Moments of clarity in which your purpose is revealed to you are quite rare. If you find yourself running around between ‘aha’ moments, chasing one dream after another and wondering when it’ll all pay off then rejoice …at least you’re getting in some exercise!
Seriously though, a disparity between how you act and what you dream about is an indication that you may not have a good understanding of what your values are.
No one really teaches it to you either. The truth is they can’t. You’re a growing and evolving person and what is important to you, your values, are largely your own choices which are not always apparent to others. When what is driving you becomes elusive to you, you end up confused, running around hoping for a result you’re unsure would arrive.
What’s important to you, your hopes, dreams and even your fears are all coded into a sophisticated organizational system deep within you – a value system that drives you to think and act in range of ways that are consistent with what you imagine yourself to be. Knowing your value system then is more than just making sense of your world, it is the discovery of a force within you to motivate yourself and achieve anything you want.
Values however play out quite subtly in your life so we’re going to carefully observe what you’ve done with your life and soon your values will reveal themselves to you.
Are you ready?
Switch off the mobile telephone, television, even the microwave, and get some paper and a pen. It’s important to simply write down what pops into your head without editing it. Trust yourself, you already are who you are. Use a single sheet of paper to answer each of the questions below. You’re at liberty to write, scratch, draw or brainstorm the answer so long as you just let it flow out of you.
Ok, here goes:
Look around. What have you surrounded yourself with? What kind of objects, pictures, colours or items can be found in your personal space? Shelves of books for instance could indicate a love of learning, possibly even teaching. Ask yourself what most of those books are about and you also gain an insight into what you like to learn about. The objects you surround yourself with are things you feel you need, so to understand what you value simply ask question why you need this object?
Dig deeper now. What do you spend your time on? Imagine your typical day and list all the chunks of time you dedicate to work, family or play. Now write the actions that consume you in those times and circle those you spend most of your time on. Unless you’re a slave, you’re likely to choose those activities that naturally captivate you and that is an indication of your values. You’ll know it because others are likely to ask you to do it for them or perceive you to be naturally good at it.
Since money is a resource that must be replenished, what you spend your money on is a good indication of what’s important to you. Your attitude to money too will help you understand your true values as you’re likely to save or be more lenient with those things that are important to you.
What you hear yourself constantly saying to yourself and others in relation to yourself, your hopes and fears and important indicators of your core values. They occupy a space in your mind because you have chosen them, and if you find yourself repeating those ideas more frequently through speech or thought then they’ve definitely more important to you.
Your friends and acquaintances are an indication of your values as humans gravitate toward the means to fulfil their needs. Every heard the maxim that show me a man’s friends and I’ll show you his future? This is true because your choices are expressed in what society you choose for yourself. What they value are often consistent with your values, just as a famous personality you look up to is admired because you see in them what you wish to be.
Ok now let’s get a clearer glimpse of yourself from all the information you’ve just gathered. Look over all that you’ve written and find all the action words. List them all on a separate sheet of paper and begin applying yourself as follows:
Imagine or remember yourself doing any of the identified actions. Daydream as you please but pay particular attention to how you felt doing them. If they bring about warm fuzzy feelings then they’re likely to be a value for you while those actions that don’t sit well on the chest are an indication of areas where you feel compelled to act, possibly for money or social cohesion, but you’d rather not.
Imagine yourself again!
Go on, imagine yourself standing in the clothes you’re wearing right now in the place you already are. Are you smiling, indifferent, sloppy, hyper, at peace or ‘dunno’? Whatever you see is a product of your choices so see if you can link those choices to the value system you’ve just discovered as yours.