Living Life with Intention
Everything we do in life is a choice, and we get to choose whether we orient our lives around our needs, our wants, those things we should do, or ought to do. Most of the time when we choose to do this, we will be less than successful, or will achieve success in one or two areas of our lives, but will not be happy.
If you are clear on what you value in life, and create your life priorities around that, the chances are that you will not only be successful, but you will be fulfilled. Now, of course, I would be foolish to guarantee this to anyone, but when you live your life with deliberate intent, you should be as close as you can get. What makes me think I can make that statement? Because when you are living your values with mindfulness, and are choosing to make decisions based upon them, you are living an authentic life because you are living from the core of YOU. You ARE your values. You will feel connected, whole and centered.
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. ~ Joseph Campbell
This means you will be utilizing the concepts of positive thought, belief and intuition at all times.
First, let me define what I mean by values. A value is what you feel is important to you. It can be financial success, beauty, family, honesty, spirituality, friendships – anything you feel has worth. Many of us have quite a few things we believe to be of value – but when a value sits at your very core, it will have strength and a depth of feeling that others don’t. A value is something you naturally do, sometimes without even realizing it, because you are compelled to do so from something deep inside. There is nothing complicated about it – it just is.
A need, on the other hand, is something you just can’t live without. When you don’t get it, it affects your attitude and your ability to concentrate. My goodness, you just can’t be the best you are capable when your needs are not being met. This could be time, space, love, knowledge, food, exercise, respect, and so on. When you finally get that need met, you feel content.
So, then, a want is something you wish to acquire or experience – it could be bungee jumping, a vacation in Australia, a new house, a new car, a promotion, a good book, a great night’s sleep (hmm, no, I think that might be a need), new clothes. Once you get these things, you feel pleasure – but it doesn’t last.
How do you distinguish?
- If there is urgency – it is probably a need.
- If there is craving, or desire, it is probably a want.
- If it feels natural and uncomplicated – it is probably a value.
One of my life lessons has been that needs trump values almost every time. You will continue to pursue your needs, even if they don’t align with your values. Why? Because your needs create a mental fog that doesn’t allow you to identify your values, and until you get them satisfied it is difficult to discern between needs, wants and values – the lines become very blurred.
It is also interesting to observe that as your needs get met, your wants tend to decrease in number.
Let’s spend a bit more time around values. When you look back at your life in some depth, you will start to see a theme emerging. Because I am a very visual person, for me it is like a brightly colored thread that weaves through just about everything you do, every part of your life. You would not be you without it. For instance, I love puzzles – and this manifests itself in the books I read, the TV I watch, the jobs I have liked the most and been the most successful in, and the way I interact with people. It also comes out in my Strengthfinder 2.0 results – my top strength is “Developer” – which is seeing the possibilities in people – and wanting to help them achieve success. It makes my soul soar when they grow in their chosen path. My second strength is “Connectedness”. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I know deep down inside that we are ALL connected; we are part of something much larger – some call it the collective conscious.
As you can see, you don’t have to orient your entire life around your values. Because we are all about taking the next right step, it might be good to get involved in activities that allow you to express your values. To utilize myself as an example again, my choice to create an encore career as a coach allows me to work as a one to one think tank with my coachees – looking at all of the possibilities they have within and in front of them – and celebrating with them as they make choices and grow within their own journey.
Are you tired of vacillating back and forth, spinning your wheels as you try to decide whether or not to take a course of action? Want to make decisions faster and be satisfied with the direction you have decided to take? Run the objective, the goal, passed your short list of values. Does it fit in or express through any or two of them? If it does, it is likely to be a worthwhile decision. Now you can quit stewing about it.
What if you aren’t sure how to respond, or overrespond, to someone, an issue or an opportunity? Bounce the situation up against your core values. Once again, if it fits – embrace the relationship or the opportunity. If it doesn’t – give it a pass.
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Thank you for reading and for being part of this community – it means so much to me.