The Importance of Personal Values

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
We are all faced with many questions and decisions each and every day.  We are called upon to determine the direction our life takes minute by minute from the time we awake to the time we return to sleep.  What is it that guides your decisions?
Many people determine their decisions based on the situation they are currently facing.  Others simply make the choice that best suits their current desires.  Still many others allow friend or family to make their decisions for them.  How do you make your decisions?  What do you fall back on when your world is in difficulty and the pressure is on?  How do you determine what you are willing to do and where you want to go when the stakes are high?
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” ― Roy Disney
What you value is important because that will determine what you are willing to do and what you are willing to sacrifice in your life.  And once you know your values you can then decide easier what will best fit your values.  When you determine your values you decide for yourself what success looks like for you.  You can then be an immense success as a stay at home mom, even when the world wants you to be a leader of a fortune 500 company.  Success doesn’t mean that you are incredibly wealthy.  Success is determined by living life according to what you determined was important.  What do you value?  What are you building your life on?
You may determine that family is of great importance and wealth is very low.  This will allow you to decide what job you may be willing to take and how many hours of overtime you are willing to work.  You may determine that financial gain is most important and you will make decisions accordingly.  What you value arises from who you are and gives voice to the person you are becoming.  And if you don’t determine your values yourself, others will determine them for you.  Society, family, friends, employers are all clamoring to push their values on you.  And if you don’t have your own values to push back with you will become what they want you to become instead of who you are.
Determining what your personal values are isn’t as complicated as it sounds.  It will require you to sit quietly and do some thinking and writing, but it isn’t complicated.

First figure out what is important to you.  And make a list

  • There are many things we do that are important to others
  • What is important to you personally

Second think about why the things on your list are important to you

  • Some things are important to us simply because they are expected of us or we were told they were important
  • Some things we adopted from our parents, or mentors or other people we respected but we never took the time to figure out why
  • You need to decide if they are actually important to you, and if they are going to be something you build your life around you will need to know why they are important

Third work with your list and refine it.

  • Many of the things that are important which you wrote down will fit together.
  • Narrow you focus and shorten your list.  You want something you can use to guide your life, not a novel to carry around to read before every decision.  “For values or guiding principles to be truly effective they have to be verbs.” Simon Sinek
  • If your life isn’t spent living out your values they are not your values

If we will work with knowing what we value, and how we define success we can live lives full of purpose and discover and live our lives to our fullest potential.  With a little work and heart searching we can find out what is most important to us so that we are able to chart our course even when the storms are at their worst.

Values are extremely important.  Do you know what yours are?

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