Know Yourself

Why knowing your values is important

Photo: Sandy SQ

The world appears to be on the fast track of change. Climate change has triggered a global movement that already has gained traction with several governments and businesses committing to reduce plastic waste. Only last week, The World Economic Forum published their new World Trade Uncertainty Index noting a sharp rise in uncertainty. Many businesses focus on work-life balance and well being while at the same time employees experience an increasing demand for instant responses. Statista reports that close to 4 of 10 adults in the US had an increase of their stress levels over the past year. There are numerous other such examples to be found all over the web or in our surroundings. You may wonder how this is related to this article. Read on.

Changes in our environment directly impact our behaviour. Think about how road work forces you to take another route, how a traffic jam can mess up your schedule or how a storm crosses your plans. We are constantly effected by changes. Some are easy for us to adapt to and others cause us a great deal of stress. The question is how do you respond to such external changes ?

Losing important items

Photo: Sydney Harbour Bridge by Sandy SQ

A few years back, when I was travelling and had just stopped for a few months working in Sydney, Australia, my bag was stolen. All the important pieces, such as diary, passport, credit cards, camera and phone were inside. The first thing that I called out in shock was the fact that my diary was gone. All my reflections, travel dates and locations I had written down were lost. A few seconds later I realised that all the other items were lost too. After looking around, checking with by-passers whether they have noticed something, I knew what had to be done. I went to the police, blocked my credit cards, informed my family and moved from the hostel to a friend I had only met that week. On the way I encountered a security guy in front of a bar asking me how I liked Sydney. I could have told him how awful my experience was dwelling on the recent happenings. Instead I told him about the good experiences I have had in that first week only briefly mentioning the stolen bag. What surprised me was that he sincerely cared for my well being. He gave me a 20 dollar bill to help me survive which, after initial doubts, I gratefully accepted. A week later, after I got a new phone with a new sim card for my number, I had a voice mail from a hotel informing me that my diary had been left at their reception. The item with the highest personal value, the first thing I noticed gone, I got back.

I strongly believe that by remaining calm I have allowed myself to experience the kindness of my friend allowing me to stay and the guy who helped with some money. There is more to this story however. The day before my bag was stolen, I had started a job. I hated it and I was determined to find other work. With no access to money I had to stick with the job that to me had now become the most important asset I had.

Knowing what is important to you is one of the keys to get to where you want to be.

Photo: Sandy SQ

Knowing what is important to you is one of the keys to get to where you want to be. It will help you making right decisions even though they may seem seem wrong to other people. When changes in your environment forces you to act it is up to you to decide what steps to take to ensure you keep on top of what is important to you. Sometimes that means to face reality, to accept it and to do things that you may not like; just like the job that I hated yet had to do.

Many people are unhappy at work, yet they get up every morning, push themselves into jammed trains, getting stressed over their deadlines, work after hours and feel exhausted coming home after a twelve or more hour day. If this is such a torture what are the reasons that they continue to go through it every single day? A few months ago, I had the pleasure to listen to Dr. John Demartini, a Human Behaviour Specialist, who pointed out in his talk that we do what is important to us. Unfortunately we often don’t realise what that is. On his website Demartini offers a free value assessment to determine what is truly important to you. The bottom line is that most people value the security of the job which feeds their family and pays the bills.

…it is time to take a step back and check what is important to you.

Photo: Blue Mountains, Australia, by Sandy SQ

If pressure in work increases, a family member need care, lots of trash is stranded on your local beach, the rent for your apartment has increased significantly or other factors in your environment become increasingly hard for you to accept or manage, it is time to take a step back and check what is important to you. Once determined, you will be able to take actions based on what you value most. If this means that you have to adapt then this will feel a lot less painful or if it means that you have to take a stance you are more likely to have the strength and the courage to see though the challenge no matter how long it will last. Knowing your values is important so that you can remain focussed on your agenda instead of being carried away by the fast changing world.

I am curious to know your experiences with knowing your values and how this has helped you through tough times. Please let me and your fellow readers know by commenting below.

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