Values – Personal Core

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What Exactly Are Values?

Value can fall into several arenas:

  1. Economic – the material worth of something compared to the monetary price paid.
  2. Utility/Importance – something held in high regard due to its usefulness or importance to you.
  3. Aesthetic – this could technically be a part of Utility/Importance, above, but has a more specific relation to art, beauty, harmony and nature such that it elicits a pleasurable experience for the viewer.
  4. Personal-Core/Ethical – what’s most important to you in life; the guiding principles of your life that dictate action & behavior; it defines who you are.

The primary focus of this article is #4 – Personal Core values.  These are principles, standards or convictions we feel are deeply important to our lives.  Theoretically, these elements of our core should drive our daily activities and behavior – serving as a compass or beacon for our actions.  They are instilled in us culturally throughout our life as we grow and learn.

Rarely, though, does anyone attempt to actually identify their core values.  Because of this, and the chaos and lack of focus they experience daily, they find themselves with a nagging feeling something is missing.  Let’s change that.  Let’s live life with self-confidence and direction. Let’s make better and more confident decisions.  Let’s eliminate the time vampires in our lives if they don’t align with our values.  Let’s embrace what’s really important and drive up our joy and happiness quotient.

 

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A “Default” Life

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day chaos.  Our attention is yanked left and right by the pressing urgency of our work & personal lives, and this is compounded by HUGE distractions thrown in our face every day via daily news drama.

If we choose NOT to take an active role in our life direction, it takes zero effort to allow our lives to be pulled into the mire of mundane chaos, depression and hopelessness that seems to surround us.  Days, weeks, months and years pass by; what have we really accomplished?  Are we happy? Or are we frustrated and exhausted?

Did we do what’s required of us in our job?  Did we do what’s required of us for our family, spouse, kids?  Did we do what’s required of us by any social or religious organizations? Did we vent a sigh of relief when we finally were able to sit and idle our minds and body once our daily regimen of responsible duties are complete?

Then……what did we do?  Did we tackle the important things in our personal lives that matters to us as individuals?  Did we pick up the activities we consider passions and pursue them with satisfied pleasure?  Or, were we too pooped-out for our passions?

This describes a “default” life – trying to live by a myriad of other values rather than yours (friend’s, church, education, professional/career, political, etc.).  The result is dissatisfaction, restlessness and anxiety . . . knowing something isn’t right . . . your life isn’t in control.

 

Moving Towards Living a ‘Designed’ Life

By identifying your core values you can live a more directed life, make more intelligent and better decisions, and focus on the things that really matter to you.  Having these values in the forefront of your mind helps you clearly identify priorities, eliminate drains on your time and energy, and enjoy a more focused, joyful life. You don’t get yanked about in an aimless direction by anything and everything that comes your way.  We should strive to live a life by “design” rather than by “default.”

Don’t get me wrong, the myriad of demands and choices doesn’t stop coming your way.  But by knowing your core values you’re prepared to take a stand and make decisions about what you focus upon.

 

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How to Identify Your Core Values

This type of activity can be found in personal improvement books and websites.  You can simply Google core values or core values list and find many sites with lists and exercises to accomplish the task.

A couple of the best sites I found are linked below.  Each of these requires you to spend some time on introspection and reflection rather than just picking values from a list:

A couple of sites that have nice lists of values:

 

There are many benefits of living around your core values: satisfaction, contentment, happiness, fulfillment, purpose, meaning, peace of mind, self-confidence, harmony, success.  These are the result of living an authentic life without confusion, guilt or shame.

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Is this activity producing value?

You’ll feel a sense of discovery and satisfaction after developing your list of top values.  Review it periodically as a continual reminder of what’s deeply important to you.

Each day, find ways to focus on activities that align with those values.  Eliminate as many activities and areas of focus that do not align.  (I wouldn’t recommend quitting your source of income, unless you have your dream job already lined up.)

The minutes of your life are finite.  Use them the best way possible, rather than squandering them aimlessly.  Make your life the best it can be.

Consider some of the following throughout your days and weeks:

  • Are the hours of my life creating value for me?
  • Does the decision I’m about to make align with my values?
  • Is the activity I’m about to partake in going to produce value in my life?  Does it support my core values?
  • Is the purchase I’m about to make going to provide value to my life?  Does it support my core values?

 

My Values

I went through an exercise five to ten years ago to identify my values.  They are (in no particular order):

  • Discovery/Learning/Knowledge, Truth/Accuracy, Beauty/Aesthetics, Growth/Self-Actualization, Freedom/Self-Reliance/Individualism, Integrity, Justice, Results, Creating/Building

Yes, this is more than the 5 or 10 the articles suggest.  However, I resonate with all of them and enjoy the reminder of their importance to my life.  Ultimately these values are what drove my selection of the Categories and Sub-categories used on this blog.

I use these to identify my life’s goals and document the important focal activities to pursue in something called a Strategy On A Page (SOAP).  This SOAP includes a list of those values plus areas of aligning focus for my life’s interests and pursuits.  I reference this through the year to ensure alignment to what’s most important.

The whole process of identifying and embracing my values has created more happiness and contentment in my life – a goal we should all embrace!

BeYourself

 

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

 

 

 

Carpe Diem!

Over the last several months my wonderful wife bought some really nice pop-open cards, all titled “CARPE DIEM.”  She hides them here-and-there for me to find and writes something sweet on the back of them.

1029162348a_hdrAfter popping open the perforated cover of the card, inside each is a quote that shares an inspiring thought for personal growth and self-actualization.  This is particularly nice because it fits right into the niche I’ve been passionately pursuing for the last couple of decades – to learn, to grow, to live fully, to expand my horizons!

Some of the quotes:

“Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will.”   – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Visualize this thing you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin”     – Robert Collier

“If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page.”    – Mark Houlahan

“… parade through each day convinced that every task… brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.”     – Og Mandino

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”     – Muhammad Ali

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it.”     – Earl of Chesterfield

“Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly.”     – Henry J. Kaiser

“The future is always beginning now.”     – Mark Strand

“Wake up with a smile and go after life.”     – Joe Kapp

“Make each day your masterpiece.”     – John Wooden

“It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.”     – Henry James

“The future starts today, not tomorrow.”     – Pope John Paul II

“We know nothing of tomorrow; our business is to be good and happy today.”     – Sydney Smith

“What we do today, right now, will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows.”   – Alexandra Stoddard

“Each day comes to me with both hands full of possibilities…”     – Helen Keller

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”     – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.”     – Dale Carnegie

“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.”     – Wayne Dyer

“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.”    – Ruth Ann Schabacker

“Grab life by the handlebars.”     – Unknown

 

 

What is “Enriched Living?”

I wanted to call this category “Renaissance Living” but didn’t want to appear presumptuous or portray something I’m not. Ideally my attitude over the last 25 years has been to try and mimic the adventurous spirit of discovery that my grandmother, Elsie Lacy, embraced in her life. For me, growing up as a child, my grandmother was a beacon of getting out of her comfort zone and experiencing as much about life and culture as she could.

She didn’t have a college education but she didn’t let that deter her spirit of adventure. I’ve never been clear if she always had elements of being a renaissance woman throughout her life or just in her last 25 to 30 years. She read voraciously, she painted in oils, she learned to play the organ, she would take me and my brothers everywhere. She would take us to the fair each year and didn’t shy away from walking through the livestock pavilion and dodging animal droppings everywhere – making sure we visited everything. Some of the other places she wanted to make sure I experienced:

  • The old river wharf with its old boats
  • Regular trips to the library
  • The old Seventh Street train depot to see a vintage steam engine
  • A civil rights march in the 60s
  • Speed Art Museum
  • Shakespeare In the Park
  • Historic neighborhoods with their beautiful homes
  • Parks throughout Jefferson County
  • The Devonian fossil beds on the river
  • She took my youngest brother on a train trip to Florida to visit her son’s family

It seemed like her goal was to expand her (and her grandchildren’s) wings far beyond the mundane daily lives of most people. She even told me she shot the Falls of the Ohio in a canoe when she was a teenager. Now, that’s what I call living!

Her influence affected my greatly. I’ve always seemed to want to build, create, read, learn, discover, travel, see, do, experience – seizing as much of the vibrancy of life as possible.

My goal is to become the maximum individual I can be in this brief time on Earth; to delve into as many passions and interests as possible; and to learn and discover as much as possible.

So, for me, Enriched Living includes . . . .

  • Growth & Self-Actualization
  • Wonder & Living Enriched
  • Finances & Prosperity
  • Purpose & Vision

Growth & Self-Actualization

Move beyond self-imposed limitations. Learn and discover as much as possible. Cultivate a deep desire to constantly refine and change – to grow to my maximum. To live with an extremely high level of self-confidence. Challenge my beliefs and paradigms. Expand both my right (artistic) and left (analytic) sides of my brain. Live beyond the mundane. Question, seek, discover, soar. Create and savor an awesome, enriched life.

Wonder & Living Enriched

Seek out and appreciate beauty and wonder wherever it can be found. Satiate the soul by experiencing and creating beauty. Feed your passion for a full and meaningful life. Embrace gratitude. Live the life you imagine. Get things done. Don’t be a couch potato. Experience as much as you can. See as much of the world as you can. Live as much of a Renaissance life as possible. Expand your horizons.

Finances & Prosperity

Define your own success and prosperity. Practice some sound financial behavior. Eliminate your debt. Plan for your retirement but don’t entirely abandon a pleasant life now for a distant future. Understand “want” versus “need.” When is enough, enough? Live enriched without spending unwisely. Make smart decisions – not simply what everyone else is doing.

Purpose & Vision

Identify your mission in life. What is your purpose? What is a vision versus goals? Do some life planning. Visualize. Don’t aim too low. Tackle big stuff by ‘chunking’ it into more sizable bites. Live intentionally and passionately. Seek truth. Relish in the spirit of discovery. Think for yourself. Control your own destiny. Don’t go to the grave with the song still in you.

Enriched Living . . . .

Ultimately you should have an inner sense of genuine satisfaction, sincere gratitude, wonder and awe at the beauty of nature and resonating art, a high-level of self-confidence and growth satisfaction. Make sure you get out of your comfort zone and experience as much as possible. Create your own personal aesthetic at home that resonates with your soul (your “Elysium”).

Don’t forget that there’s even a beautiful aesthetic in discovery of little-known truths and elegant knowledge. Seek truth, beauty and freedom.