“when you know what’s most important to you, decisions are quite simple”
Values are part of our deep structure and drive our decision making process at an unconscious level. They are the core drivers of what we consider gives us pain and pleasure, therefore having a massive influence on ourselves in life.
According to a recent Saatchi & Saatchi study, we use our emotions and intuition at 75% to select food on a restaurant menu, and at 63% to buy a car.
Now here is the thing: you did not choose your values! Values are things we inherit from life experiences, education and other people who had an impact on us.
If values are so critical in your life, by bringing you pleasure or pain and by ruling your decision making process, wouldn’t you want to know what those values are? More importantly, if I were to offer you a solution to choose the values that are most fruitful for you, wouldn’t that make a tremendous change in your life?
This 6 steps process will help you define, organize and fine-tune your Values hierarchy:
STEP1: Identify Your Current Values
By asking “What’s important to you in life?” you will be able to list your key values. Make sure to differentiate Means values and End values: a Means value will give you something, and ultimately it will make you FEEL in a specific way, that is your End value (for example “playing guitar” gives you “energy and excitement of jamming” which gives you a feel of “creativity”, which would be an End value).
STEP2: Rank Your Values In Order Of Importance
Now that you have your list, you can easily create your current Values hierarchy by arranging the values that drive you in order of importance. Simply compare the values you have identified and sort them in order of priority. Note: don’t be surprised if the values that you identified last actually end up at the top of your list, you unconscious mind probably revealed the key information after a while.
STEP3: Identify Your Move-Away Values and Rank Them
Let’s repeat Step 1 and 2 but this time asking yourself “What do you avoid most in life?”. Also prioritise these in order of importance. You know are able both side of the “magnet forces”: what is pushing you and what is pulling you!
STEP4: Downgrade What You Do Not Need Anymore
Think about your current life, think about who you want to be and what you are willing to achieve. Are your values supporting your intentions and goals? You might have some Values that used to be important but no longer are, so either downgrade them in terms of priority, or why not completely get rid of it?
STEP5: Add The Values That Serve You Best
Similarly to Step 4, think about some Values that would be instrumental in helping you reach your purpose. Think broadly, and pick anything that you feel would make a considerable difference.
STEP6: Define The Rules For Each Value
This is a critical step to be successful. What does it take for you to consider that you are “living” according to one of your value? Go through each of your Values and define what it takes for you to have it. For example if Happiness is on your list, it may take you to breathe deeply, enjoy the present moment, or express your gratitude towards life to consider that you are “doing” Happiness. Be as encouraging as possible, make it easy for you to live your values and this will make it more attractive for you at an unconscious level.
By now you should have a brand new list of Values that drive your decisions and behaviours in life. Remember: the key for making a real change is to follow through, so for the next 30 days, I encourage you to stick this list somewhere you will look it several times in the day. Where you brush your teeth is a great example.
Here is my list: