Ram here with an important insight to share that can change your life…
Every individual lives by a set of priorities. A way we go about making some things more important and others less.
In personal development, the big box label we use to describe the process of how we make things important goes by the name of ‘values’.
But that’s really a misnomer.
We don’t have values so much we have habitual ways we go about making things important.
And what you make important determines what you’ll notice, what you’ll do and ultimately what kind of life you’ll enjoy.
In personal development, people are often encouraged to write out and prioritise their values.
Perhaps you’ve done this yourself?
Perhaps more than once.
What most don’t realise is they are measuring the wrong thing!
Most people only measure their espoused values and not their lived values.
What’s the difference?
Well, espoused values are what we say is important.
For example health, contribution, adventure… might be on a person’s values list.
While ‘lived’ values are what – through our behaviour – we have demonstrated is actually important.
For example, when they examine their behavioral history closer, what they discover is a consistent pattern of:
eating pizza and junk food
watching Netflix every night (and no exercise)
doing low risk activities
In NLP – a person’s behaviour is considered as having a higher ‘signal value’ over what they say.
Actions, as the saying goes, say much more than words.
So what happens when a person’s espoused values and lived values don’t closely match?
They are going to:
feel at a loss
not getting what they ‘say’ they want
likely experience frustration
and wonder why things aren’t working out for them, the way they want.
So what can you do to prevent this for yourself?
Here’s a quick tip:
Take out a piece of paper.
Brainstorm your list of most important ends values.
Then rank them from 1st to 10th.
Next draw out 5 columns on an A4 sheet of paper.
In the first column enter your top 10 values.
In the next 4 columns write the headings:
Space | Time | Energy | Money
Then detail out where and how you are living those values by citing recent examples under each.
How do you fill your space?
How do you use your time?
How do you invest your energy?
How do you use your money?
That demonstrate the value you say is important.
If you struggle to find examples of where you are living those values, you know you have a mismatch.
What then do you do?
You have 3 choices:
You can ignore and continue on as normal and get more of the same…
You may decide you would like to close that gap.
You may choose to step back and redesign the whole thing…
… and come up with a better set of values that are directly connected to the life you REALLY would love to be living.
Because once you peel back the onion and denominalise one’s values; you realise your values are rarely your own.
Our values has been programmed in to each of us through our upbringing, parenting, experiences and culture.
So almost all of us are, in a way, chasing someone else’s priorities of what a ‘good life’ is like.
Few have ever designed what they want to make important. Most of us are operating on auto-pilot, running someone else’s code from yesteryear…
If you’d like to consciously choose a different way, if you’d like to learn how to change what you make important, let me know here and I’ll keep you in mind for future resources on this.