“When your values are clear, your choices are easy.” – Thad Allen
When our values are really clear, the choices become more limited.
A simple example might be our value to be honest. Because we value honesty, we don’t make the choice to cheat on our taxes, our timesheet, or other things in life.
This requires knowing and naming our values. Most often, these are already in us, it’s just takes some time to reflect on them and write them down.
MAKING DECISIONS EASIER
If you want to muddle the water, try and make your decision based on the problem you’re facing at the moment. Each of us faces issues each day and if we make major decisions based on problems right in front of us, without pulling from our values, we wind up with some bad situations.
You may take a job for more money when in actuality it conflicts with your value of being at home more with your family. You unknowingly give up the value of the roots and connections you have in your community. Promotions aren’t bad, more money can be good too, but those questions should be asked and answered after what you value has been brought to light.
Another more daily choice might be health. If one of your values is to live a long, healthy life, it will make your choices (somewhat) easier. The choice to exercise in the morning isn’t based on your feelings about getting up earlier and getting motivated. Your choice to eat better and exercise is based on your value of wanting to live a long, healthy life, to have energy through the day to play with kids at home, or be available to do the projects you want to accomplish.
A CLEAR EXAMPLE OF VALUES SHAPING MAJOR DECISIONS
I’m not sure how this happened when we were younger, but my mom valued family time and simpler household life so she took a drastic measure. She threw out the one and only tv when I was in sixth grade. Literally, from 6th grade on, there wasn’t a television in our home.
When your values are clear (1. I want our home to be happy, 2. I want my kids to play outside and have fun, 3. I don’t want there to be bickering and fighting over what tv show to watch and 4. I think it might serve us better as a family to focus our time to talk, play games and read), the choice to throw out the TV was a clear one.
To be fair, I don’t know if my parents thought through all those things or not, but I do know that around that time in my life I learned to play music and fully engage in it (and I still use music in making a living). I learned to like reading and I did, indeed, enjoy going outside to play kickball with neighborhood friends.
As a high school and college student, my circle of friends often gathered at our house. Conversations about the lack of a television in the living room (or anywhere else) always came up. It was more than a conversation piece. It helped form lots of fun memories and connections that may have otherwise not been formed. (I also might add that my parents do now have a tv – and enjoy it. Life is about seasons and when I retire, I might think about getting one too).
This isn’t a post about television, but more about the deliberate act in life of assessing what we value. When tough decisions come, they will much easier if your values are included in the decision-making process. From there, the choices we make are easy.
(I’ve been reading Making A Difference by Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who landed safely in the Husdon, and this was a springboard for this post).