Hey everyone! It’s finally Friday, the week is almost over, and the weekend is about to begin. It’s almost time to relax before getting back to reality.
Tomorrow I begin the moving process I’ve been anticipating for months. Although I haven’t started packing yet, I’m ecstatic to begin this semester in a new, termite-free condo. No longer will I be greeted with those pesky little suckers every morning and evening, and I couldn’t be happier. The only downside is that the new place is a lot smaller than the two-story townhome I was spoiled with, but it’s a lot cheaper, which will make saving for graduate school a little easier.
I have to say that furnishing a condo is a lot more stressful than I thought it was going to be. My roommate and I are each furnishing our own bedrooms, but we are splitting the common areas. Trying to get everything to match and fit nicely has been really difficult. But what’s been even harder is trying to find a bedroom set that isn’t astronomically expensive. Is it too much to ask for a decently sturdy, yet nice looking set? I’m not trying to look like I live in a mansion but I also don’t want to wake up with my bed having fallen on the floor!
That is life, so I’ve learned.
But enough of my tangent, it’s time to get our minds working. This week the topic is choosing our values. What constitutes good values and what makes bad values inherently poor?
We all know there are some values that are better than others. It’s probably better to value kindness than selfishness or humbleness over lavishness, but what about success versus honesty? They are both inherently good values, but there’s a difference.
What makes good values, like honesty, good is that they are lasting. They can always be expanded upon or worked on. We will never fully attain them, and we will always need to practice them. Bad values, like happiness, are those that can be satisfied in a few months or years. They have an endpoint. For example if we value happiness and chose to define it through material objects like cars, the moment we buy that car we will experience happiness…but the feeling fades. We immediately begin to look for the next thing to make us happy again…the next thing to satisfy our values. Before you question this, hear me out…
If we choose values that are attainable, what do we do once we attain them? Likely, we will become complacent, and becoming complacent is probably worse than having bad values. When we become complacent, we become stagnant, and stagnancy is the enemy of personal growth. We can think of this as the times in life where we feel stuck.
Often, we don’t notice these times until it’s too late…bills are piling up because we didn’t get the raise we needed, friends are making their way up in their respective companies while we have been in the same position for years, or maybe our relationships feel the same…we don’t feel a deeper connection to our friends, family, or significant other
This is the danger zone.
But we can avoid said danger zone by creating enduring values…values that we can always pursue and that always leave room for growth. Here’s a real-life example from a book I’m reading…
Pablo Picasso was famous for people watching. He loved doing so, and he often found inspiration from simply watching people in their daily activities. So as he sipped on his coffee at a little corner cafe, he began drawing what he saw on a napkin.
Of course, his beautiful doodle caught the eye of a woman sitting near by. She watched in awe as he effortlessly drew what might have been the most gorgeous napkin drawing this woman had ever seen.
After some time, Picasso finished his coffee, crumbled up the napkin, and threw it away. The woman stopped him exclaiming that he couldn’t do that to such a beautiful work of art. She then asked if she could have it. Pablo replied, “That’ll be $20,000.”
She was shocked and went on to argue that it took him but minutes to draw. It was outrageous for him to charge that much, especially if he was going to toss it. He replied, “Ma’am that took me 20 years to draw.” He grabbed the napkin and walked away.
Picasso easily could have sold his napkin for thousands of dollars, but he didn’t choose to measure his success with the value of money. He chose a deeper, more lasting value…honest expression. Picasso was inexplicably himself. He did what he loved to do and expressed himself in such a way that he never chased or became someone he wasn’t. He worked to be his best self.
And as simple as that sounds, it’s what made him successful. It’s what made his work loved by all. It’s why he was such a wise man.
The best values are a process…a never-ending one. My top values are self-awareness and personal regard. Those are two things that I can always work on, and I’ll probably never master, but that’s the point. I’ll always be working and striving to be the best I can be, which is my ultimate goal in life.
Each person values different things, that’s what makes us unique. Your values are most likely different from Picasso’s and my own. That’s because we each live individual lives, have specific needs, and face different challenges. So, don’t spend your life mimicking other individual’s wants and wishes. Define your life on your own terms.
So the question of the hour…how do we pick lasting values? Simple. We start. We start living our lives and noticing what’s important to us. We look within and find what ignites the fire within us. We reflect on our actions, what makes us smile, and what we seek throughout the day.
Unfortunately, this takes practice, which is why so many of us ignore it and go for the simple values of success, love, etc. No, these aren’t poor values on the surface, but they don’t require us to put in effort beyond a certain point.
This weekend, I challenge you to become inquisitive and to notice what makes you tick inside. Isolate it and revisit it over and over again. Chances are you’ll discover a part of you you never knew existed…an area of lasting and enduring values where happiness and success come as byproducts because that’s the thing. Those tangible values we think we crave come so much easier when we focus on the intangible. Why? Because we are always putting in the effort required to grow ourselves, and I believe life rewards those kind of people 🙂
What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? What are your defining values?
As always, thank you all for reading! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Wish me luck moving! Also, don’t forget to like, share, and comment below. I’ll talk to you on Monday 🙂
“Our values determine the nature of our problems, and the nature of our problems determines the quality of our lives.” ~ Mark Manson