A Framework for Life

By Mark Horan (Draper Utah Group)


Starting Out Stranded

We were all profoundly naive when we entered this world. Each of us relied entirely on others for everything, including the information we needed to orient ourselves in the world. As children in a playground, we saw many different types of people doing many different things. We learned that people are naturally different. Throughout our lives, we have experiences that can change us. Sometimes, these experiences unify us. Sometimes, they make us foreign to one another.

Often people get lost, resentful, angry, and even dangerous to themselves and others. We slip into despair and struggle to get out. Each of us has our own set of challenges, but also we have some in common.

So what can be done? How can we understand this situation, and how can we cope?


A Map With Directions

What if all of these challenges came with a set of rules? What if, instead of relying on your own trial-and-error, you could learn from others and gain a new perspective on how to change your situation?

A framework for life is not only a map but a map with directions. If it is constructed properly, it will be clear, useful, and accurate. It will consist of many choices, showing a likely (or almost certain) result for each choice. It will say "if this, then that."


Like a Mentor or Guide

A workable framework is one that guides its followers to the desired location. A GREAT framework guides its followers and also supplies them with honest information about what to expect on their journey. To understand the importance of frameworks, think of a student within a school. Would you have been able to learn algebra without a class schedule, a teacher, or a lesson plan? Most of us couldn't get close to grasping these concepts without them being made explicit.

Frameworks come in many forms. Schools, churches, programs, forums, and creative content can all demonstrate a path used by others to accomplish meaningful things. They can come in the form of personal heroes, examples and role models. We love our heroes when they succeed in a way we can translate. Is it any surprise that many of us feel like we need a female president or an openly atheist president? When we don't have these kinds of examples, we are forced to venture out into the unknown without a guide. We are all on a hero's journey, and venturing out alone makes this quest so much more difficult.


An Ideal Framework

All of this brings us to a question: What type of framework do we want for ourselves and our families? From my perspective, an ideal framework has not yet manifested. It's a dream of building processes that reinforce and aid the human condition. It would facilitate the processes of identification, definition, clarification, deconstruction, modification, and skepticism. All of these are tied together as separate pieces of a combined mosaic. I believe that if they are ordered correctly, you can seed the ground for fast-paced growth without leaving anyone in a worse place.

How far does your framework go in getting you where you want to be? Why isn't it getting you farther? This is an important question, well-worth your consideration. Such a question is nothing to fear. It aims for clarity and truth. If your framework isn't everything you need, how can you determine or find what's missing?


A Team Effort

Most frameworks possess a critical flaw: They lack passive self-correction. An ideal framework would come from an organization that would be open to complaints, criticism, and correction. It would seek to understand complaints and allow them to lead the creation of as many new ideas, paths, and options as possible.

Ultimately, frameworks are only as good as their creators and none of us are perfect. We need each other to identify, define and understand most things. The more we look to creating and improving our frameworks the better off we'll be. I think that the real paradigm shift will come when we focus on others and their complaints. Most people only need a little insight or help to get past their hang-ups but so few of us try to really help! When it comes to larger issues and complex problems, we obtain helpful data through listening. That data can then be used to define the problem plaguing those around us. That can then be used to solve the problem, not just for them, but for everyone else as well! This is the potential behind frameworks that lead individuals to impact the world in meaningful ways.

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