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, and most of that was just the last time I posted.
Last time, I went 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 second list of some values I believe in:
Another of my favorite bumper stickers is: “Life Is Short. Eat Dessert First.”
Sure, it’s funny. But it also contains some truth: The activities that bring us joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, and pleasure are among life’s treasures. Without them, life becomes a dull routine. Without them, motivation fades. Without them, there’s little reason to get out of bed in the morning or show up for whatever comes next in your work and your life.
Recognizing the importance of simple pleasures will help you enjoy the sky, the sun and the moon, as well as the many little moments that life regularly offers anyone who is willing (and smart enough) to pay attention.
Valuing pleasure will drive you to schedule activities you’ll enjoy right along with your obligations. Trust me: no matter how much you fear it, there’s no danger you’ll overdo this directive and dive so deeply into pleasure that you neglect everything else.
Assuming you don’t overdo the drudgery, taking responsibility where appropriate is an important element in putting together a successful, satisfying life.
First of all, exercising your ability to control some of the important elements in your life – paying your bills, taking credit and blame for your good and bad actions, taking care of others as appropriate, making sure important tasks, projects, and goals are completed, and so forth – just plain feels good.
But equally important, taking responsibility when and where you should – particularly when you’ve volunteered for it – is a membership card that gains you entry to the best parts of human society. Responsible people are asked to work on important tasks, projects, and goals. They are accorded respect and privileges. They are accepted as friends and partners by admirable, accomplished people.
This membership card is available to you, immediately and forever. All you have to do is step up and take it.
The companion value to authenticity, truth is a standard that offers great dividends for those who honor it. These include:
Allowing for peace of mind: When you tell the truth, you feel good about yourself. You can have pride in yourself and confidence in your willingness to be honest with others.
Showing your regard for other people: When you tell the truth, you send a message to others that you trust and respect them.
Earning respect and admiration: When you tell the truth, you establish yourself as someone others can trust and confide in. You also signal your awareness of what’s going on around you and your ability to handle whatever the world sends your way.
Establishing a foundation for deeper, stronger relationships: When you tell the truth, you make clear you are not keeping secrets from the other person. You establish an important basis for a tighter personal bond.
Offering opportunities for others to change and grow: When you tell the truth, you communicate your appraisal that the other person is capable and strong enough to accept and live with the information you are sharing.
The best answers to questions like “Does this outfit make me look fat?” or “Is my hair turning grey?” may not always be the strict truth. But the practice of telling “little white lies” to grease the gears of social interaction does not undercut the important of keeping truth on the table regarding everything that’s important.
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.
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