Reform Some Values, Reform Your Life
What values do you need to become the person you are meant to be, and live your best life?
This is the question people on a self-reflection path ask themselves. Are you currently living the values you are supposed to? Or do you need to reform some to emerge a changed person? Many people realise that they become a better version of themselves when they reform their values.
The first part of this change is self-awareness. Before you can change your values, and ultimately your life, you must know the kind of person you are. Are you happy with your present self? Is this where you are meant to be? And what kind of changes do you need to attain your lifestyle goals?
Many people live the values they have been conditioned and programmed to live since they were children. But as we grow older and become more aware of the world and its changes, we will need to reform old values and add new ones. It is this reformation that makes us achieve our ultimate destiny.
And the list goes on.
Choose your values consciously and prioritise them
To become the best person you can be, it is essential to consciously choose your values and prioritise them. This is the core of profound change and individual transformation.
In his book, Discovering Your Authentic Core Values, Marc Alan Schelske, takes us through a step by step process of identifying our true-life values. These authentic values play a significant role in how we shape our life.
If you are concerned about your current values and what you need to do, start by doing this simple exercise. Write down your present list of “Moving-Toward values”, then beside it, make a new list of “Moving-Toward values”. A comparison will help you understand where you are now and steps you need to take to become what you are meant to be.
If you consciously chose your values, what would happen?
Knowing your values and clarifying them is one thing, but what if you consciously chose them and carefully prioritised them in order?
People would observe an enormous change in their life if they consciously selected or redirected the order and content of the values system, instead of merely knowing and clarifying them. A small decision you make in the order of your values can effect a significant transformation in your life.
For example, if your number-one value was safety, and number-ten value was adventure, switching them up could result in a totally different personality altogether. Instead of being more security-conscious, you would opt for living life on a thrill-seeking quest.
Consider the order of prioritisation of your values and contemplate what sort of person a change would make you become.
What would happen if you transformed the thought, emotional and behavioural processes in all aspects of your life
Reforming your values reforms everything.
The outcome is evident. When you do this, you instantly change the way you think, feel and behave in every part of your life. It would make an immensely profound impact on a person’s personality. Ideally, this is the kind of conversion that has been coveted through history; the transformation of Saul to Paul, and even in pop culture, Thomas Anderson to Neo (The One) in the Matrix trilogy. In many cases, things that you despised in the previous ‘life’ are those that you start to love.
What would you reform your values to be, if you must live your best life?
This is the main question you should ask yourself. What should your values become, to meet your potential and live your ultimate life?
It is easy to think you have the perfect set of values, and you don’t need more. Others simply accept themselves as “this is who I am”. Ideally, people may be “who they are”, but they have the power to reform themselves if they are not satisfied with who they are.
Therefore, self-awareness and mindfulness are important practices we must imbibe. They help us visualise who we currently are, who we want to be, and what to do to bridge that gap.
The values we often grow up with are not the result of a conscious choice or master plan. We are more than those values and can always reform or supplement them by making intelligent decisions.
If you decided to reform your own life by consciously creating a new set of values to shape your ideal destiny, what would they be?
5 Questions you should ask to reform your values system
To create and shape your desired destiny, you will need to ask yourself 5 questions. These questions will help you assess and reform your value hierarchy.
- What values do I need to create the right destiny, to become the best version of myself and make the biggest positive impact during my lifetime?
- Do I need an additional set of values, what are they?
- What ‘old’ values should I remove from my list to meet my desired destiny.
- What are the advantages of having these values in this order on my value hierarchy?
- Is my value hierarchy correct; what is the best order to help me reach my destiny?
Reordering your values; the value hierarchy
As you strive to become a better version of yourself, you may find out some important values are ‘missing’, or arranged in the wrong order. Sometimes, you may need to promote some values and relegate or even eliminate some.
Here are some examples:
If you are interested in impacting your immediate society, the ability to know, or being enlightened is very important. If you understand how the justice system works or how unfairly some people are treated, you will be in a good position to help them. Similarly, knowing how your life affects the environment directly, can spur a more sustainable living culture.
Making knowledgeability a priority in your hierarchy means taking conscious action to acquire new knowledge. Ask yourself what subjects you would like to know more. Write down your knowledge strengths and weaknesses. Are there books you should read, mentors you must seek, or classes you should attend?
The answers will determine the next step to take. Unless you make this value a priority, you might continue to fail at achieving your desired destiny.
If you have been under someone’s wing for a long time, and you want to take a more self-reliant approach, independence is one value you should prioritise. Realising your destiny can only happen when you assume an assertive role. Being independent gives you the freedom to think for yourself and take decisive actions.
Start by making small everyday decisions on your own. If you usually ask someone, pause and ask what you would do instead. “What would I do?” What should my home interior be? What am I accomplishing today? Where should I travel next vacation.
To become independent is to think for yourself, take responsibility and make a conscious decision to make your opinions matter. Are you a leader at work? Does your team respect your contribution? When you prioritise this value, you will observe an improvement in your general attitude.
What are you always buzzed about? What makes you excited when you wake in the morning? Your passion is key to your destiny because it feeds other values such as happiness, self-fulfilment and creativity. If you relegate your passion to the bottom-rung of the value hierarchy, you could be depriving yourself of some much-needed satisfaction.
Do you enjoy working with your hands? Maybe you light up every time you get the opportunity to fix a faulty appliance or design an apparel or paint a picture. Prioritise your passion by creating an ideal atmosphere for it. If you like wood work, your garage could double as a ‘workshop’. Buy some power tools, and spend time at the workshop, feeding your passion.
Anything can be your passion, as long as it gives you a purpose. Ask yourself if something at the top of the value hierarchy could be moved for your passion. For instance, if you are less keen about profit-making, and it is higher up the list than passion, a position switch will suffice.
Eliminating less important values from your list
Like the world around us, we change, and when we do, some values within lose priority or even become irrelevant. Sometimes, it is necessary to delete them to grow faster.
For instance, if you had a career change from being a wall street banker to a charity founder, your priorities will change automatically. While profit-making or investment might have been a top value before, empathy or contribution will become more relevant.
It is not unusual to reorder your values so that you can achieve maximum results in performance. Like before, write down your old values and a list of new ones beside it. See which old values can make it into the new list, then rearrange them in order of importance.
Activities that spur value reformation or reordering
Change is pervasive, and it will continue as the world exists. Similarly, your values will be subject to reformation. But what events lead to value change? How do you know when it is time to reorder your hierarchy?
The following requires a value review:
- Job change
If you have changed jobs, it is time to consider a value review, especially if it is in a different industry. A new job can affect your life goals and ultimately the values you need to reach them.
- Lifestyle change
This is one of the more popular reasons for value reformation. If you want to become a fitter, healthier version of yourself, your priorities will change. This means health and well-being will automatically climb to the top of the hierarchy.
- Family growth
If you have a growing family, obviously, the hierarchy of values you had as a single person or a couple without children will be different. Adventure or fun might take a back seat to allow economic security, safety and health to take more top roles in your life.
- New responsibility
Taking up a new responsibility is a good reason to consider reviewing your value reformation needs. Are you now an entrepreneur? The shift in roles will automatically lead to acquisition, promotion, or elimination of some values. Competitiveness, personal development and leadership are few necessary values for entrepreneurial success.
Finding your values
As certain events happen in your life, a value reformation is necessary. But some people find it hard to identify their values let alone reform them.
Henry David Thoreau said, “Rather than love, then fame, than money, give me truth”.
It is difficult to live your values if you are unaware of what they are. Your value is a quality or principle within you that is intrinsically desirable or valuable.
Finding and clarifying your values is an important step towards reformation.
What are your top 5 values?
It is easy to assume that you know yourself after all these years, but you would be surprised. We are naturally biased when it comes to self-appraisal. In fact, a significant number of people are under the misconception of how ‘talented’ they are. So, if you don’t know your values, don’t worry, you are not alone
Knowing your values means you know what you want, who you are and where you stand. One of the places to start is writing a list of your most perceived qualities. Start with as many values as you possibly could. You can refer to the list I wrote at the beginning of this post and the internet for a list of values.
The objective is to have a list of relevant values that really shape your life choices as well as your daily routine. Consider macro vs micro.
Narrowing down your top values
To identify your top values, you will need to break down the list. Try multiple times:
- Write your top 10
- Write your top 5
- Write your top 3
- Write your top value
Remember that it is not about discovering what you value, because chances are you value many items on the list. The idea is to find what you value the most.
Before you reform some values, you need to know your peak values so that you can have some benchmarks when you prioritise or make trade-offs.
One easy way to look at it that values are your life’s benchmarks. For instance, my top values from the previous list are:
However, it varies from time to time, because I will be including family welfare soon. I like to contribute too, so community service should be up there too. Some values require trade-offs and reformation with time.
Some mobile apps are designed to help improve the quality of life through sustainable values. If you are into healthcare and wellness, the GoTribe app is something you will like. For community contributions and volunteering, Golden is an effective mobile app.
Expect to be surprised
The first time you explore your values, you might be surprised. I only found out how valuable health and well-being was to me when it kept showing up on my list as I chunked down the original one.
I always thought travel and adventure were key values, but I have chalked them to passion. My passion is the love for going new places and meeting new people. So essentially, it still occupies the top-five spot.
As you write your own list, don’t be surprised to find out values you didn’t think were that valuable, showing up in the top-five.
Test your values
Simply listing your values is not enough. For better clarity, test them.
- Is it really your value? (Is it internally motivated? Or external)
- Is it a means to an end? (If the value is a means to accomplish another, you should consider focusing on that value you hope to accomplish. For example, if you want economic security because you believe it will bring you independence, then independence is what you value most. This is vital because there are several ways to achieve a goal and flexibility is important. Know your needs but apply a flexible strategy.)
- Do your actions reveal your values? (In other words, do you practice what you believe in?)
- When was the happiest or most exciting time in your life? What moment are you most proud of? The highlights of this event are a potential revalation of your values.
- What is your biggest regret? This is also a way to determine what matters most to you.
When you have a good list of your values, analyse them at intervals and major events in your life. See if you need to reorder your hierarchy, add to it or eliminate some values.
Whatever you do ensure it remains relevant to your perfect goal. That is, the kind of person you want to be to achieve the ultimate lifestyle.