Stephen Covey says “begin with the end in mind. If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster”.
I’ve been thinking about values-based decisions vs. beliefs-based decisions a lot lately because that subject is going to be part of the new online course (Moving Abroad: A Hero’s Journey) that my husband, Michael, and I are creating. As part of the preparation, I’ve dug up all of my old materials on values and beliefs and have been studying everything current that I can find about both topics. It’s been quite a journey! What I’ve found is that using your values (instead of your beliefs), as a guide, is still the best way to make decisions. So, I thought I’d share what I’ve found and, hopefully, you’ll share your comments and I can learn even more about this important subject.
First, it’s important to know what, in general, values and beliefs are. For quite some time, I really didn’t understand that much about values and beliefs; let alone why they were different from each other. Once I began to learn more about both values and beliefs, I knew that my life would be changed, as a result.
So, what are they and how are they different?
Beliefs arise from learned experiences, resulting from the cultural and environmental situations you have faced. Values are not based on information from the past. Values are universal. They are your principles or standards of behavior; your judgment of what is important in life.
It’s also important to understand the difference between values-based decision making and belief-based decision making. Who would have thought this could make such a difference? Well, it does! When you make decisions based on your beliefs; it is as if you’re using all of your past experiences and what you’ve learned to make that decision. Although this might sound pretty good, a lot of the time, it’s not. You could be actually perpetuating what you believe (which may not necessarily be the truth) because beliefs are really just assumptions you hold to be true and you may hold some fear based limiting beliefs. So, you’re actually perpetuating ways of making decisions based on the past, not based on what it is that you would like to create. That’s pretty scary, right? That is, unless your belief is not fear based or limiting.
Values-based decision making allows you to break the link to the past and make the decision based on what it is that you want to experience in the future. In other words, you can make your decisions based on what is it that you want to consciously create instead of subconsciously create. That’s really powerful, right?
So, I really feel that identifying and understanding your values is a challenging and important life tool. By becoming more aware of these important factors in your life, you can use them as a guide to make the best choice in any situation.
For example, if you value culture, but you decide to move to a location where you will not have an opportunity to experience art galleries or theatre or museums; will you feel stimulated and fulfilled? And, if you value serenity and you move to an area full of traffic and noise and crowds; are you likely to be satisfied with your move?
When you know your own values, you can use them to make decisions about how to live your life and you can be sure you are approaching your decisions with confidence and clarity. You’ll also know that what you’re doing is best for your current and future happiness and satisfaction.
What do you value? You can find many lists of values online. I’d really encourage you to take a look at one such as at https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_85.htm and use the list presented there to determine your present values. Once you have identified 10 values, you can use them, right away, to make values-based decisions. By doing that, you can be sure that your ladder is leaning against the right wall!
Love to hear your comments, Beverly