Rebirth of Reason

Sense of Life

Experiencing Objectivism through the Productivity Pyramid
by Luke Setzer

The article "Experiencing Objectivism through Franklin Covey" revealed the origins of Hyrum Smith's "tri-quation" in the work of Nathaniel Branden and ultimately in Objectivism. It contrasted the Objectivist ethics with the tri-quation. Stretching and straightening the tri-quation into a vertical format reveals its correlation with its sibling, the Franklin Quest Productivity Pyramid. This metaphor illustrates the Franklin Quest time management concepts namely, the principle that one must "dig deeply" within oneself to discover what matters most and then set and achieve goals based on those Governing Values.

Governing Values as Your Vision for Yourself

From the company's Forms Wizard worksheet on Governing Values:

Benjamin Franklin had a three-step method for planning, and it all began with discovering his values. He first determined what his values were, prioritized his values, and then clarified each. Oftentimes values and priorities are used synonymously because our values are the top priorities in our lives. But by ordering his values in sequence, Benjamin Franklin was able to decide which areas of his life needed the most focus at a particular time. Prioritizing didn't mean that he believed one value was more important that another, it simply gave him structure so that he could focus on the most compelling values first.

In order to determine what your governing values are, you must determine your highest priorities. Is your top priority spending time with your family? Then your governing value would simply be "family." Do you see consistently turning in quality work as a priority? Your value in this case might be "professionalism." If you view being on time to all your appointments as a priority, you obviously value "punctuality." Your values are your priorities, so determine your priorities and brainstorm what your corresponding governing values are. A list of sample governing values are shown below.

As you identify a value, you also need to clarify it. Your interpretation of a value may not be exactly the same as someone else's. To you integrity might mean "I never tell lies," but to someone else it might connate "I am honest and trustworthy in my personal and business dealings." By clarifying your values, they become more real to you. When you write your clarifying statements, be sure to use positive terms such as "I am," "I do," "I will."


Notice that the company encourages the use of "I" statements and positive, present tense verbs to articulate your own Governing Values. The sum total of your Governing Values constitutes your vision for your Authentic Self. Lindsay Perigo, Founder and Principal of SOLO, loves to quote Shakespeare's famous passage, "To thine own self be true." The Governing Values methodology allows you to identify your Authentic Self consciously and explicitly and provides planning and tracking tools to empower you to achieve that personal vision.

Governing Values as Manifestations of Self-Esteem

The Franklin Day Planner became the most popular day planner in the world through its strong appeal to self-actualization. Their fully integrated day planner interlocks Governing Values with traditional tools like an appointment calendar with a prioritized daily task list and a full blank page for recording notes, commitments, etc. These all come in a two-page-per-day format that made planning, tracking and executing a snap.

This proven method for conscious formation and effective execution of a personal vision has provided a powerful and life-changing experience for many thousands of Franklin Quest customers. Ayn Rand herself would likely argue that a person's Long-Range Goals, Intermediate Steps and Daily Tasks should reflect his own chosen Governing Values. Franklin Quest has positively changed many lives.

Governing Values as Drivers of Emotions

Ayn Rand noted that emotions result from rapid and automated responses to subconscious value judgments. To borrow from the statement of corporate philosophy of the Objectivism-influenced financial giant BB&T:

The Role of Emotions

Often people believe that making logical decisions means that we should be unemotional and that emotions are thereby unimportant. In fact, emotions are important. However, the real issue is how rational are our emotions. Emotions are mental habits which are often developed as children. Emotions give us automatic responses to people and events; these responses can either be very useful or destructive indicators. Emotions as such are not means of decision or of knowledge; the issue is: How were your emotions formed? The real question is: Are we happy when we should be happy and unhappy when we should be unhappy, or are we unhappy when we should be happy?

Emotions are learned behaviors. The goal is to "train up" our emotions so that our emotions objectively reinforce the best decisions and behaviors toward our long-term success and happiness. Just because someone is unemotional does not mean that they are logical.
A critical principle of great utility that Franklin Covey delivers its customers amounts to this statement: Properly identified, validated and actualized Governing Values lead to emotional harmony and inner peace.

Governing Values as Subject to Test and Revision over Time

To be valid, a Governing Value must ultimately offer a long range life affirming benefit to its practitioner. As ethical propositions, Governing Values constitute a subset of a person's total set of beliefs, i.e. his philosophy. The discipline of philosophy studies existence and man's relationship to existence. Tests of the truth or falsehood of given belief or principle within a philosophy have remained the subject of debate for millennia. Fortunately, Franklin Quest developed a layman's version of such philosophical discourse that employs a diagram called the Reality Model. Nearly anyone of reasonable intelligence can grasp this model and quickly use it to examine, test and revise his own beliefs for his own benefit. A forthcoming article will provide a summary of its power.
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