Every person has a set of values which they live by. Whether they are aware of it or not; this personal values list which they have concocted will dictate their achievements and level of happiness. It is therefore vital for you to think clearly about your personal values list and how it will affect your future development. Here are some great tips to get you started.
Your personal values list should have items in your control
Most people are influenced by what they see on TV and social media. They see someone being rich and put value on money. They see attractive people getting what they want and so put value on good looks. The problem with these type of values is that they are often dependent on the external environment. This essentially means you are placing your measurement of success and happiness on things completely out of control. No wonder so many people, despite all they have, still remain unhappy. It merely boils down to the scale at which they measure their triumphs.
So what do you value then? you may ask. The answer lies in simply defining values around internal beliefs. For e.g. instead of defining career success as being the CEO(which is out of your control); instead define it by doing something that challenges you and brings out your creativity. The latter is something that you have control over i.e. the way you feel. You may never be CEO, but you can always find a career that challenges you and gets your creative juices flowing. Likewise, instead of valuing your good looks, focus on creating value in forming relationships with those around you.
Compete with no one but yourself
The only person that you should want to be better than, is the person you were one second ago. Keep that in mind when you start creating “be better than…” values in your personal values list. Any value that starts with “I want to be better than…” should not have a place in your life. Sure, a bit of healthy competition can go a long way; however constantly comparing yourself with someone else will leave you unfulfilled. This is especially true if the person/people you compete with are doing better than you are in the metric you are trying to measure your self-worth on.
If you tell yourself you want to be richer than your neighbor for example, you are putting your happiness in the faith that your neighbor fails in material wealth. This is not only showing poor morals; but indicates to the universe that there is a lack of abundance. It essentially means that for you to gain, someone else has to lose….which in the true nature of things doesn’t make sense. Two people can be equally successful, contrary to popular beliefs. There is enough success to go around.
Your values should not tie you down
Do you put yourself in boxes? You probably do even if you are not comfortable admitting it. The thing about boxes is that it helps people feel more comfortable. And comfort is your worst enemy when it comes to growing personally. Boxes come with predefined rules and values. For e.g. the “shy guy” box means that you can acceptably decline activities like dancing or public speaking which are usually practiced by more outgoing people per say. You put yourself in this box so it makes it easier to accept your weaknesses aka. public speaking and dancing. The problem with this however is that we are avoiding problems and failures which ultimately help us become better.
The first thing to establish is why you put yourself in specific boxes to start with. Usually it is misconstrued past experiences or what people said that caused this mental barrier. If you read the book, “The Subtle art of not giving a f**ck“, the author Mark Manson clearly explains that we as humans can never know for sure if we are right. life is a continuous trial and error and our thoughts and ideas need to be constantly tested and validated. So if you automatically put yourself in a box without fully exploring if you belong there in the first place; then you are essentially denying yourself potential happiness. In the case of the “shy guy” box for example, you will miss out on relationships and opportunities for career advancements because of the false hindrances you may have created as a result of the wrong internal values.
So what do you instead of putting yourself in boxes? the answer is not to completely throw away the boxes but rather keep them as generic as possible. For e.g. the “I am a guy” box is generic, as a guy I may like or dislike, be good at or not good at, but I will only discover this with experience. In this way you are not pulled down by restrictions inherited by a narrower box.
So there it is. Three powerful ways to create a personal values list that will help you reach happiness and success in life. Remember happiness and success is relative. Choose the right values and you will live a fruitful life; choose the wrong values however and you will find yourself in a constant loop of chasing things out of your control. Essentially you will be a slave to the outside world.
To learn how to live life consciously and with a clear perspective; read this ultimate guide: A Mindful Approach To Self Actualization