Looking back, there are always things we did, decisions we made, or people we cared about, that we now see as mistakes. And how often do we beat ourselves up over those?
We think we should have known better.
We can’t believe we were so dumb.
Well, at the root of all our decisions, are values. Thing is, we aren’t always conscious of those values. None of us intentionally make bad decisions. We all make the best decision we know how to in the moment. Most of us don’t sit down and think about what we value, or at least not until we are somewhat older. So we sorta coast along on autopilot, and do whatever feels right at the time.
But if you look back on all those ‘mistakes’, you’ll see the values that were operating in the background at the time. One thing I’ve noticed in many of my decisions is that I valued peace over security. I would spend all my money giving people, and my family especially, everything they wanted, so I could have peace. Because I found it really hard to be happy, when everybody around me was always complaining. So I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to make sure they had nothing to complain about. But you know what? I don’t remember ever making a conscious choice to value peace over security.
What values were you operating under?
Did you choose these values?
Did you know what was driving your decisions?
What about now? Are these still the values you would choose?
If you want better results in your life, a great place to start is to sit down and think about your values. Make a list of what is most important to you, and then write out a description of what that value means, to you! Try to come up with at least ten!
You may find that several of your values are similar. If so, try coming up with one that incorporates the others. This is where your description comes in handy! For example: Say, you list the values of success and wealth and achievement and leadership. And when you write your definition of success, it includes all of those other things. By defining what success means to you, you can lump all those other values into one category called success.
Now, prioritize your list, comparing each of those values to each of the others. Then, narrow it down to your top three. This is where batching similar values, and writing comprehensive descriptions is so important! Post these values, and their descriptions, where you can easily access them.
When faced with a situation where you are unsure what to do, run your options through the filter of these values. Does one choice support your values more than the others? Do you feel better equipped to make a decision?
Your values will change as your life goes through various stages. There are no rules that you must maintain the same ones forever! Revisit your values whenever you feel the need to reevaluate. Rewrite those descriptions as the meanings change for you. This is your life! You write the script!