The Value of Values Part 1: Identifying Your Values

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This blog has plenty of ideas, tools and so on on living happy but a person can’t really live a happy life without identifying their values.

What are Values:

Values are the things important to you in your life. There are two categories:

Physical: Anything that exists outside of your mind such as friends, family , your job, your sport or hobby.

Psychological/Philosophical:  These values are your emotions and principles. For example: Kindness and sharing, happiness, contentment, compassion, charity and generosity. These can also be political such as democracy or liberalism or a political/social belief such human rights or being pro-choice.

Identifying Your Values

There is a surprisingly simple way to identify your values. Just ask yourself three questions:

  • When were you the happiest?
  • When were you filled with the most pride?
  • When were you the most fulfilled?

Answering these questions can and should take time, be absolutely sure you were truly happy, prideful…etc. Once you have a list prioritize them and reexamine regularly. Mindtools has some excellent suggestions as well:

  • Be Willing to Be Surprised
  • Test Your Values. Just having your list of values from the top of your mind, might not be enough.  To get more clarity, you can test your values:
    • Is it truly YOUR value?  (i.e. is it internally motivated or is it external … a “should”)
    • Is it a means or an end?  If one value is simply to accomplish another, then look to the value you want to accomplish.  If you want economic security because you think it leads to freedom, then freedom is the one you value most.  This is important because there’s multiple ways to accomplish a goal and flexibility is key.  Know what you want, but be flexible in your approach.
    • Do your actions show your values?  Actions speak louder than words.
    • When were you happiest or most excited?  What was your proudest moment?  These highlights are a potential showcase of your values.
    • What do you regret the most?  Again, this is a way to figure out what’s most important to you. (source)

Your values should determine your priorities and how you live your life. It is also important to keep your priorities ethical, this won’t be difficult as no one values the guilt or other bad feeling that go with being leading an unethical life.

Here are some examples of values:

Once you have determined your values you can focus on goals, achievements and a lifestyle that suits them and end up a much happier person.

 

 

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