The Answer To How is Yes: Acting On What Matters

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This book is an excellent tool for reflection and contemplation. In this vein, the book attempts to achieve the following:

1) Prompt a discussion on personal values.
2) Force the reader to think about how often he or she makes choices based on what is convenient rather than what is worthwhile.
3) Highlight the manner in which the tools of commerce become the tools used in non-commercial settings to the detriment of personal relationships and endeavors that support the common goals of society and humanity.
4) Move readers past the point of cynicism to reconcile their professional values, interpersonal relationships and personal values.

As I thought about the book’s central objective, to make readers reflect, I took note of several quotes that made for interesting discussion about one’s personal philosophies. Below are my take-aways:
We live in a culture that lavishes all of its rewards on what works, a culture that seems to value what works more than what matters…We exchange what we know how to do or what means most to us.

  Acting on what matters is, ultimately, a political stance, one whereby we declare we are accountable for the world around us and are willing to pursue what we define as important, independent of whether it is in demand or has market value.

●  “What’s in it for me?” declares that for me to care about something larger, there must be a payoff. My commitment is up for barter. If my commitment is conditional on your response, or on your delivery of a promise, then it never really was a commitment. It was a deal/

  …Speed is indifferent to its destination.

  Culture does not really determine our actions or even explain why we do what we do. We are responsible for this. The culture is more like a presence in the shadows, ready to step in when we are not paying attention.

  It is the fact that we are free that creates unsolvable problems. The desire to see all problems as solvable is an assault on freedom. It is a belief that evil can be eradicated and that by doing so we create the false possibility that we can return to Paradise. Thus, we underestimate the power of evil and ignore the redemptive nature of the struggle.

  When cost and time become the very first questions, instead of just important ones, they create a culture of constraint, one in which the future is much like the past, only more efficient. Instead of creating a future, the economist, along with the engineer, focuses on predicting and controlling it.


Finally, below are questions that I could not definitively reconcile by the time I finished reading the book:
-Does failure ever happen without negative consequences?

-Should there be separate spaces for that those things that you are paid to do versus those things that you’re passionate about? Does being paid for your passion negatively impact your values?

-How do you experience and undergo constant personal development and transformation without becoming a narcissist?

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