My values

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, what are my values, my pillars. The foundations that define me. To me, being aligned and true to these values defines integrity. Our integrity is attacked every day, and it’s good to put words on the values that help us keeping looking and going in the right direction, answer doubts, and being proud of ourselves until the end.

I think that I have now come to a stable combination. I have chosen to retain three, because it speaks more to me visually. They’re quite broad, in purpose, to let some flexibility. Here they are: quality, people and fun.

Quality. This is what drives me. When I did grapes harvesting in the Beaujolais, while still a student, I could suppress the pain in my back, my legs and my arms by thinking about the quality of the wine I was contributing to, and most importantly, the quality of the people I was working for, whom I now consider as family. That’s still true at work today. Building a product of the highest quality for our users is an inexhaustible source of motivation and enthusiasm. The quality of the code I produce is indeed very important, as are the tools I use. The quality of my colleagues, professional yet friendly, smarter than I am, and always here when I need them. On the personal side, I don’t see quality of life as being wealthy, in a house fully furnished with expensive stuff; I’m not that material. It’s more the freedom - not to say the luxury - to be able to sustain myself, to educate myself every day, to have access to culture and to be able to travel, amongst many.

People. Friends and family to start with indeed. Colleagues. The regular customers at the bar down the street. People I’ll never see again. Strangers smiling for an unknown reason. I’m more interested in what’s in the mind and the heart of people: what they want to achieve, what is their passion, what they did in the past, what they learnt from it, what they want to do next, etc. Maybe that’s what makes me more a listener than a talker. I don’t know how to explain it precisely, but I have to say that despite the appearances, I like people. They bring me energy, imagination, happiness, questions, memories, experience, hope. Quality brings me the direction, people give me the energy to go towards it.

Fun. The essential spark. But watch out: fun, not necessarily funny. With a bit of training, you can find fun everywhere. I’ve been quite stupid at times in the past, just for the fun of it. To me, fun is not the cherry on the cake, it’s the whole damn cake. It stands by itself; like mathematics, it doesn’t need justification. Life without fun is like a meal without cheese (and consequently a kiss without a moustache). What will keep me sharp at seventy? Why do I like to code in my spare time? Why am I excited when I talk about science? Why do I smile while reading Bouvard et P├ęcuchet? Why do I like to solve complex problems? Why do I like to dance with the aunts at weddings? Why do I put images on all my Trello cards? Why do I make my own bread and pasta? Why did I decide to learn Italian? Why do I like to have an apartment almost empty? Why did I switch to Spacemacs? Because it’s fun.

Combining these three values, two or three at a time, make the nuances literally explode. It took me some time to come down to this list; but it was worth the time and the effort. I now know myself better. I can put words on what I stand for. Now I have to keep being true to these values, and strenghten myself around them; the future looks promising. And fun!

And you, what are your values?