April 4, 2007

Financial Freedom Series 2 -- The Value of Values

The Happiness Paradox

Why is it that some rich people are happy, while others are miserable? Why is it that some poor people are happy, while others are miserable? Obviously, the answer is not in their billfolds. The answer is in how well they are living their "values".

The list of things that you can do to make a positive difference in your life and in the world is virtually endless. So, how do you decide which things you should do? This is where values come in handy.

Values Are Your Guide

Values are those things that matter deeply to you in a way that matters only to you. Your deepest, truest values are the ones that have been with you all of your life -- they are "hard-wired" into your being. That makes them your ideal, personalized guide through life. Your values help you survey the many opportunities that are available to you and to choose the ones that will bring the most fulfillment into your life.

Discovering Your Values

If you want to know what your values are, imagine you've won so much money that you'll never be able to spend it all. What would you do with that kind of money? Your answers will point you toward your values. Some answers require more interpretation than others, though. Wanting to buy a fancy new sports car, for instance, doesn't lead to any obvious values. But asking yourself WHY you want the fancy new sports car does. In discovering your values, it helps to play that favorite game among toddlers -- keep asking "why" until you get to the root of your values.

Values As An Objective Standard

Knowing your values gives you an objective standard for judging your actions. When you act in a way that goes against your values, you feel terrible. When you act in a way that is consistent with your values, you feel great. With an objective measure in place, you free yourself from any need to "keep up with the Joneses" because you recognize that you don't necessarily want what the Joneses have anyway. An understanding of values, therefore, frees you once and for all to truly be you.

If you are not completely satisfied with your life, look to your values. You will find that your actions in the past have not been aligned with your values. Thankfully, the cure is simple -- begin now to act out your values.

The Complete Financial Freedom Series

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