The Value of Values Part 1: Identifying Your Values


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.




Journal Nov. 26, 2017


I’m back after a bit of a setback. I had some minor surgery and it took a bit longer to recover than normal. The positive side is some downtime allowed time for coming up with great ideas for content and some research to support it.  More positive psychology, science and philosophy that helps guide people to living a happy, full life free of dogma and superstition. So even though I haven’t blogged as much as a should for medical reasons these last few days and sp readership dropped off I have had time to come up with some great ideas for posts. So as Dan Millman said:

The Best Possible Self: Ubermensch


The stealing of Nietzsche’s concept Ubermench (the overman, the superman) by the Nazi’s is one history’s great philosophical tragedies. The concept itself is more positive than most people realize. Nietzsche had a vision of a person who had achieved a superior version of himself, a person who has organized the chaos within and created his own values.

Pushing ourselves to be better is valued far too little because of the negative view that this motivation devalues our current self. We should instead be motivated by an inspiring self image of ourselves.  We are very lucky because positive psychology has created a tool for doing exactly that:

The Best Possible Self Exercise

The BPS has three stages:

  1. Set a timer for ten minutes
  2. For ten minutes write down what your best possible self could be. Ignore grammar and punctuation and brainstorm to your heart’s content.
  3. After the ten minutes are up reflect on what you wrote down means. Ask yourself some questions like:
    • What of part of what I wrote down do I like best?
    • Can I achieve this?
    • How does this make me feel?
    • Does it motivate or inspire me?

With this tool everyone wins because on a personal level overtime we begin see our personal ubermench as achievable and are motivated to push ourselves towards it everyday. Personally I have added small personal vision’s of my own superior self at the end of my gratitude journal. On an ethical level we also begin to see this in others and are our kindness and compassion is additionally motivated by knowing that other person is also working everyday toward a better version of themselves and we would never want to stand in their way of doing that.



Secular Sources of Hope Part 3: The Aesthetic Imperative


It’s really hard to describe the feeling of hope the arts give people. We attempted it before in The Arts: A Vital part of being human but even that didn’t really do it justice. In Howe’s description he says:

  1. The Aesthetic Imperative – utilizing the visual Arts- both elite and popular- as a mechanism for social and personal transformation. All four case studies embody explicit sources of ‘hope’ for 21st century individuals, communities and societies.

The important part of what he said being ‘as a mechanism for social and personal transformation”.

Part 1: Social Transformation

All forms of the arts painting, sculpture, music, theater, movies…etc. all have a powerful ability to express in a way that promotes social transformation in everything from economic and social justice to equal rights and equality to ecology…etc. There are many examples of people using art to enact social change. Here are some of the more famous ones:

Guernica by Picasso

Dada: An anti- war movement inspired by world war 1 that primarily used satire.

David Alfaro Siqueiros: Used his art to reach out to common people of Mexico.

Picasso: His work Guernica is credited as inspiring the modern human rights movement.

Vietnam: Ronald Haeberle, Peter Saul, Carl Andre, Norman Carlberg and Nancy Spero all used their art as a form of protest and made a significant impact.

In More modern times:

Some of Banksy’s work.

Banksy: An anonymous graffiti artist who uses his art to make political and social statements.

Rage Against The Machine: Used music to  inspire an entire generation to be active in social and political change.

Pussy Riot: A band who famously went to jail for protesting Putin and government corruption in Russia.

The arts can give us so much hope to that we can make positive change in the world Adorno said:

 ‘all art is an uncommitted crime’,

Personal Transformation:

The arts are so powerful we can use the arts to transform not just culture and society but ourselves as well. We can find our personal lives transforming through the arts in three different ways:

It’s Therapeutic

Artistic expression of all kinds leads a satisfaction not only in completing an art piece but expressing ourselves in whatever way we feel. Expression of an art from is so good for you that some psychotherapists actually use art therapy to treat mental illnesses and unresolved psychological issues.

It Expands Horizons

Getting involved in artistic expression opens doors to different cultures and other worldviews. Either in the art works themselves and/or the other artists.

Lifestyle Change

The arts can lead to entire lifestyle change. You don’t need to pursue the arts as a career to being involved in art museums, clubs and galleries.  As a hobby one can engage in many rewarding social activities and get to know other artists and influential figures in the arts.

Whether you use your artistic expression to reach and make change through political and social statements or to bring change in yourself both will  bring powerful meaning and hope into your life.









Journal November 17th, 2017


Hard to post inspirational songs because everyone has their own tastes in music but the lyrics to this song I really like and are helping me get through my days lately (emphasis mine):

I give myself up every day
To fight this woe is me demeanor
If things had gone another way
Now would my grass be any greener?
And as I’m struggling on my own
I have to think I’m not alone
Give and take, we catch our breaks
We all learn to survive
Oh, but don’t look now
I said don’t look now
Cause here we are
Living the best days of our lives
These are the best days of our lives
I fly around the world to spend
My nights with strangers and their lovers
I notice happiness depends
On if we share it with each other
So when this craziness is through
I’ll spend my happiness with you
Give and take, we catch our breaks
We all learn to survive
Oh, but don’t look now
I said don’t look now
Cause here we are
Living the best days of our lives
These are the best days of our lives
As we’re walking through the fire
Isn’t it great to be alive?
Give and take, we catch our breaks
We all learn to survive
Oh, but don’t look now
I said don’t look now
Cause here we are,
Living the best days of our lives
These are the best days of our lives
Everybody, let me hear you sing
It goes
Give and take, we catch our breaks
We all learn to survive
Oh, but don’t look now
I said don’t look now
Cause here we are
Living the best days of our lives
These are the best days of our lives



With all our everyday problems we can get overwhelmed and perspective is one of the easiest things to lose when that happens. Fortunately the information age makes it easy to get back again.

 What Perspective?

That having your own perspective is ok. In fact that should be encouraged. There is only one exception: Extremism. If your viewpoint leads to any kind of extremism then that viewpoint is unhealthy,  even dangerous. Otherwise your opinions and philosophy are almost always valid, no matter what they are.  In Short:


Journal Nov. 14, 2017


After much thought and consideration I updated the about page to better reflect the change of direction the blog took a few months ago.  I explained the tagline ‘Happiness if Free’ and how we plan to help people achieve happiness for free. I only didn’t mention ‘Happiness Is Free’ was inspired by the Shania Twain song ‘When’. The lyrics that inspired the tagline:

And the actual Video:

Happiness truly is free for me and I really hope I can help other people see why.