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If You Haven’t Defined Your Values This Is Why You Need To

By: Eszter C.
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When you buy a new phone, you go into Settings, change the defaults, and customize it to your liking. You change the wallpapers, download the apps and tools you’ve grown accustomed to, and tweak a few minor preferences that help you use your phone in the most efficient way possible.

So, people change the settings on their phones, but they don’t change the default settings in their life. Here is what I mean. During your childhood, parents, teachers, and other influential figures passed down ideas. Societal standards, cultural traditions, and acceptance from peers passed on until they reached you. People from years ago, no smarter than you, programmed your modern views of reality. You can view this as a benefit or a hindrance. You see, principles play a significant role in your life. They determine your systems for a living. Beliefs are the internal compass that guides you towards your goals. They are the connection between your values and your behaviors that help you navigate the waters of reality and make decisions.

When you determine your values, the purpose of your life crystalizes. Decision-making becomes more natural because you know how to react to tough situations. Instead of always responding to circumstances, you start making choices based on what you want. Principles also make it clear what you should keep and what you should remove. They help you eliminate what is no longer serving you, which frees up time and energy to pursue the things that matter. You develop a strong sense of self and boost your confidence because you know what it is you desire.

Beliefs are shaped in many ways. They can be determined by your environment, small or large events in your life, past results, and knowledge. Once you understand the beliefs are malleable and are not absolute, you can think outside of the box and find principles that serve the way you want to live. You can live life on your terms. Beliefs you think are rational often have to do more with ideas of your family, culture, and peers have approved.

Once you understand that you can make your own beliefs, the world around you changes. When you believe something to be valid, the brain delivers the request to your nervous system. The body then senses that what you consider is accurate. If you identify yourself as an abundant source of wealth and a commander of money to make opportunities happen for you, your body will react to assume that it is true. Quite literally, your beliefs direct your actions. What you believe to be right is a choice. It’s a choice of how much of your potential you are willing to use.

Determining your beliefs is simple. Take out a sheet of paper and set a timer for 10 minutes. Next, start writing things that are important to you. Try to find the underlying beliefs that determined a decision you made. Make your values genuine and honest. Don’t think about what a successful individual’s purposes are and write those down. No, write what you believe. Once the 10 minutes are up, circle the 10-15 most important ones. Then, put them into categories. This step might take you a little longer. Don’t get frustrated. Sit with the words a little, then do something else and come back to it. Give each category a name or heading. By the end, you should have 3-5 sections. These are your core values and beliefs. They are the most important to you.

Values are not static. They evolve as you grow. Revisit them every so often, and reflect on them. Journaling or meditating can help with this. Do these values truly align with your internal compass? Are they moving you towards the goals you want to achieve? Principles connect values to actions. Once you define what beliefs you want to live your life by, you begin making decisions that bring you closer to your ideal self.

References:

  • Mandel, A. (2014, March 17). 8 Benefits of Identifying Your Values. Lifehack. Retrieved from lifehack.org/articles/communication/8-benefits-identifying-your-values.html
  • Patterson, R. (2015, November 17). How (and Why) to Define Your Values. College Info Geek. Retrieved from collegeinfogeek.com/how-and-why-to-define-your-values/
  • Dalio, R. (2018). Principles. Simon and Schuster.
  • Robbins, A. (2004). Unlimited Power. Simon & Schuster, Limited.
  • Lakhiani, V. (2016). The Code of the Extraordinary Mind. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.

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