Or: Do yourself a favour: bust your cached values and rebuild them from source.

On this thread: Why do we work so hard?, nostrademons comments: (emphasis mine)

Nah, it’s that folks who get their values from other folks are the only ones who bother to tell other folks how well they’re doing at achieving their externally-gifted values. If your goal is to make a lot of money but you decided that was just your goal, why bother to tell anyone you’ve achieved it? (Indeed, it can be very counterproductive to tell other people.) If your goal is to be a good husband & father, then what does it matter what anyone besides your wife & kids think of you?

As a result, external discourse is filled with people crowing about how well they achieved this or that milestone, all of which is desirable only because other people think it’s desirable. But then, the only people who care are the ones looking to others for their values.

There are plenty of people whose values are plenty clear, arrived at through some deep reflection about what they personally want. But then, since it’s what they personally want, why would anyone else care?

This ties back to guilt motivation and self respect. Let me explain:

If you motivate yourself with guilt (eg: I should really do more exercise, I feel bad because I work long hours…), you create the following situation:

  • You give orders to yourself, as if the person giving the orders was someone else
  • You have no respect for that other person

The cure to that is to avoid the situation entirely, and ask what is it that you want to achieve in the first place.

The basic idea is define things not externally (by copying and caching from others), but internally (through first principles and reflection).

By internalising your motivations and desires, you are now able to evaluate them, weight trade-offs, and act accordingly.

By owning your values, you can understand why they are there. And if something changes down the value chain, you can update accordingly. And as a side effect, you will be doing what you think is best with your life. Not what some advertiser, boss or relative think is best. Technically they could, they’ll just have to convince you first.