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Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.

Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.
    Photo credit: qas (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    Before I begin, I need to give full credit of this post to Rob Lawrence, a great friend of mine and the co-author of a book we wrote together called Get Noticed. Rob is also a creativity coach who has inspired me on numerous occasions with his advice. One particular instance was when he was telling me about measuring values.

    I can’t quite remember how it came up, but Rob and I were having a conversation about how personal values can change over short periods of time and how you can measure them. Rob suggested to me that my personal values are largely defined by two things; how I spend my money, and how I spend my time.

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    It’s a simple concept, but when you think about it we all have two main commodities which we can spend as we choose; time and money. Therefore, how we decide to allocate those two commodities should indicate which things we value more than others.

    In June 2011 I decided to open up my bank statement to see where I was spending my money. I was shocked to see that I was spending almost a fifth of my income on rent (something I don’t feel I valued highly) and also how little I was spending on eating out (something I thought I valued much more).

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    My Values

      Four months down the line I revisited this task and was shocked by how much my spending has changed in such a small amount of time. A lot of things have changed over the past four months, but my rent now represents nearer to 10% of my income, which is good, but my car is now costing me 22% of my income, which is not something I’m too pleased about.

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      It’s important to note when doing this, that it’s more to do with what each category represents rather than the category itself. For example, despite 22% of my income being spent on driving, that doesn’t mean I love driving, it means that I value seeing new places and getting to work on time. The 19.3% that I spend eating out is more to do with spending time with colleagues, friends, and my girlfriend, than it is about a love for eating in restaurants.

      How you spend your day is who you are

      Last month I realised that I’m as much a writer as I am a social media guy. When people asked me “what do you do?” my immediate reaction is to say “I work in social media at a digital marketing agency”, but in reality I probably spend more time writing books and blog posts than I do working at the agency, therefore, it’s probably fair to say that I’m predominantly a writer.

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      Analyzing how you spend your time can be a very insightful activity to do from various angles, but looking from the perspective of “what are my values” can show you how much value you place on different friends, family, work, side projects, sleeping, keeping fit and other things that you spend your days doing.

      How knowing your values can improve your lifestyle

      All of this information is great, but unless you do something with it it’s worthless.

      I recommend analyzing how your money and time is spent for one month, and then writing down five things you want to decrease your spend on, and five things you’d like to increase your spend on. Then several months down the line revisit this exercise and see how you’re getting on.

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      Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.

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      Last Updated on December 2, 2019

      10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

      10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

      Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

      In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

      These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

      1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

      Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

      But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

      Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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      2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

      You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

      The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

      3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

      If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

      Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

      If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

      4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

      Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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      To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

      In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

      5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

      We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

      If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

      Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

      “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

      6. Give for the Joy of Giving

      When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

      One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

      So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

      7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

      Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

      Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

      When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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      So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

      9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

      Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

      It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

      It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

      10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

      There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

      But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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      Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

      More About Living a Fulfilling Life

      Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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