. Our middle finger. Vision is our code word for foresight, in all domains. We can build it, share it, and improve it every day.
  4. Work. Our ring finger. After gaining good health, good relationships, and good foresight, we are here to do good work in the world.
  5. Environment. Our little finger. We strive to manage and improve our environment, both mental and physical, in service to our other purposes.

You can mentally review these purposes on any regular frequency (daily, weekly, biweekly) simply by counting your thumb and fingers. As you count off each, ask yourself whether or not you’ve been addressing that purpose adequately since the last time you reviewed. If not, resolve to do something to fix that oversight. Using these codes to better lead your own life starts with this simple habit.

On the following pages, each of these five purposes in turn, is subdivided into five subcategories, offering five more sets of success codes. The five purposes and their subcategories thus offer roughly thirty success concepts that I consider enough to memorize and review on a regular basis. We say roughly thirty, because one of our life purposes, Work, can be modeled as four steps of the Do Loop (Learn, See, Do, and Review skill sets), or as Eight Skills, depending on which level of detail you prefer. Another life purpose, Vision, or pursuing progress, can be modeled as either the Five E’s, or as the Eight Values, as you prefer. Thus the full set of success codes offered in this Guide come to either twenty-nine or thirty-six categories, depending on which set of codes you find most helpful in your daily life.

You very likely have a different set of ideas and models for success in some of the topics we will now discuss. That’s great, please use whatever works for you. These models are offered for those who haven’t yet made any in these areas, to spur you toward developing your own success codes. Hopefully at least some of what follows can be useful in your own efforts. Be sure to reflect carefully on whatever models you develop, and to share them with a cognitively diverse group, inviting discussion and critique. You’ll find that any versions of the codes, ours or your own, is quite easy to memorize. I look forward to your feedback on how these success codes can be improved for future Guides.

Here then is the full set of success codes. They are listed below as single sentences, so you can print them out and put them on your wall, along with whatever other success sayings (“mantras”) you like to regularly review. We’ve just discussed HRVWE. We’ll now discuss each of the remaining code sets in turn in the next five sections.

HRVWE: Health, Relationships, Vision, Work, Environment (5 Life Purposes)

H-WFMLS: Wake/Sleep, Fast/Eat, Move/Rest, Learn/Reflect, Socialize/Withdraw (5 Habits)

R-GRMVP: Gratitude, Responsibility, Mastery, Virtue, Purpose (5 Attributes)

V-Five E’s: Empowerment, Empathy, Equity, Entertainment, Evidence-Seeking (5 Goals)

or: VIDCFPMST: Intelligence, Diversity, Creativity, Freedom, Power, Morality, Security, Truth (8 Values)

W-LSDR: Learn, See, Do, Review (4 Steps)

or: W-LAISEIRR: Learn, Anticipate, Innovate, Strategize, Execute, Influence, Relate, Review (8 Skills)

E-SOFSC: Selected, Organized, Functional, Simple, Clean (5 Priorities of our Mental and Physical Environment)

I would recommend starting with the shorter set of 29 HRVWE codes above, and expanding to the longer sets (the 8 Values and Skills) only after you’ve been using the short ones effectively for a while. Feel free to change the words and orders of these codes as well, based on your own experience. Customize these codes to your own life! But don’t ignore them without first giving them a try. As you’ll discover, using codes that are meaningful to you will help you remember what matters most, and stay prioritized and effective throughout your life.

Here’s a memorization tip: If you’d like to memorize the Eight Values and the Eight Skills, simply use your whole hand. You can use your left hand for Values , and your right for Skills. Assign the first four values or skills to your palmwristback of the hand, and thumb, and the second four to each of your four fingers, ending with your little finger. This mental trick will allow you to regularly review all eight skills or values on a regular basis, and ask yourself if you are using them appropriately, simply by looking at adjacent locations on each of your hands, starting with your palms. After a little practice, as you move your eyes to the eight locations on each hand, you will mentally see each of the eight values and skills. It’s as easy as that.