Strategic management–the proper execution of a well-constructed strategic plan–can serve as the prototype for Spirited Reasoner’s approach to living. And, since it is my belief that the process of spirited reasoning can benefit whole societies as well as individuals, the process of strategic management should be viewed as both a personal approach to one’s individual life and a guide for maximizing social happiness.
Here’s how the process works. We begin by determining our core values. In a previous blog, I accepted the ones listed in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution, but the point is to understand that we must build on a solid foundation. Even if you do not accept, as I do, the core values in these foundational documents, you will need to define and fully understand your own set of personal core values before beginning your personal strategic planning process. (And if our American society no longer accepts those core values, it will need to start over. My personal belief is that there is no need to start over and that our core values are just fine.)
For example, I have determined that my own core values include a sense of personal freedom, a healthy lifestyle, open-minded respect and tolerance for differing views (because I have found that my life has broadened and deepened in a positive way when I have allowed my values to evolve in ways I had not expected), opposition to bullies and tyrants, a love of nature, and a belief that all people deserve the basic necessities of survival and economic opportunity. I fully expect these values to continue to evolve over time.
Now, having determined my core values, my next step is to determine my overall mission or missions in life. You could call this your “grand goal” or your “calling.” My personal life mission has changed on several occasions during my life, but it is important that I know my most important goal at any point in life. Right now, I consider the spreading of the Spirited Reasoner approach to life to be my primary calling. I plan to devote some future blog time to the question of how best to determine this goal; but for now, it’s sufficient just to understand that, for the purpose of a happy life (or happy society), we need a calling.
Now that we have defined our primary goal, the strategic planning process requires that I break it into smaller pieces. For example, if my calling is to serve children as a kindergarten teacher, I will need to (a) get the proper education and training, (b) find a teaching job or other setting where I can serve small children, (c) find a place to live that is near enough to my job, so that I can carry out my work effectively, (d) etc. You get the point.
Having broken my large goal into smaller goals, I now break each smaller goal into achievable objectives, adding timelines, budgets, and other details as necessary. For example, getting a proper education and training will need to be broken into a set of objectives that will include getting admitted to college, taking and passing a series of courses, etc. The process of strategic management is merely the process of checking each of these objectives off my list in a timely and orderly fashion, so that, overall, my life is moving toward the fulfillment of my grand goal.
And so the life of the Spirited Reasoner–whether the reasoner be an individual, an organization, a nation, or a civilization–is nothing more than the exercise of strategic management: determining one’s passion(s) (that’s the Spirited part), then proceeding logically and methodically in a manner designed to fulfill that passion (hence the Reasoner.)