Moving forward is always a choice. We can choose to remain where we are, or to push through discomfort and move forward.
That said, where do you want to go?
When I think of where I want to go, I orientate myself with respect to a set of values I’ve settled on. I try to rewrite them frequently and see what sticks. I should say Steve Pavlina’s ‘Personal Development for Smart People’ & Jack Donovan’s “The Way of Men” have been of great influence here.
The values that are currently most meaningful to me are:
I’ve stumbled upon each of these and realised it’s importance at a through events in my life.
To me, Strength is capability or capacity, it is the ability to influence an outcome. This might be a physical feat, or more frequently, it signifies a mental or emotional fortitude. When I think of Freedom, it means choices, optionality, and the ability to change courses. It means to live without restriction, physical, emotional, mental or financial. While Freedom is of great value to me, I feel if I am not conscious of my freedom, and choose to make use of it, then it may as well not be there. Thus, Intentionality, being an awareness or consciousness of my circumstances and decisions is of equal importance. This relates to the phrase “The unexamined life is not worth living.”.
Change and Growth are similar points, but I like to have both. Firstly, change to me means, break out from routine, do new things, do something differently. Know that all things are transient, and never esteem one thing as permanent above all else. I’m pretty sure this comes from learning about non-attachment within a Buddhist context! Growth, though, means a permanent bias towards learning, refining myself, and becoming a more positive and energetic spirit. I figure we have only this life, let us live it as best we can. Adventure is again thematically similar to change and growth. However, I hold this value as a reminder that there is no ‘point’ to what we do. Therefore, to explore, to play, to be childlike and to adventure into the unknown is the course of action I always want to take. Sometimes, this will mean an element of risk, which I have ‘decided in advance’ that I will always want to take. Why play it safe? All that said, this value often means for me to push myself beyond my comfort zone, and to try new activities and behaviours I haven’t done before.
Finally, Integrity summarises a composite of values and philosophy that I want to bring to all my social interactions. I understand integrity as a collection of honour, trust, loyalty, honesty, self-respect and consistency. Integrity is the boundary I place on my dealings with others. While I value being compassionate and empathetic, integrity forms the bedrock from which other values such as these operate.
While I am often lost on what I want to do, from my values and the consequences of them, I can often find a direction to move in. While some people see values as unnecessary, I am still always surprised when people have to think about their values when asked, I figure it’s what we know that we personally prioritise… If you don’t know your own priorities, what do you know?
And so to end.. What are your priorities? What are your values? By knowing our values, we can set parameters to bound our decision making processes. At any moment we are faced with an unlimited set of possible choices, but our values can be used to narrow down that unlimited set to a set of meaningful and productive choices aligned with what we prioritise most in life.