It’s all about values!

Back then I wasn’t doing anything near excellence. Every morning it felt like I was shaking hands with the Devil “Good morning Ma’am getting ready for a new day?” Reluctantly I got myself out of bed to start what seemed to be just another Groundhog Day. I had a lot of great and meaningful goals like getting a new toothbrush. But in reality I was polluting my life like Exxon Valdez spilling bitterness everywhere and left nothing of worth behind.

When moving because you have decided to Make A Change – there are some things to consider (obviously). And that is what this blogpost is about (hint: it’s about your values).

To make a long story short; I sat down and took a raw and unfiltered look at my values. This turned out to be somewhat difficult because to begin with I didn´t really understand the question. But then I goggled it and understood that your values are actually very important.

Your values are your light posts. Photo: Daniel Petreikis

Basically it is like this: Your values are light posts that shines on the path of life that you have chosen. Every light post is something that matters to you. Like losing weight and do something about those dangling elephant ears hanging from under your arms. Or spend hours every weekend cleaning the house. Or studying to become a lawyer.  Whatever matters to you.

The Origin of your Values

You see, your values are forming your life. That is why it is so important to have good values instead of shitty ones. And it is very important to sort out if your values are some that you carry along just because your parents gave them to you (and so they really reflect their way of life and not yours).

Or are your values something you learned from school or peers. Whatever they are your values should be some that you deliberate picked. And you should also know what they are.

Shiny Objects and Flashy Things

I used to have lousy values. And I admit – when my future, wiser me are looking back at this -I might very well say the same about the values I have to day. But that’s ok because I am evolving and doing the best I can.

The way I used to measure the quality of life was by a scale that involved things like having a great car, making a lot of money and living in a big house. Basically I loved spending money on shiny objects and flashy things. Those are all very good. Except, really they are not.

I still like all those material things; I just toned it down a bit. Photo: Charisse Kenion

The reason why the scale you use to measure your values and goals are important is that it can either lead you into a dead end “Exxon Valdez” theme for your life – or it can actually help you to feel descent about yourself.

Say Hello to your Midlife Crisis

It this getting to hairy for you? Just think about this: If your scale for success is “buy a house and a nice car” and then you spend twenty years working your ass off to achieve it – then what? The scale has nothing more to give you. And you can say hello to your midlife crisis. Because the goal you had is now achieved and what are you gonna do now?

The things that drove you are now taken away from you. The things that helped you getting up in the morning are gone. You find yourself with no more opportunities to grow and improving.

Basically goals like that are fine to keep you moving but as a guideline for your overall life they suck.

Switching from Auto Pilot

As you reevaluate your values you will be met with internal and external resistance along the way. Friends and family may protest and more than anything you will feel uncertain. You will wonder if what you are doing is wrong. But that is a good thing. Because that means you are switching from Auto Pilot to manual steering. You are being deliberate with what you put as your values.

Unlike before I don´t give a shit about everything all the time. Photo: Pina Messina

Looking back on my life I realize my crisis was not material. It was existential and spiritual. I had so much stuff and so many opportunities that I didn’t know what to give a shit about anymore.

I believe the more options we’re given the less satisfied we become with whatever we choose. Possibilities make us aware of all the other options we’re potentially forfeiting. Our desire for certainty, perfection and success makes us unhappy.

Am I a crazy Hippie?

Now it is different. Okay, I realize that I sound like some kind of crazy hippie living on whatever Mother Nature graciously gives me. I’m not and I don´t. I still like all those material things; I just toned it down a bit.

Unlike before I don´t give a shit about everything all the time. I don’t care about getting a new TV.  Or that my colleagues go on better vacations. I don’t spend hours finding the right nuance of blue for the living room carpet that goes well with the pillows and coasters.

I also don’t make as much money any more. I can still buy stuff (but not as often) and I think through if those shoes really are necessary (they are!). Cutting down on my salary was hard in a major way. A high salary used to be one of my prestige things. It made me feel good and sometimes even a little better than other people. Yeah – I didn’t say I was a saint. I am just being honest here.

Stay tuned. My next post is me shifting gear. Suddenly I find myself unemployed and I will let you know how I go about finding a new job. Hint: It aint easy!

Previous articles in the series  2 Things to rememberEconomic Independence, Out of the Cave , The Greatest Lie , You Might Not be Likeable  , Who will you bring to a deserted island  and Farting Unicorns

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