Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life.
And that happiness, not pain or mindless self-induldgence,
is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. – J. Stanford
Haha, no it’s actually a pretty powerful quote if you take the time to let it soak in.
Love, kindness, integrity, courage, these are values. Your values drive every decision and action you have ever made or will make in the future.
So tell me, do you know why you do what you do?
Those who know and live by their values become the role-models of our society.
Take Narayanan Kirshnaan, an award-winning chef with Taj Hotels. He was 29 years old when he saw an old man so desperately hungry that he was chowing down on his own feces.
Narayanan immediately ran into the nearest hotel to get some food and gave it to the old timer. As the old man ate, his eyes filled with tears. Tears of happiness, tears of joy, tears of love.
Narayanan quit his job and began personally cooking and serving over 425 indigenous and elderly people every day in Madurai. Narayanan is the man!
He now runs the successful nonprofit organization Akshaya Trust and lives a powerful life. One filled with purpose, fulfillment, and meaning.
What values do you think Narayanan lives by?
In this video he shares that for him it’s not about the food, but the love and joy of contribution.
He shares that living by his values brings him an inner joy that nothing else ever could.
That’s how it works for you too.
Clarity and focus are needed to know our destination. – Narayanan Krishnan
The only way to live happily is to live by your greatest values. When you clearly know your values, making decisions becomes easy.
Your values serve as a compass toward your greatest destiny. Following them leads to a joyful life full of certainty and peace.
If you don’t know your values, prepare for pain! People who fill the emptiness of their lives with television, drugs, obsessive eating, and other quick fixes are trying to put a Band-Aid over their sense of meaninglessness. These people simply don’t know what their values are. Or they do, but they don’t live by them.
Knowing your values and living accordingly turns your life into an incredible high!
So great in fact that you have no desire to escape it through vices like video games or alcohol. That would be like taking sleeping pills on Christmas morning! And Santa will no longer be leaving coal.
Are you ready to begin living a harmonious life where your values and actions are one?
A life where you stand up for what you believe in?
Get Pumped, it’s Time to Discover Your Values
1. Brain Dump
The first step is to ask yourself, “What’s truly important to me?”
Think about moments when you felt completely fulfilled and happy in your life. What were you doing? What emotions were you feeling?
In this step write down everything that comes to mind! Don’t filter or judge your thoughts, be honest with yourself. Don’t put down what you “should” but instead what you know truly matters to you.
Oh and don’t forget to wipe!
2. Ask, “Why?”
Everything we value and do is driven by an emotion. Your goal in this step is to play Sherlock and discover the emotional roots of your values.
For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root. – Thoreau
For example, when I put relationships as a value in my brain dump, I narrowed it down to family and friends, and then went further, discovering the true emotional value to be love.
Discovering these “roots” aka foundational values will give you a better understanding of what to prioritize to create a life worth living.
3. Pain or Pleasure?
If you haven’t already, list the emotions that each of these values makes you feel. Now ask yourself, do I value this because it keeps me from feeling hurt of because it makes me feel good?
All values bring us a feeling of pleasure or avoiding pain.
If they bring you pleasure they are considered “moving toward values” and if they bring you pain they are considered “moving away from” values.
Up until now you’ve probably focused on moving toward values, but it also helps to know what emotions you value not feeling.
Oftentimes you’’ll find a “moving away from” value that directly conflicts with a moving toward value.
4. Anti-Values and Self-Sabotage
Now think of what you value not experiencing and feeling. Go back and do steps 1-3 while asking, “What do I value avoiding?”
Anytime we are getting ready to do something our brain evaluates the situation and considers whether it’ll lead to pleasure or pain.
Unfortunately, we’ll do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure.
This step helps us see if we have any “moving-away from” values that are sabotaging our “moving toward values”.
For example one of my pleasure enhancing “moving toward values” was love but a pain I valued avoiding was emotional vulnerability. This “moving away from value” kept me from opening up to loved ones. For years I lived a sad little life of isolation and little connection.
Fortunately, there are ways to defeat this self-sabotage.
5. Combine, Condense, Compare, and Conflict
Now that you have a brain dump of “moving-toward values” and “moving-away from values”, narrow each list down to 10 and write them side-by-side for easy comparison. Perhaps label one side pleasure and the other side pain.
Combine: First look for similar values that describe the same thing and combine them.
Condense: If you’re having trouble narrowing them down, pair values within each list side by side and eliminate whichever is least important. Keep going until the survivors remain.
Compare: Rank your values using the same method. By ranking your values you will know which will trump the others when making hard decisions.
Conflict: Do you notice any painful moving-away from values that conflict with your moving toward values?
If you do, it’ll be helpful to analyze and rewire the rules you’ve made for yourself regarding when you are allowed to feel pleasure and pain.
Now you have your personal hierarchy of needs. To maximize your joy of life start with accomplishing the highest value and move down your the list.
Keep this list in an easy to find place, review it once a week to keep all aspects of yourself aligned and congruent.
When you have to make decisions that compete with values, choose whichever value is most important. For example if you value family slightly higher than adventure, choose to stay home and spend time with your kids.
Better yet find strategic ways to meet all your values at once. Maybe go catch some Pokemon with your son or daughter!
Your values are the road map to your destiny. You must commit to live by them with conviction to lead a fulfilling life.
Follow your born instincts and intuition.
Stand up for your beliefs and philosophy of life.
Use your voice and actions to demonstrate your unique purpose to the world.
And then embrace the magnificent life that follows.