I like to read your stuff. Helps me think. The number one reason why I read Medium.com.

I have a little different take that I have written about on Medium.com and have lived by for the past 30 years.

I had a health and career scare in 1993 caused by an unethical decision by my business partners. It caused me to quit this small NY-based company and become an entrepreneur in SF.

At the time, I was reading a lot of self-help books. Stephen R. Covey and his business partner Hyrum Smith had the most effect on me. I later me with Smith at his Utah ranch, three weeks before he died.

They both were teaching and writing about the following at that time. They both believed that each of us has core values and have had them from birth. They also believed that values are not added later in life after childhood.

As background, I have identified 360 values. Money is not a value. But freedom, security and family are. Money can make a different with all three of those values.

I was able to quit a company that didn't honor my integrity value even though I was paid handsomely, traveled first class, had drivers everywhere and ate and stayed in the best hotels. However, the lack of integrity of my partners caused me to have nighttime panic attacks a few times every week. Neither I nor my wife could live with that.

So I decided to follow the teaching of Covey and Smith. They stated that everyone had a few core values (about 10-20 out of the 360). These are internal and are discovered, not picked. They indicated that if someone discovered their core values, wrote definitions of each of them, prioritized them and then lived consistently with them, that person would find fulfillment and peace of mind. Smith told me personally that if that person also developed a few other skills, he or she could also find financial independence.

For whatever reason, at this crisis point in my life, I believed them and decided to follow their teaching strictly and see if it worked. I found my eleven core values and made every decision and action consistent with one of more core values from then on. I said "no' to everything else.

What happened? My life became significantly simplified, I spent many fewer hours working and I retired eleven years later with fulfillment, peace of mind and financial independence. that was eighteen years ago. During these "retirement" years, I was able for the first time to do ONLY the things that I loved without any motivation to make money or work with folks that I didn't like.

I began teaching (free) Core Values at a local college to adults. I found over the last ten years of teaching that everyone that I taught had 10-20 core values.

I also began blogging on Medium.com a few years ago. Almost everything I wrote tied into core values. Evidently I'm a "one-trick pony". I wrote a book that was just published in January: https://geni.us/AFoolsErrand.

I was not motivated by money nor am I trying to get speaking engagements or build a business. I just wanted to get the idea out there. In fact, I serialized almost all of the book on Medium.com. Those blogs can be found here: https://medium.com/the-innovation/your-core-values/home.

I did not include Chapter 2, which shows how to discover and use your internal core values. I'm not a fool.

So I know this works. It worked for Covey, Smith and me. It also worked with the hundreds of people that have taken my class. I recorded the class a few weekly ago so that it can continue to be taught at this Northern California university without me.

Now maybe we were all lucky. I remember thinking to myself "maybe this won't work for me even though it did work for others". I had nothing to lose. And it is so simple.

Plus I do not like most of the self-help teaching that is out there. It is either goal-focused or life hacks. Values precede goals. Values are who you are. Goals must follow values.

We are all different, very different. Goals that work for our heroes, friends and mentors may not work for you. That's the problem with almost all of the systems taught today: they do not teach anyone how to pick the goals that are best for them. No one can do that since we are all different.

Each of us must start with values. Then we ONLY pick goals that are consistent with or honor those values. Isn't that obvious? Well. it seemed right to me 30 years ago.

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Philanthropist, Author — published new book on core values: A FOOL’S ERRAND - Why Your Goals Are Falling Short and What You Can About It