In the past, I’ve written about the importance of living in alignment with your values. However, I’ve touched only briefly on the values I consider to be beneficial.
Now I’d like to go deeper, listing a few values I believe provide the basis for a successful, satisfying life. You may want to honor and uphold other values, of course. That’s entirely up to you. But regardless, I urge you to do the introspection and the personal analysis necessary to discover what you truly value, and then to exhibit and express those values in terms of what you say and do.
Here we go with a list of some values I believe in:
Somewhere at the deepest level inside you lurks a person who knows what s/he wants, believes, and cares about. The more consistently you allow this person to dictate what you say and do, the more your work and your life can be said to be authentic.
In some ways, it’s challenging to be fully authentic. First, there’s often an urge to go along with others. On the other hand, your values may occasionally drive you to swim against a strong tide of others’ opinions and beliefs. In addition, your values may lead toward choices or actions that make your life more difficult or even disadvantage you long term.
Nevertheless, a great deal of experience suggests that authenticity is rewarding enough to more than compensate for the challenges it sometimes presents and the problems it sometimes causes.
It turns out that behavior driven from your deepest levels tends to be rewarding at your deepest levels, too.
Studies show that over the course of a lifetime, the most important factor in building a happy, satisfying life is the number and quality of your caring relationships.
The simple truth is this: other people are immensely important in your life. You will benefit more from who you know and how they feel about you than from what you know or how much material wealth you accumulate.
Valuing your relationships with other people is a directional arrow pointing toward caring about others, offering help where you can, and keeping close with the people who make you feel good about yourself.
There’s plenty to be afraid of in this world, but courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s the willingness to move forward despite whatever fear you may feel.
The good news is you can cultivate courage as if it were a muscle: start by accepting easy challenges, then strengthen your courage by slowly and steadily taking on more and more daunting challenges.
Of course, as with strengthening any muscle, cultivating courage entails occasional failure. It’s an integral part of the growth process. Just as strength-training involves occasionally trying to lift too much weight, you’ll occasionally encounter challenges to your courage that arouse too much fear.
Most times, this inability to overcome a fearful challenge is only a temporary setback. As you grow more courageous, you will overcome previously insurmountable challenges and afterwards feel ready to move on to the next one.
It may have killed the cat, but curiosity nurtures the human mind. When you give free rein to your curiosity and take steps to satisfy it, you tend to keep experimenting, exploring, and learning – the results of which are often deeply rewarding.
What’s more, cultivating and satisfying your curiosity makes you smarter and better informed. You will understand more of what’s going on around you, make better choices, and be more resistant to dangerous temptations, including con artists and cult leaders.
Most people find experimenting and exploring are inherently interesting and exciting. What ‘s more, they often lead you through some unexpected experiences. These help you discover your strengths and weaknesses, which in turn helps you build your confidence and courage.
There’s really no downside to curiosity. It’s never wrong to question what others tell you or even what seems obviously true. I am often guided in this area by one of my favorite bumper stickers: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think.”
When you behave authentically and you care about other people, you set yourself up for situations in which you can support and accept another person. Aside from any practical benefits, your consistent loyalty allows them to be more authentic, particularly in their behavior toward you. The results include mutual feelings of trust and closeness that lead directly to happiness and personal satisfaction.
Loyalty is always important, but it’s even more so when a person you care about is in trouble, facing difficulties, or feeling low. Times like these are when your expressions of loyalty – through both words and deeds – can make a significant difference for the better in the other person’s life, and in yours.
You may hold other values in addition to or instead of these. I won’t argue with you about any of that. But I actively maintain that whatever values you may hold, from time to time identifying them and reaffirming that your life reflects them is a great way to stay on the path to success and satisfaction.
Next time, I’ll cover more values I believe in.
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