When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier. – Roy E. Disney
If I ask you to give me your top 10 core values right now can you? What about your top 5 core values?
Don’t panick! We are going to work on that in this article and by the end of this article, hopefully, you will have a list of your top 10 values ready 😉
I will also share with you examples of personal values from my own life.
If you haven’t check them yet check:
Have you ever taken the time to think about your core values? Do you know what is really important to you? I’m not talking about what your parents or your friends think you should care about. I’m not talking about what society is relentlessly saying you you should care about. I’m talking about what truly matters to you deep down. You only! It is time to honor your values and come up with a list of you core values that will guide you throughout your life.
Which of the following choices do you believe is better?
1. Acting out of your authentic core values, doing what you love and striving to express fully yourself to the world
2. Following the “traditional” pattern: trying to make money, to become famous, to be loved, to earn recognition or to be admired by everybody
Too often we live our life as our parents, our friends or society want us to live. Chances are that you are not even aware that many of your current decisions are not really yours but are the result of social conditioning. Compare the two previous options and think of which one will make you happier. What can you do about it right now?
Notice that with the first option you are focusing on giving yourself to the world, whereas with the second option you are trying to get something from it. The Bible says “Give, and it shall be given unto you”. I encourage you to ask yourself the following question and seriously reflect on it: “do you want to give or do you want to get? Why? What does it say about you?”
Your core values form the pillars on which all your decisions in life should be based. A misalignment between your actions and your values will prevent you for reaching the level of fulfillment you aspire in life. It is only by taking the time to reflect on your values, that you will be able to set goals that are really in line with your values. Then, and only then, will you make the right decisions in your life.
It is quite ironic to see that sometimes people wake up and start living only when their doctor tell them that they have a few months left. Then, suddenly, their entire world collapses. All the falsehood in their life instantly vanishes. They realize that everything they believe matters in their life, didn’t matter at all! They experience real joy for the first time in their life. Anthony De Mello in his program “Rediscovering Life” (a must-see!) tell a story about a man who are told by his doctor that he had only 6 months to live. It is a revelation for him. Suddenly, he experienced joy as he had never experienced before. He confessed on his deathbed that those 6 months were by far the happiest time of his entire life! He is not the only one to whom that kind of experience happened.
The good news is that you don’t need to wait for a tragic accident in your life to realize what truly matters to you. And you shouldn’t! You just need to bring more awareness and open-mindedness in your life. You need to listen more to your intuition and to your emotions and less to your intellect and your thoughts, which are only the result of past conditioning. You need to question everything in order to come up with your own answers about life and what it means to you. You need to witness yourself closely and identify what makes you really happy and what doesn’t. The Buddha himself said “O monks and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me.” Examine yourself!
What is it that you really love to do? What makes you happy? What does it say about your values? In this article, I want you to come up with a list of the values that matter the most to you. To help you doing that you can refer to a list that includes more than 400 values here.
You don’t necessary need to follow that list. You can come up with your own values just by reflecting on yourself, and I encourage you to do so before you go through that list. It’s by reflecting on myself that I came up with my own list of values shared below. Finding your own values might take a little bit of time, depending on how self-aware you are. Don’t worry about coming up with the perfect list right now. You can modify your list in the future and you will probably need to. As you go through various experiences in your life and become more self-aware, you may realize that what you previously believed were your core values were actually not, and that is perfectly okay.
Is living according to my values a selfish act?
If you want to live an authentic, meaningful life, you need to master the art of disappointing and upsetting others, hurting feelings, and living with the reality that some people just won’t like you. It may not be easy, but it’s essential if you want your life to reflect your deepest desires, values, and needs. – Cheryl Richardson, 21 Days to Master Extreme Self-Care
Don’t think that because you are only thinking about yourself and your happiness you are selfish. In reality, the more you will know yourself, the more you will be able to contribute to society. And anyway, everyone is selfish, whether they admit it or not. Why do you think people give to charity? Because it makes them feel good. They get something out of it. Are you selfish if you don’t want to have kids? Many people have kids because it makes them happy, it gives them the illusion of immortality, it gives them a new chance to realize their unfulfilled dreams through their children. Isn’t it selfish too in a way? Am I not selfish by writing this article and feeling good about it? It is only when you will realize who you really are, that you will stop being selfish, because you won’t be trying to get something from other people anymore.
Think about it: which is more selfish?
- To live life on your own term by doing what you love to do, be happy and express fully yourself to the world
- To simply do what others around you expect you to do just because you are scared; scared of not to be loved, scared of not to be recognized, scared of being criticized, scared of being laughed at, scared of not being wealthy enough?
By refusing to live to other people expectation, you will definitely hurt some people, but I’m convinced that in the end, not only the contribution you will make to the world and to people around you, but also your level of fulfillment will be far greater.
You certainly didn’t come to this world to make money, to be admired or to simply follow the herd. Nor did you come to the world to live up to other people’s expectation. You came to this world to express your authentic self! If not, what else? You came to this world to be happy. You came to this world to love. It is your responsibility to do what you need to be happy. It’s crazy to see how few people study happiness and keep in mind that the really meaning of life is to be happy; it’s crazy to see how few people question the definition of success and happiness that the society in which they were born, inculcated them with. You don’t need to buy into society’s expectation. Remember that it is not society’s responsibility to make you happy, it is yours.
Nowadays, concepts like happiness and success are so widely used in the media that they lost all their meaning. You are constantly bombarded with articles telling you how to be more successful; most of them not even mentioning what they mean by success. They dictate to you their definition of success. Make sure you are clear on your own definition of success and happiness or your entire life will be based on false assumptions that have been defined for you by the society you are living in.
My top 10 core values
Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. – Ayn Rand
Now let me share with you my top 10 personal values
- Truth: I’m constantly looking for the truth since no real progress is possible without knowing the truth. Awareness is always the prerequisite to change.
- Integrity: I don’t do things that I believe are not right even if everyone is doing it; and even if it means I will have to pay a high price in order to live up to that value.
- Passion: I have passion for what I do, and follow that passion in my everyday life, regardless of the challenges ahead.
- Health: I want to be healthy and have more energy. I want to live longer and accomplish a lot of things.
- Freedom: I do what I like and I am free to change my job, to travel and to do the job I want without having someone telling me what to do.
- Selflessness: I help people around me regardless of whether they are my friend or not, whether they like me or not.
- Courage: I’m facing my fears in order to improve myself, unleash my real potential and become the real me.
- Fairness: I’m always trying to be fair with people and not to give unfair advantage to my friends or family.
- Progress: I feel joy in working on myself and learning new skills and I want to encourage other people to do the same.
- Uniqueness: I believe that I’m unique and that I should not be afraid of standing out and doing things that really matter to me
It’s your turn now. What are your top values? Make a list of your top ten personal values. Put it in a place where you can see it every day and go through it regularly and refine it. Refer to it when you need to make decisions in your life.
N.B. it is okay if you come up with more/less than 10 values.
Having a personal values list give you direction
It is easy to get trapped in the rat race and to constantly compare yourself to others around you to see how well you are doing. (See Why I Stopped Comparing Myself to Others – and Why You Should Do The Same). The less clear you are on your values, the more you are likely to follow the herd despite the fact that it is not bringing you any real fulfillment. Once you become clear on your values, you become more grounded and you progressively start taking control of your life. You stop being a puppet influenced by others. Because your actions are perfectly coherent and in line with your core values, even people who disagree with you can’t help but to respect you for being authentic and living in integrity with yourself. People feel that they can trust you.
Knowing your core values also allows you to better design your life. You know what you want and you know what to look for. As a result, it becomes easier to make decision in all areas of your life since you have clear criteria you can rely on to make your own judgment. Should you accept that promotion? Your values will tell you! Are you willing to spend more time at work to make more money? Or is spending time with your family more important? By being clear on your values you will be able to answer that question.
Let me illustrate my point by sharing with you some concrete examples of my personal values.
I feel very motivated when I’m free to do whatever I want to do. I’m willing to work long hours and to earn a modest salary, just to enjoy that sense of freedom. For that reason, being self-employed is more appealing to me than working in a big company that would offer stability, a very high salary or social status. Freedom is one of my core values; stability, money and social status aren’t and are of little value to me.
I want to do what I love to do, that is: spend my time doing personal development work, studying psychology, reading books, writing articles and e-books and inspire people to follow their passion and find peace and happiness. If I had to choose between:
- Doing what I love everyday with almost no vacation and a very modest salary
- Being paid a lot of money to work for a big company that also offers long vacations
Which option do you believe I would choose?
I enjoy studying, learning new skills and growing. A job that doesn’t allow me to do that isn’t appealing to me, regardless of the money, status or recognition it might bring me.
I believe that we are all unique and for that reason, I stay away from conformity. I strive to live in integrity with myself and not to care about what society or other people expect me to be or to do. Most of us care way too much about what other people think of us. Our happiness should not depend on what other people think of us or it will be at the mercy of other people’s subjective judgment of us. Their praise will make us happy, their critics will make us miserable. Understand that they know nothing about your intention, nothing about your story and more generally nothing about you! I realize that, more often than not, the image that people have of me is absolutely not who I am. They just judge me based on limited observations they made about me. Adding to that, I have to admit that I’m not the best at expressing my emotions (let alone in foreign languages like English or Japanese). Moreover, their observations are greatly the result of their own subjective story and experience of life. They reflect their personal interpretation of the world. I realized that the image I have of other people is probably quite wrong too and try to refrain from judging people as much as I can.
Anyway, what people think of you is none of your business!
What about you? What are your top 10 core values? Are you currently embodying those core values? If not, what prevents you to do so? Leave me a comment below and share with me what your personal values list.
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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development