“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values—and follow my own moral compass—then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.”
–Michelle Obama, from her remarks at the Tuskegee University Commencement Address, 2015
A few months ago, I wrote about my newfound love of podcasts. Hey, I’m a late bloomer, hence the name of this blog. One of my favorites, The Minimalists, frequently discusses the importance of identifying your values so you can align your life with same. Of course, some values are more—er—valuable than others. Identifying my values is an excellent exercise, and one that bears repeating every few years or so. Otherwise, I risk getting caught up in pursuits and priorities that don’t reflect my soul’s true direction—and that’s how one gets lost.
The Minimalists offer their own hierarchy of values, but I’ve modified that a bit, organizing mine into Foundational Values (must address every day) and Aspirational Values (I haven’t reached these yet, but want to). I’m not saying that I live up to this list 100% every day, but having these goals before me helps me to live a meaningful life. Here are mine. What are yours?
- Conscious living—thinking about the choices I make, rather than following the crowd.
- Creativity—writing, cooking, artwork, music, dance…
- Simplicity—A corollary of #1 above, I try to include only those things and activities that add value to my life.
- Good health—because my spirit lives in a body.
- Achievement—I feel best about myself when I can look at concrete accomplishments.
- Balance—work and play, alone and together, sit and stand and walk and dance…
- Intellectual Curiosity—because the world is so interesting!
- Order—Yeah, this one needs work, but life is more enjoyable if I can find stuff.
- Discipline—I exercise discipline in my writing schedule. In other arenas, I have work to do.
- Beauty—Beautiful surroundings, beautiful clothing, these give me great pleasure.
- Music—I love it and want to include more in my life.
- Connection—I need to push myself to connect with those I love more often and to meet new people, because they’re not going to come into my writing cave (except on social media).
Care to share some of your guiding values?