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How to Discover Your Values and Use Them to Make Better Decisions

Creating a List Of Personal Values

The core values that are most valuable to each of us come from our own personal experience, not from being taught.

As you put them into practice you’ll get better at internalizing these values and they’ll express themselves subconsciously with smaller decisions, as well.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Discover Your Values and Use Them to Make Better Decisions

How to Discover Your Values and Use Them to Make Better Decisions

https://taylorpearson.me/core-values-list/

taylorpearson.me

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Key Ideas

Personal Or Core Values

They are what you consider most important in your life, literally what you “value. ” They are broad concepts that can be applied across a wide range of circumstances, as opposed to narrow answers to specific questions.

If you are conscious of them or not, you have values for every part of your life. And if they are in line with your goals you’re more likely to be successful.

The Benefits Of Having a Core Value

  • Having a core values list helps you make better decisions. The decisions you make come more quickly and efficiently than they would without it.
  • Being unconscious of your core values makes you likely to keep repeating the same mistakes.

Creating a List Of Personal Values

The core values that are most valuable to each of us come from our own personal experience, not from being taught.

As you put them into practice you’ll get better at internalizing these values and they’ll express themselves subconsciously with smaller decisions, as well.

Using a Personal List Of Values

  • Reflect on the past week, read your list of values and plan for the next.
  • Read it when you are struggling to make big decisions to find the right answer.
  • If more than one choice lines up with your core values, use reasoning and your feelings to decide.
  • Use it frequently to better internalize the values and begin to express them subconsciously in smaller decisions.

Discovering Your Personal Values

Many adopt values from other pre-packaged sources, like a religion, culture, or legal system. But, by adopting a value system without reflection, you make way for personal values that cause conflict between your perceived beliefs and the actions you take.

To find your own values:

  • Make mistakes and violate your current values. Good judgment comes from experience and that comes easy by making bad judgments.
  • Hear others clearly express a deeply held belief of yours you couldn’t articulate.

Examples Of Personal Values

  • Authenticity: to be authentic, genuine, and real; to be true to myself
  • Contribution: to contribute, help, assist, or make a positive difference to myself or others
  • Curiosity: to be curious, open-minded, and interested; to explore and discover
  • Fairness: to be fair to myself or others
  • Generosity: to be generous, sharing, and giving, to myself or others
  • Honesty: to be honest, truthful, and sincere with myself and others
  • Persistence: to continue resolutely, despite problems or difficulties
  • Respect: to be respectful toward myself or others; to be polite, be considerate and show positive regard
  • Responsibility: to be responsible and accountable for my actions

Takeaways On Making a Core Values List

Research shows that the happiest and most productive people take daily actions in line with their core values and get more easily into a state of flow. This gives them a constant sense of motivation because they see how their daily work leads to a long-term vision, meaningful to them.

Your personal values are specific to you and a result of your own life experiences. You can discover and refine your values through life experience or encountering ideas that resonate with you. Having a written list of your personal values will help you make better decisions.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

A Definition of values
A Definition of values

 “(Values) are the principles that give our lives meaning and allow us to persevere through adversity” 

- The Self-Confidence Workbook.&...

Choosing Core Values
  1. Choose your top 6-8 values from a wide-ranging list of values.
  2. Think of three to six people you most admire or love. Consider why they are so important to you. 

  3. See a career counsellor as they are able to help match their clients to a compatible career area.

  4. Use an online values inventory. 
  5. Observe yourself and learn. If you experience a lot of dissatisfaction with your choices, you may not be living up to your values or you may need to re-evaluate what is most important to you.
  6. Focus on the bitter and the sweet in your life. These moments could direct you to what you care about most.
Difficult Choices

At times two cherished values will be in conflict.  

Knowing why you are choosing Value 1 instead of Value 2 in that instance can be helpful in resolving any inner conflict you may feel.  

Choose Your Top Values

Select your top six to eight values. Some of these values may change as you face new situations.

Examples of values: financial security, compassion, health/fitness, nature, accomplishment,...

Think of the people you admire

Values can be personified in people that you love and admire. Identifying the specific values embodied by your heroes can inspire you to adopt those values for yourself. To uncover the values that you associate with your loved ones and role models:

  • Identify and write down six people who are important role models or valued connections for you.
  • Think of the values they embody. 
See a Career Counselor

Your values are a major determinant of career choice, work decisions, and career transitions, as each may lead you down a different career path. 

That’s why career counselors have a large toolbox of strategies and inventories, including values inventories to help match their clients to a compatible career area.

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Our emotions are short-term biased

Our emotions are obsessed with the present moment because it’s difficult to look past our immediate fears and anxieties. And this prevents good decision-making.

The sweet spot in de...

“Risky” behavior you should consider
  • Propose “moonshot” ideas, knowing that 90% of them will get shot down, but that if one of them gets accepted, it will be a huge boost to your career.
  • Be excessively bold in your dating life, stating exactly who and what you want.
  • Buy difficult books expecting that most of them won’t be useful to you, but also that, occasionally, one will completely change your life.
  • Say yes to every invitation knowing that most of the events/people will be boring, but that occasionally you’ll meet someone really interesting.
Optimizing life for fewer regrets

Most of us are afraid of messing thing up. But we rarely ask, “Would I regret that failure?” If the answer is “no,” then that is absolutely a risk you should pursue.

Sometimes, the right decision becomes crystal clear when put into these terms.

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For decision-making success:
  1. Book time to think: It’s counterintuitive, but making decisions faster requires consciously giving yourself time to make them.
  2. Define the decision: Before delving into de...
Fall back on your values

Having clear values that you try to live by can make tough decisions easier.

For example, maybe you know there’s a certain amount of time you want to spend with your family, or a baseline level of debt you’re willing to carry.

Talk it through

You don’t need to speak with someone who’s knowledgeable on the topic. 

You just need a good listener who’ll give you time and space to hear out your monologue and occasionally reflect back to you what you’ve shared.

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Self-distancing

The act of increasing the psychological distance from your own subjective perspective when assessing events that you experience.

Is an external perspective that you can use when th...

Benefits of self-distancing
  • It can help people cope with difficult events from their past.
  • It can  help people deal with socially distressful situations.
  • Useful because of our tendency to display high levels of wise reasoning when we give advice to others, but not when we decide how to act for ourselves.
  • It reduces decisional biases and improves decision-making during times of information overload.
How to create self-distance
  • Use self-distancing language:  refer to yourself in the second or third-person.
  • Try to view the situation from an alternative viewpoint, that is different from your own.
  • Try to visualize the perspective of  someone you admire, and then ask yourself what would they do in that situation.
  • Try expressive writing: write about your thoughts and feelings when you’re trying to analyze an event that you’ve experienced.
Start with a clean plate

We have to take a step back on a regular basis and reevaluate what we have on our plate and why. 

Instead of thinking, “Oh my gosh, there’s too much on my plate!" ask, “...

Learn to say NO

Saying yes to everything puts you on the fast track to being miserable. Sometimes you have to set clear boundaries.

The alternative is that you’re going to do a half-hearted, poor job at each task, be stressed beyond belief, and feel like you’re stuck in an endless cycle of failure and frustration.  

Focus on 3 things every day
  • Wake up every morning and figure out what the most important 3 things are for the day, and cut out the rest. 
  • Address your other obligations right then and there, and tell the associated people that your plate is full. 
  • Instead of task-switching, give each task some allotted time.

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Fear of rejection

The main reason why we are having a hard time declining other people's requests is that we are afraid to be rejected. We are afraid that people might think negatively. 

Stop Saying Yes When You Want to Say No
  • Saying No Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Person: Saying no doesn't mean that you are being rude, selfish, or unkind. These are all unhelpful beliefs that make it hard to say no. Learning where these beliefs have come from is a great way to learn to let go of them.
  • Knowing Your Value:  Learning to say no is realizing that you are valuable and choosing your own opinion about yourself over others.
  • Is It Really Worth It?: Learning to say no is also deciding if saying yes is really worth it. Think about the anguish, stress, and resentment that saying yes has caused you. Wouldn't it be so much easier and straightforward to just say no in the first place?
Helpful Tips for Saying No
  • Be direct.
  • Don't apologize and give all sorts of reasons.
  • Be honest.
  • Don't delay your response.
  • Be polite.
  • Practice saying no. This will get you feeling a lot more comfortable with saying no.
  • Know your worth. Don't mind what other think of you.
Why Personal Core Values Are Important
Why Personal Core Values Are Important

Values are a part of us. They highlight what we stand for. Values guide our behavior, providing us with a personal code of conduct.

When we honor our personal core values consistently,...

Personal Values and Behavior

Knowing your personal values changes your behavior.

For instance: When you value health, you don’t have to wrestle with managing impulse control as much. If you know a particular food or activity isn’t good for your body, you don’t want it.

Create meaningful core values
  1. Start with a beginner’s mind, someone with no preconceived notions of what is.
  2. Create your list of personal values. 
  3. Chunk your personal values into related groups. 
  4. Highlight the central theme of each value group. 
  5. Determine your top Personal Core Values. Whittle your list down to 5 - 10 core values and rank them in order of importance.
  6. Give your personal values richer context. Highlight values into memorable phrases or sentences.
  7. Test the ecology of each value. Review your list a day later: Are they personal to you? Do you see any values that feel inconsistent?

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Integrating journaling in your daily life
Integrating journaling in your daily life

The biggest mistake is to journal only in reaction to something that is going on, instead of letting it be part of a system.

Make writing in your personal journal part of your every...

Benefits of a journal
  • When you keep a journal, you can look back on important life events to read about how you felt at the time. You may also be able to learn from these past experiences.
  • Writing about traumatic events results in physical and psychological health benefits. Journaling focuses on understanding traumatic events and makes people see these events with an extra level of clarity.
Schedule journaling time

Start your daily journal off on the right foot by scheduling your writing for a set time every day.

  • If you find your mind is most active in the morning, wake up 15 to 20 minutes earlier and jot down your thoughts then.
  • If you prefer to record everything after the day is over, then make it an evening activity before you go to bed.

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Most problems can be solved with simple solutions
Most problems can be solved with simple solutions

Normally, things aren't as complicated as we want to make them out to be. Most problems have simple solutions. What adds complexity is the way we put into action these solutions.

A variation of the optimization trap

The optimization trap is the belief that a few small adjustments have more impact than they actually do. Optimizing little things is usually a way for people to feel like they're doing something meaningful when they're actually avoiding big, scary moves that could truly make a difference.

Allowing perceived complexity to keep you from doing what you have to do is a variation of the optimization trap.

Why we overcomplicate things

We overcomplicate things at the start because we're scared to make big changes.

We're very complacent and comfortable with our lives at the moment, so instead of doing things that will have a big impact, we spend our time on details that don't matter.

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