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8 Benefits Of Identifying Your Values

8 Benefits Of Identifying Your Values

What does the word value mean to you? Can you define it?

Values are what you believe matter most in life. Everyone’s values are different. Some common values are love, success, friendship, intelligence, and respect.

As children, our parents and teachers pass values on to us and we live our lives based on what they’ve taught us is important, be that kindness, friendship, listening, etc. But as adults we must determine what is of most value to us on our own. Some of the values from childhood may stay the same, but you may realize that others have become increasingly more important as you have grown and changed. Tolerance, gratitude, and family, for example, may be of huge significance to you now.

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So, without further ado, here are 8 benefits of identifying your values.

1. Values help you find your purpose.

Have you already figured out the purpose of life? If not, as is the case for most of us, values can help answer the all-encompassing question, “What is my purpose in life?” You can’t expect to know what you want out of life if you don’t know what is important in life. Knowing what you value gets you that much closer to an answer. Think about it.

2. Values help you react in difficult situations.

Values are guiding principles for behavior. They can help ensure you behave in a way that matches who you want to be at your core. People often react quickly in situations, especially difficult ones, and they don’t always take the time to think about what they are doing before they do it. You can use your values to reflect on situations, too, to decide, for example, if you need to apologize for something. What a helpful little tool!

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3. Values help you make decisions.

When you come across the need to make a decision, your values can help you make the right call. Sometimes emotions get in the way of good decision making, but if you stop to ask yourself, “What would someone who values X do in this situation?” then you just might be able to come to a more clearheaded, less emotionally-affected decision.

4. Values help clear out clutter.

Do you ever want to eliminate excess baggage from your life? Identifying your values will help you rule out the things you really do not want, need or believe are important. People are consumed with so much these days. Weed the time- and energy-wasting things out of your life!

5. Values help you choose the right career.

All career paths come with pros and cons, we know that. But when you know what matters most to you, you can be sure you are choosing the right career path. If you value connection, interaction, and friendship, for example, then it’s possible a work-at-home job may not be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you value travel, wealth, and conversation, then maybe a traveling sales job is perfect for you. Sometimes knowing your values can even help you determine if a promotion is the best idea for you. Who knew saying no to a promotion could be a good idea?

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6. Values help you develop a sense of self.

Knowing your values means you can develop strong opinions about important subjects. You don’t want to just believe what your parents believed. You can’t just say you believe you what your friends believe. You need to figure out what you truly believe, and then you can share your honest self with others. This is important!

7. Values help increase your confidence.

Identifying your values increases your level of confidence because it brings about a sense of stability and safety to your life. When you know what you want, it doesn’t matter what other people want. When you know what is important to you, it doesn’t matter what is important to other people. This will naturally bring a sense of confidence to your life.

8. Values help your overall happiness level.

If you combine the results from benefits one though seven, then you have likely improved your life. You’ve developed a purpose, reacted better in difficult situations, made good decisions, found the right career, developed opinions, and increased your confidence. It’s fair to say you might just feel a little happier!

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If you’ve never identified your values before, here’s a quick how-to guide to get you going on your process.

Make a big list of values (love, achievement, trust, compassion, wealth, honor, appreciation, etc.) or use a page like this. You can set a timer if you want, but it’s not necessary. As you read through, circle the ones that pop out at you—the ones that you feel are part of you. You can mark as many as you’d like at the start, but after you have your initial list, try to cross off the ones that don’t seem quite as important to you. Aim to get the list down to 10 or 15 values. Put these in order of importance if you can. Ta-da! Now you have your Top 10 (or 15) values. Don’t worry, though, values are not static. They change and evolve with us as we grow.

Here are my ever-evolving Top 10 values as of February 2014: love, family, personal development, integrity, honesty, acceptance, gratitude, laughter, kindness, and education.

What are yours?

Featured photo credit: al shep via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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