By Sharna Goldseker
April 22, 2019
A friend of mine sent me this article and told me I had to read it. She said something to the effect of, ‘it’s about decision making and it’s fascinating given all the decisions we’re making all the time.’
I looked it up, ready for “decision science” and “weighted averages.” To my surprise, while the article began that way, it slowly evolved into one with themes I recognized and one that hit home in particular.
The author talked about decisions being about choices we make, ideally to maximize the values we say we hold dear. Something that 21/64 espouses, believing that people are more fulfilled and their giving /investing/etc. has more impact when decisions are made in alignment with their values.
The ah ha the article offered me -maybe we have to be in the right place to hear an old message in a new way- is when the author began talking about making “transformational” decisions.
“As Agens Callard, philosopher at the University of Chicago writes, ‘we aspire to self-transformation by trying on the values that we hope one day to possess, just as we might strike a pose in the mirror before heading out on a date…. In place of a moment of decision, Callard sees a more gradual process: ‘Old Person aspires to become New Person.’”
I know about prioritizing values. I encourage people every day to sort their decks of Motivation Values Cards not only to notice what values are on top at any given time, but also to notice their own voice in their head telling them what values they wish were on top. (Note: not the voices of others telling them what they should value, but what they aspire to become). And, I encourage people to make a giving/ investing/action plan in alignment with their values.
The gem of awareness for me while reading this article was the reminder that we don’t have to be there yet. We don’t even have to be assured we’ll get to where we are aspiring to go. We can put a different Motivational Values card at the top of our decks or choose a Picture Your Legacy card and say, I’m aspiring to become x.
This spring I am definitely going to be, as Callard describes, the “Old Person aspire[ing] to become New Person” as I’m taking a sabbatical. Or as I prefer to say, the 21/64 board and team are generously allowing me to take a sabbatical.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family after seventeen years of research, development and practice at 21/64. And, I’m excited to be traveling in Asia during the sabbatical to expand our horizons.
I don’t yet feel like the type of person who takes a sabbatical, pulls her kids out of school and goes to Asia. I hesitate even to write that down, not wanting to be too presumptuous or sound too grand, but I notice there is some aspiration in the going.
I recognize that I aspire to a new state of being. One that’s not caught in the treadmill of school drop off, work, school pick up, dinner, bath, work, bed, repeat. I am looking forward to the space my mind has when it’s not as full of tasks to complete each day. I’m eagerly anticipating the conversations that will emerge while wandering through centuries-old streets in another country with my kids. And, I can’t wait to consider innovative ways of seeing the world while I’m on the other side of it.
While it’s hard to fathom I made this decision to go, the article helps me articulate…: “The truth, which is harder to communicate, is that you have some vague sense of its value, which you hope that some future version of yourself might properly grasp.”
I leave tomorrow, so forgive me if I don’t connect with you individually before I leave. Danielle will serve as Executive Director while I’m away, and our more than capable team will carry on as usual. I look forward to sharing more about my journey of being an “Old Person aspire[ing]to become a New Person” when I return and I look forward to hearing your stories of becoming when I return after Labor Day.