Researchers have confirmed that the heartfelt articulation of your values can have long-term effects on your personal success.
Keeping what’s important to you in the forefront of your mind on a regular basis turns out to be an effective way to ensure that you get to your goals on time and have fewer regrets.
It’s not always easy to define our values. Here’s a suggestion:
- Make a list of the people you admire most in the world, whether living or dead, known to you personally or only through books and other media.
- Next to the names, place an adjective or noun or two that describes the reason(s) they have earned your admiration and respect.
- Now, extricate from the names, adjectives, and nouns the values that speak to you.
Here’s my list:
- Obama – Ground-breaker, cool
- Madonna – Shape-shifter, creative
- Bach – Genius, artistic, prolific
- My mother, father, Joan, Michael – Smart, funny, strong
- Tim, Haim, Benedict, Victoria – Gifted, complex, strong, protective
- Kerry, Monica, Elissa – Driven, loyal, strong
- Snoopy, Toby (my Labrador retriever)– Happy, joyful
Values those speak to:
- Personal strength (my mother, father, Tim, Joan, Haim, Kerry, Monica, Victoria)
- Artistic talent, intelligence, flexibility (Bach, Tim, Haim, Madonna, Bach, Obama, Victoria)
- Hard work and drive (Obama, Kerry, Monica, Elissa, Michael)
- Safety and security (Benedict, Haim, Tim)
- Happiness and a sense of humor (Snoopy, Toby, mother, father)
These are, in fact, my highest values: to be strong, artistic, flexible, to work hard, to be safe, to have a sense of humor, and to be happy. The only thing I would add is having close family and friends (which I am so very fortunate to have).
I can honestly admit to you that my college and graduate school years would have been exponentially enhanced if I had kept these values in mind on a daily or even a weekly basis.
I encourage you to try it now. List the people, the adjectives and nouns, and see what values those indicate for you. Remind yourself every day of what they are. It can’t hurt, and research has proven that it definitely can help.