Chapter 2. Personal Foresight - Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Our Life Priorities: The HRVWE Success Codes


Our Five Life Priorities – HRVWE

What should be the top priorities of our lives, regardless of our particular life purpose? We now offer a provisional set of life priorities that will help you to become a better self-leader. These six topics are each simple models for what should be most important in our lives. The categories in these six models can memorized as acronyms and codes, hence we call them “success codes” in this Guide. Like all models, these life and self-leadership success codes are provisional and incomplete. But having formal models about what is important to a good life is itself a foundational success strategy. It’s only by forming specific models, and subjecting them to critique, that we improve our strategic foresight.

All of these code sets except two, the Eight Skills and the Ten Values, use just five or less categories. Because we have five fingers, and five is an easy number of things to memorize, five is a good set of factors for a priorities model that you can easily use and stick to in your life. The factors in each of these codes are themselves listed in a rough order of priority, ranked by the typical time and energy that you might expect to spend managing each.

As you review these codes, ask yourself if we’ve left any out, or if you would change their priority order for yourself. You’ve got ten fingers, so feel free to add more, but try to limit yourself in your first models to just your five most important priorities. It is a good exercise to find out for yourself what those five factors might be, and how you would order them in terms of the work needed on each.

The first success code is HRVWE, a model for the five most important priorities we all seem to have in life. Like all our codes, HRVWE can be mapped to each of your five fingers. Here then are the priorities, as I see them:

  1. Health. Our thumb. The first priority of our lives is to get and stay healthy. Without a minimum of health, nothing else happens.
  2. Relationships. Our index finger. We seek meaningful and productive relationships (and self-relationships) make a happy and successful life.
  3. Vision. Our middle finger. Vision is our code word for foresight, in all domains. We can build it, share it, and improve it every day.
  4. Work. Our ring finger. After gaining good health, good relationships, and good foresight, we are here to do good work in the world.
  5. Environment. Our little finger. We strive to manage and improve our environment, both mental and physical, in service to our other priorities.

You can mentally review these priorities on any regular frequency (daily, weekly, biweekly) simply by counting your thumb and fingers. As you count off each, ask yourself whether or not you’ve been addressing that priority adequately since the last time you reviewed. If not, resolve to do something to fix that oversight. Using these codes to better lead your own life starts with this simple habit.

On the following pages, each of these five priorities in turn, is subdivided into five subcategories, offering five more sets of success codes. The five priorities and their subcategories thus offer roughly forty success concepts that I consider enough to memorize and review on a regular basis. To be precise, the full set of success codes offered in this Guide come to thirty-eight categories, summarized below.

You very likely have a different set of ideas and models for success in some of the topics we will now discuss. That’s great, please use whatever works for you. These models are offered for those who haven’t yet made any in these areas, to spur you toward developing your own success codes. Hopefully at least some of what follows can be useful in your own efforts. Be sure to reflect carefully on whatever models you develop, and to share them with a cognitively diverse group, inviting discussion and critique. You’ll find that any versions of the codes, ours or your own, is quite easy to memorize. I look forward to your feedback on how these success codes can be improved for future Guides.

Here then is the full set of success codes. They are listed below as single sentences, so you can print them out and put them on your wall, along with whatever other success sayings (“mantras”) you like to regularly review. We’ve just discussed HRVWE. We’ll now discuss each of the remaining code sets in turn in the next five sections.

HRVWE: Health, Relationships, Vision, Work, Environment (5 Life Priorities)

H-WFMLS: Wake/Sleep, Fast/Eat, Move/Rest, Learn/Reflect, Socialize/Withdraw (5 Habits)

R-GRMVP: Gratitude, Responsibility, Mastery, Virtue, Purpose (5 Attributes)

V-Five Goals and Ten Values: 

V-I4S: Innovation, Intelligence, Interdependence, Immunity, Sustainability (5 Goals)

VEIDFCEPSOT: Empathy, InsightDiversity, Freedom, Creativity and Ethics, Power, Security, Order, Truth (10 Values)

W– Do Loop Skills:

W-LAISEIRR: Learn, Anticipate, Innovate, Strategize, Execute, Influence, Relate, Review (8 Skills)

E-SOFSC: Selected, Organized, Functional, Simple, Clean (5 Priorities of our Mental and Physical Environment)

I would recommend memorizing and using these one at a time, beginning with health and working down to environment. Feel free to change the words and orders of these codes as well, based on your own experience. Customize these codes to your own life! But don’t ignore them without first giving them a try. As you’ll discover, using codes that are meaningful to you will help you remember what matters most, and stay prioritized and effective throughout your life.

Here’s a memorization tip: If you’d like to memorize the Eight Skills and Ten Values for regular mental use, simply use the fingers of both hands for the Eight Skills, and the fingers and thumbs of both hands for the Ten Values. This mental trick will allow you to regularly review all eight skills and ten values on a regular basis, and ask yourself if you are using them appropriately, simply by looking at adjacent locations on each of your hands. After a little practice, as you move your eyes to the eight and ten locations in front of you, you will mentally see each of the skills and values, and can think about how you are presently using them, and whether you might do better. It’s as easy as that.