字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 By setting a single goal, Socrates changed the quality of his entire life and altered the course of history. His goal had been to “do no evil”, but before I can explain why it was so powerful, I need to build a framework for understanding goals. We can categorize every goal according to two qualities: internal-external and avoidant-pursuant. Avoidant-pursuant determines whether we are avoiding or pursuing something, and internal-external determines whether that something is inside or outside of us. By plotting internal-external along an x-axis and avoidant-pursuant on a y-axis, I create a useful chart. The external-pursuant section is quadrant I, internal-pursuant is quadrant II, external-avoidant is quadrant III, and internal-avoidant is quadrant IV. “Be rich” is an example of a quadrant I goal, “be good” a quadrant II goal, “don't be poor” a quadrant III goal, and “don't be evil” a quadrant IV goal. Quadrant I and II goals are bronze-tier—the worst class of goals we can set. Quadrant III goals are silver-tier, and quadrant IV are gold-tier. Now let me demonstrate how I arrived at this tier system. Imagine a pair of scales in a state of perfect balance. Place the goal from quadrant I, be rich, on the left-side of the scale. Now place John, an accountant, on the right-side. Because John isn't already rich, there's a gap between the two pans. The gap represents the stress John currently feels, and he must alter his character, through knowledge and action, to overcome the stress, close the gap between the two pans, and achieve his goal. So how does this goal affect John's character? John decides to start investing. He picks companies that he thinks will perform well and invests twenty-thousand dollars across them. In the first week, his portfolio rises two-hundred percent. Because he's moving closer to his goal of being rich, the gap between the two pans shrink. He feels unstoppable, like he's on top of the world, and his friends and family notice a change in his energy. “He seems bubblier than usual,” they say. In the second week, his portfolio drops back down, and the gap between the two pans increases again. John scolds himself. How could I be so dumb? I should have pulled my money out while I was up. He feels depressed and upset, and the people around him notice a lack of energy that was once there. John locks himself in his room and spends weeks building a model in Excel. Every mistake John makes increases the stress he feels and leaves him depressed. Mistakes are a huge liability. I need to predict better, he thinks. I can't afford to be wrong again. His friends invite him out for drinks, but he declines. Until he starts moving towards the goal again, everything else is an obstacle, an annoyance. Eventually John picks some new companies based on his model and invests his money back into the market. The next week his portfolio rises, and he feels on top of the world again. I'm a genius, he thinks. But the next week the markets crash, and John ends up depressed again. I'm so dumb, he says. Because John's goal is pursuant, he narrowly focuses on a single destination. Being at the destination is the only way to remove his stress, and moving towards the destination is the greatest pleasure. Moving away from the destination is the greatest pain, and anything that stands in the way of the destination is an annoying obstacle—including friends and family. Because John's not at his destination, he's under chronic stress and emotionally volatile. He fears making mistakes, because they're huge setbacks that increase stress and misery. Now let's compare this to the external-avoidant goal from quadrant III. This time we'll place the goal don't be poor on the left-side of the scale and Sandy on the right. Like John, Sandy is an accountant, and because she's already not poor, there's no gap between the two pans. She feels a sense of calm and balance. So how does this goal affect Sandy's character? Sandy decides to start investing, and she splits twenty-thousand dollars across a few companies. After the first week, she takes a seat at her computer and prepares to check her portfolio. Her stress increases, and a gap forms between the two pans. When the webpage opens up, she sees that her portfolio rose two-hundred percent. She feels a burst of happiness but quickly humbles herself. Things could change in a moment, she thinks. The gap between the two pans closes again as Sandy calms herself. She exits the browser and continues on with the rest of her day. In the second week, her portfolio drops down again. She feels a bit deflated but remembers to be grateful. I knew things could change, she thinks, and at least I'm not poor. She jots down some notes to refine her decision-making process and selects some new companies to invest in. Sandy's okay with making mistakes—as long as she uses those mistakes to refine her process. She doesn't try to be right all the time, but she tries to make incremental improvements in her decision-making. She goes out for drinks with her friends later that night. Over the next two weeks, her portfolio rises. She feels a burst of joy but remembers to humble herself. The next week the market crashes, and Sandy feels sad, but she remains grateful. At least I'm not poor, she thinks, and I can use this as another lesson. She refines her model, reinvests her money, and moves on. Because Sandy's goal is avoidant, she focuses on the journey more than the destination. As long as she's not in poverty, any destination will do. Moving towards poverty brings her some sadness and moving away some happiness, but she balances her emotions with humility and gratitude. Her disposition is normally content, as opposed to inflated or deflated. She's emotionally stable, and the stresses she encounters are acute. She's open to other aspects of her life such as friends, family, and hobbies. Sandy loves making mistakes too, because they allow her to refine her process. Now let's compare John's pursuant goal with Sandy's avoidant one. Imagine two blank maps. Place John on the left map and Sandy on the right. Now mark the places John and Sandy either want to go to or avoid with an X. The distance between John and the X represents the stress he feels. Sandy, on the other hand, feels content being in any place but the X. When John moves towards the X he feels happy, but when he moves away, he feels sad. Every movement changes his mood until the next movement. For example, when his portfolio rises at the beginning of the first week, he feels inflated that whole week. But when his portfolio falls at the beginning of the second week, he feels deflated that whole week. His emotions linger depending on his movement towards or away from his destination. Sandy, on the other hand, feels sad when she moves towards the X and happy when she moves away, but her emotions quickly stabilize. Any destination but the X is okay, and she keeps herself in check with humility and gratitude. She's normally very content. Because mistakes are such a setback for John—leaving him sad until he moves forward again—he hates making them. He tries to be right all the time. Sandy on the other hand loves mistakes. She doesn't focus on being right all the time, but being more right over time. She uses the mistakes to refine her process, so that she can slowly move further and further from the X. Both Sandy and John could end up in the same place, but their experience of getting there would be quite different. Returning to the four different kinds of goals, I can now explain the tier system. Quadrant I and II goals are bronze because they're pursuant. Pursuant goals cause chronic stress, emotional volatility, a fear of making mistakes, and a narrow focus on arriving at a destination. Quadrant III goals are silver because they're avoidant and external. Avoidant goals come with acute stresses, emotional stability, a love of mistakes, and a broad focus on enjoying the journey. But because quadrant III goals are external, they're always partly out of our control. So quadrant IV goals are gold-tier because they lack the weaknesses of the others. And now that I've built a framework for understanding goals, we can return to Socrates. So what was Socrates' goal in life? It was the goal from quadrant IV: do no evil. Let's place that goal on the left-side of the scale and Socrates on the right-side. Because Socrates already isn't evil, there's no gap between the two pans. He feels a sense of calm, contentment, and balance. But how did this goal affect Socrates' character? Socrates believed evil came from ignorance, so he spent his life searching for wisdom. He travelled around Athens, conversing with people, asking them questions about piety, justice, and other virtues. When he received an answer, he often probed deeper into it. He tried to see if the answers could stand up to scrutiny, and he often found that they didn't. Upon closer inspection, most answers fell apart, and Socrates showed people they were not as wise as they thought they were. But by engaging in this philosophical process, he tried to make himself and others less ignorant, less evil, and more wise. But many Athenians had pursued quadrant I goals—such as money, fame, and status—and saw him as an obstacle in their way. They didn't like being shown their own ignorance, and they wanted to get rid of him. So they put him on trial and threatened to put him to death. Socrates said he didn't know whether death was a good or an evil thing, because he didn't know what came after it. He thought it could be an eternal sleep or another life, but because he didn't know for sure, he didn't pretend to know whether it was an evil. And because he didn't know if it was an evil, it didn't create stress for him. It didn't conflict with his internal-avoidant goal. In court, he faced his accusers with courage and integrity. They couldn't break him. And after they had sentenced him to death, they threw him into prison. One of Socrates' friends, Crito, visited him in prison and said the following, I should not have liked myself, Socrates, to be in such great trouble and unrest as you are—indeed I should not: I have been watching with amazement your peaceful slumbers; and for that reason I did not awake you, because I wished to minimize the pain. I have always thought you to be of a happy disposition; but never did I see anything like the easy, tranquil manner in which you bear this calamity. Even in the face of death, he maintained his inner serenity. Crito offered to break Socrates out of prison and help him escape from Athens, but Socrates refused. He believed it would have been evil to run away. And when the time came for him to drink the poisonous hemlock, it was said he drank it without hesitation, with cheer even. And as the toxins ran through his body and took effect, it was said that he stayed calm while his friends wept around him. Because Socrates' goal was avoidant, he focused on the journey more than the destination. He had not tried to predict the correct definitions of virtues, but tried to understand them a little better through trial and error, and constant refinement. By talking to other Athenians, he often learned what the virtues were not, and by doing so, he became less ignorant, more wise, and moved further from the X. As Crito said, he was normally of a happy disposition. And because his goal was internal, no one could get in the way. He continued his journey with courage and serenity, even under the threat of death. I believe his goal, and his dedication to it, allowed him to live a meaningful, good, and impactful life. So looking at the four goals again, we are left to decide. Which one will we choose?