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North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › On choosing purpose

On choosing purpose

Norman, OK
Post #: 9
What is a rational method for choosing a primary purpose or goal? Quoting from OPAR (page 336 paperback edition), “Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” What method does one use to choose such values assuming the basic needs of ones survival have already been achieved?
Put another way, (from page 219), “The Objectivist standard of morality is not a momentary or merely physical survival; it is the long-range survival of man – mind and body.” Once “body” is taken care of, by what method does one choose the values to pursue to address “the long-range survival” of the mind? Let’s say several reasonable goals cannot be pursued simultaneously due to time constraints. If one wishes, for example, to become a doctor, an airline pilot and a concert pianist, what rational method does one use to choose just one? It seems the decision would not be based on the pursuit of happiness since happiness presupposes that the “value” or goal has already been chosen.
Would appreciate any thoughts.

A former member
Post #: 171

That is a very good post you made. " What is a rational method for choosing a primary purpose or goal? "
Mostly the system I use is found in two books. The reason I chose my goal was so I could do anything I wanted anytime I wanted. IE my goal was freedom. I thought if I make enough money, I can do almost anything I want within the law. IE Money=Freedom Therefore where can I best be free while making money? Well after much looking I found selling insurance & investments. It's a very demanding job, yet a very freedom based job. I FOUND A WAY I COULD MAKE GREAT SUMS OF MONEY & BE KINDA FREE AT THE SAME TIME. No one ever told me what to do, well almost no one. I went to work for Mass Mutual ( MASS MUTUAL IS A WONDERFUL COMPANY, IF YOU HAVE MONEY INVESTED WITH THEM OR INSURANCE WITH THEM KEEP IT THAT WAY )here in TX. They told me what to do. I told them NO WAY. I'LL DO AS I CHOOSE!! I AM FREE. Now I own my own company. I DO AS I CHOOSE!!!!!

The two books I told you about above.
( NOT RAND APPROVED ) Yet they have worked for me. The 1st one is, " How I raised my self from a failure to a sucess in selling life insurance" BY: Frank Bettger. This book uses 13 Principles all stated by Ben Franklin. It is a wonderful book. It takes 13 weeks to work through the program. Then you start all over with the program. It is a never ending program. My gola is like the goal of Frank Bettger, to be a good salesman. Yet This book would be good for anyone wantine sucess in any part of thier life. GO GET THE BOOK IT WILL HELP YOU!!!! DO THE 13 WEEK PROGRAM. The book was written in like 1935. YET IT STILL WORKS

Book 2

" The success system that never fails " By: W Celmit Stone. This guy is funny. Yet man he could sell!!!!! He started a very small insurance company, & truned it into a very larg one. Like Frank Bettger, he had hands on. Not just some guys that wright books. This book like the one above, is not just about selling. It is about being a sucess. It also is a book based on principles. Like,
DO IT NOW!!!! When you think of something that needs doing, do not waite. DO IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like the principle of PMA and other such things. This book is out of print however. Yet it can be found.

I read 3 books every year of my life, It's Atlas, Frank Bettger, & W Celmit Stone All 3 have helped me in my life so much. I still work the 13 week program every week with out fail. I stll use the DO IT NOW,
principle every day. As with other of Stones principle's. I do know why people act, they ack in their own self intrest. Rand I am so glad that 2 men came into my life. Robert " Gene " Rotenizer, CPA,CLU, CFP He gave me what I needed to make it in this biz. He also gave me the 2 books, Stone & Bettger.
& Robert Borne who sold me " Captilisam the Unknown Ideal " By: Ayn Rand. Thats how I meet Ayn Rand. I'll never forget when He said, " Jamie you'll love this one man " Those 2 men helped me, by giving me the tools to help myself. For that I am forever greatful.

A former member
Post #: 36

If there are several possible career options that you are choosing from, and they are all reasonable and honest professions, then I think you can simply choose based on your feelings. In otherwords, which one do you feel would satisfy you the most? Note that I made the caveat of saying that they are all "reasonable and honest professions". That rules out blatantly irrational jobs like being a professional hit man or prostitute, but, assuming none of these are in your list of possible careers, I don't think it is inconsistent with the tenents of Ayn Rand's philosophy to choose based on your feelings. The analogy I would use here is when you are at the ice cream shop. You can choose what flavor you want based entirely on your feelings, so long as you have already used reason to decide that you should eat food and not poison.

(Note that I can't give you a specific page quote from Rand for why I think this approach is consistent with her philosophy, but it is simply the general impression I get from years of reading and thinking about her ideas.)
A former member
Post #: 172

You guys may be over thinking this. PICK SOMETHING YOU LIKE!!!! PICK SOMETHING THAT FITS YOU & YOUR TALENTS. Make sure no
one ever out works you. They may be smarter than you are. Nothing you can do about that. They may have more abilty than you do. Nothing you can do about that. They may have more expierance than you do. Nothing you can do about that. YET YOU CAN OUT WORK THEM EVERY DAY. THERE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THAT.
Yet do you have what it takes?

This is the advice that was given to me by my Daddy before I started my 1st rel job.

If you are working for someone else: Then work atleast 10 hours per day minimum & 5 days per week minimum. Work on Sat, paid or not if they will let you. I have worked many days for free. Be the 1st one there the last to leave always. If you have to ask for a key to the place do it. Never miss a day unless you have to. Always work holidays, paid or unpaid. If you get paid no overtime. Never mind, work anyway. You'll run the place in 2 years, if you do this. This advice works. I know, I have used it for a long time.

Wroking for yourself. Work a minimum of 12 hours per day 6 days per week. If you have no work to do. Study your job. I DREAM ABOUT MY JOB. I work in my sleep.

Being a sucess is really simple. Most just do not want to be a sucess that bad.

Chad in what ever it is that you choose as your work. I hope you find happiness and much success in what ever endeavor you choose.

Plano, TX
Post #: 14
I have to agree with Dean on this one.
Pick one that you are good at and enjoy. The rest takes care of itself.
(I am a recruiter by trade, and found that the happiest candidates are the ones that went with a career that made them happy and give them enough monetarily to take care of their needs, etc.)
A former member
Post #: 180

I fully agree with Sherry on this point. Anything you enjoy, I belive you will do better than something you do not enjoy. Most of us seem to enjoy things we are also good at.!!!!!!That may seem to simple, yet it is true.

Old T.
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 134
What is a rational method for choosing a primary purpose or goal? Quoting from OPAR (page 336 paperback edition), “Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” ... It seems the decision would not be based on the pursuit of happiness since happiness presupposes that the “value” or goal has already been chosen.

Hi Chad,

I think there might be a misunderstanding of the quoted statement in OPAR, in two separate ways.

First, if "the achievement of one's values" is necessarily in the past tense, then it could logically lead to your interpretation that "happiness presupposes that the 'value' or goal has already been chosen." But I think the word "achievement," as used in the quoted sentence from OPAR, might have been in the senses that include not just "a result gained by effort" but also "the act of achieving." For example, I think people enjoy not just the end achievement of a particular value, such as a meal, but very often also the process (i.e., work) directed to achieving that value, such as cooking. In many cases the process of achieving a final product is enjoyed to the point that both are raised to an art form, again using the example of cooking a meal. I short, I think "the achievement" could include the process of making the achievement.

Second, I think you might be interpreting the part a about "one's values" out of context. My understanding is that all rational values are directed to and informed by the ultimate value of achieving and maintaining one's own life (and extensions of one's life, such as children). Therefore, does the achievement of "one's values," necessarily require any particular selection of those values, provided any of the particular values would be consistent with and directed to the ultimate value of achieving and maintaining one's life? Would this be an explanation for why choosing based on "feelings" or "what you enjoy doing,” within the limits of working toward achievement of one’s ultimate value, make sense to us?

What do you think?

-- Todd

One more belated thought -- "the achievement of one's values" may even include the process of selecting particular values and goals. For example, when my children do well, even though they are just starting out in elementary school, we consider that a success of which they can be proud and from which they can derive some happiness.
A former member
Post #: 184

Thank you for bringing that up. You indeed may be right. I may have misunderstood the point at hand. Therefore, can we see a fuller
copy of the text, sometimes it helps make everything more clear. Yet Todd as it stands, I fully see what you are saying, & also why you are saying it. Thanks for pointing that out.

Norman, OK
Post #: 10
I appreciate everyone’s responses. This topic can be an important issue. I do agree one thing that is often overlooked is the journey to a long term goal itself as being satisfying. I get almost as much out of knowing I’m “on the right track” as I do accomplishing the goal. To me this seems logical because the intermediate step to any goal is to be following the right path and knowing to the best of your ability you are doing so. This in itself is a goal achieved. I think this speaks to happiness as our natural state of being if we understand this point.

I have come to believe through both observation and my own experiences that anyone with a modicum of intelligence and adequate perseverance can achieve anything he puts his mind to (within the realm of reality, of course). However, when choosing a central purpose or long term goal, it may be necessary to choose a very different multi-year path depending on what goal is chosen. I believe my concern was with how to choose that goal if each avenue appears at the outset to be equal in the satisfaction of furthering one’s life and happiness. My concern about using ones feelings as a guide was that although within this context it may be justified, would I be overlooking a more rational and possibly less capricious way of approaching the problem?

Just getting the thoughts out into black and white and getting feedback has been helpful as I move forward. Additionally, I am beginning to view this in a slightly different way. Although there may be several equally justifiable long term goals and paths, can they be placed in a hierarchical order? In other words, are they all truly equal in their potential role as satisfying a central purpose? And if so, would one facilitate another? And while this may make a multi year path into a multi-multi-year path, wouldn’t that be alright so long as everything is kept in proper context? As I’m writing this, I’ve just thought of a real world example. In my original post, I mentioned someone wanting to be a doctor, airline pilot and concert pianist (incidentally, these were used for example and are not the paths I’m choosing from). The actor John Travolta is successful in his trade but has also always had a hobby of flying airplanes. He continued this hobby through all the different licenses required to fly larger and more powerful aircraft. I have seen a report that he now on occasion works as an airline pilot for Qantas Airways. Not being familiar with his story, I don’t know his reasons for pursuing one career over the other but it’s worth noting that his success in acting has given him the ability to not only become an airline pilot but be able to easily afford his own 747 if he so chooses.

I would like to hear additional comments from those who have already posted or any thoughts others have, especially on how they chose their life’s work.


A former member
Post #: 186

" I have come to believe through both observation and my own experiences that anyone with a modicum of intelligence and adequate perseverance can achieve anything he puts his mind to... "

That my friend is beyond true. Well this is a long story.

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Lived a boy that hated farm work with a passion, ( WHAT A FOOLISH YOUNG MAN ) He even said, when " I grow up I will be a stock broker. " My how many of the farmers laughed, all but one that is. He told the young day dreaming boy, well if you will work hard enough, if thats what you want to be, you can do it. As time passed by & he got older, his dream faded away, as childhood dreams often do. After his schooling was over at last & he moved back to the farm. He went to work in a sock factory. The sock factory was a wicked place with very stupid evil people. He longed for the day when he could escape this evil mindless place.

One day, even with very little money & no debt. He went to work building homes. He loved the freedom of this job, he also felt very good about the work he was doing. He felt a sense of real pride with every log home he helped build. it was a wonderul job with some smarter people than he had worked with before. They just mostly loved smoking pot & drinking liquor. Yet he loved his job nonetheless.
He also learned very much at this job. Even if his father was a carpenter & taught him very much. This job he learned so much more.
Yet as many do he yearned for so much more. What was he to do?

Well something must be done, what do do thought the young man, I know he thought. I will do what I have always wanted to do & I can do it also. He went by himself & got his life insurance license. Because he knew he would need them to sell varible annuities. In no way did he want to sell life insurance. He also thought that would help him get a job at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, or other large brokerage firm. Yet even with an econ degree, he could not get in. They would not give him a chance. That was all he wanted was just one chance. He could not even set for his Series 7 unless he had a sponsor. That is SEC & NASD law. He was an ex farmer, carpenter & sock factory worker. No one was willing to give him a chance. He went all over Raliegh & Charolette North Carolina & still no luck. His own stock brokerage firm where he broght stock would not give him a chance. It was In Winston- Salem North Carolina. Why he even drove to Atlanta Georgia. Still no luck.

With much despair & no job. ( He quit his job so he could get a job )He started in his own home town cold calling. That is where he should have started to begin with. He then made the call that was to forever change his life. He walked in to see Robert Gene Rotenizer, CPA, CLU, CFP. ( This was a man that started with Prudential Life Insurance Comapny in 1952, he also worked his way all the way up to Regonal Vice Prez. That is hard to do. Not bad for a red neck hillbilly from the hills of VA ) He ask him for just 1 chance, & thats all that was needed. ( I was later told by Gene himself that he only gave me a chance because he knew I really wanted a job real bad, even if he had no job to offer, he also said that he did not hire anyone any more. As he did not have time to train them. ) How lucky he was to get this chance from such a real true professional. He did not teach me how to sell stocks, bonds, or life insurance. He taught him how to sell process as opposed to products. I learned to sell ideas. To use the right products to meet the person & the idea that they needed in their life. I am very lucky I got this chance that I was given. I in the end earned that chance. Gene & I are still to this day, he is the best of friends. Other than my Grand Pa & my Daddy, he means more to me than any man that walks the earth. He is an Atlas to me & forever will be.

Today I have three guys working for me doing the same thing. I run the show now. It is now me giving the chances. My moto now is you give me a guy that will work, that is not afraid to learn, & that has guts. I'll give any man a job. This may not be the time nor the place. Chad, I do not know what you are looking for in life. Yet if you ever think this may be something you may want to do let me know I'll give you a chance.

Just find something you can put you heart into, you mind into. What ever that may be will make you the happiest man on this earth. Good luck to you my friend, and all my best. What ever it is you want to do never give up. Some day some where you will get your chance, just as I did. When you do make the most of it. I hope my story helps you. I do not know if it will or not. Yet I almost got all teared up thinking back on all of it all. I am sure many other have wonderful stories about how they got into what they are doing & why they choose it. I also would love to hear others tell their story.


Side note: When I quit Mass Mutual ( THEY ARE A WONDERFUL COMPANY BY THE WAY, JUST NOT THE COMPANY FOR ME TO WORK FOR. GENE DID NOT TEACH ME TO WELL ON THAT DEAL, HE MADE ME TO INDEPENDANT FOR THEM ) I went to Goldman Sachs & Merrill Lynch just to see if they would give me a job. Both tried to get me on board with them. I turned them both down.

MAN THAT FELT GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!devilish
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