I meet many people who seem discontent with their life. On the surface they have it all, or so it seems, but they appear unsettled, directionless and incongruent.
Whenever I find myself in that spot (and we all do from time to time), I carry out a little exercise that helps me “re-align”.
The theory behind this inner work is that in order to be happy, we must live according to what is important to us—in other words, our values. So a little time spent assessing these values and their place in the scale of our priorities is not time wasted, or a game. This is one of the keys to feeling happy about our life.
There are many way to go about this:
1) The most straight forward way is to write down all the things that you love, and that are important to you. List them one under the other, in a line down the page. You should try to put down between 10 and 20.
2) Once you have done this, have try to Roughly organise them in order of priority. Example:
Things to be right
Some of your hobbies (writing, painting, walking, dancing, nature, any and all )
Integrity in my work
Harmony with others
3) Lastly, take your semi-organised list and do a comparison.
Starting at the bottom, compare the last two. Which one is the least important of the two? Then, go up notch by notch and you will have a list of the things that are important to YOU.
Everyone has their own set of values, and believe it or not, values change with the different stages of life—just as our needs change through our different phases.
Whenever I find myself getting a bit muddled, I do my values chart, checking to see if something important has perhaps gotten bumped off my daily or weekly activities.
Take the example of a second-hand car salesman. If this man has integrity as one of his values but for some reason he is forced to not be upfront about the defects of a car, it is going to weigh on him, and it will affect how he thinks of himself. Eventually he will come to a crossroads where he will either need to address this with his boss or he will need to change his job.
In order for all of us to feel fulfilled, we must live according to our values.
I hope this will be an inspiration for you, as you pause and reflect.
(Email me for other exercises and ideas to help you along your inner journey to satisfaction, well-being and overall happiness.)