There is a lot of talk about the importance of setting goals, fighting procrastination, and learning new skills. Every day we hear slogans like: „love yourself first and everything else falls into line” or „if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life”. There is nothing wrong with them, but they may turn out to be useless if we don’t know what is actually behind them. 

Everyone would like, as if by magic, to have more confidence and a job that never gets boring. Part of the problem is that our expectations are too high and that is a great topic for another post. On the other hand, there must be something to it. Otherwise no one would repeat it over and over again like a mantra.

I think that many of these popular slogans deal with quite common problems: self-acceptance, living in harmony with yourself, and making your innermost dreams come true. Although I know that there is no one solution to all these struggles, there is one topic that connects them all: values.  

What are values?

Let’s start by explaining what they actually are. Values define everything that is desirable, worthy, and valuable to the individual; what is the goal of human endeavor. They are neither goals nor feelings, although closely related to them. Values tread the path we walk on every day, by being a signpost in which direction we should move in order to be fulfilled. 

It’s not all roses. There are consequences to following your values. Especially when this topic is new to you, and before that, you were guided by what others considered important. It may turn out that resistance and discouragement arise when you want to change your behavior. Why is it worth taking the risk then? 

To answer this question, I want you to take a look at what death row patients consider their greatest regrets. I know it may seem scary, but having this knowledge can help you see what is really important in life. 

Top 5 regrets of the dying:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
5 regrets of the dying - FlowStick Ensemble

Do you see any similarities? The number one regret is the lack of courage to live true to oneself! Values are not just another buzzword. Whether you want it or not, you have to be guided by some values in your life. It’s only up to you if they’re yours. 

I’m glad we cleared that up. Then let’s move on to something pleasant: discovering your values. There are few methods you can use to identify what’s important to you. In this article, I want to introduce some simple methods so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by this topic. 

How to find your values:

1. Time travel

Think about the time when you were a child. What were you most excited about? What were you passionate about? Who did you want to become? Others have a big influence on our lives. No wonder that we often adopt someone else’s behavior, attitudes, and even goals and values. Sometimes it’s positive and useful and sometimes it’s not. In this excess of information, it is difficult to find what we really want, so I encourage you to take a little time travel. Perhaps you will remember something that was once obvious to you…

2. Who do you admire the most?

  1. List a few people whose lives inspire you. What do they have in common? Write down anything that comes to your mind. 

3. Write down your values.

Start by writing down all the words that express your goals, aspirations, and ambitions, and the most important aspects of your life. You can use any list of values that are available on the internet and choose the ones that suit you best. However, it is worth doing this exercise yourself first, and then check it against a list.

4. Choose the 5 values that are the most important to you.

 Be honest and ruthless with yourself. Not everything you do has to be a priority right away. Also, do not be influenced by what you do most often, because it may turn out that you live by someone else’s rules. Think about what drives and passionates you, who / what you love the most. Compare your answers with the previous questions. 

5. Follow your values.

Now the hardest part. Analyze your life and see if you live up to your values. 

Freedom FlowStick Ensemble

When you choose your values, compare your most important goals. Check if they coincide with what you value most in your life. If so, congratulations! you are on the right way. If not, don’t worry Now you can change that. Reevaluate your goals to fit your values. Hope you won’t have to regret anything in your life after this exercise! 

This post is a part of series about organization tactics. Firstly, we wanted to talk about the importance of knowing your values. In the next post, we will discuss tactics on how to organize yourself.

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