Values-based actions cumulate to a fulfilled life.
– Gbolade Ogunfowote
This is a four part series, these are all the posts in this series:
In the positivity myth, I wrote about the natural progression from thoughts to results. I would like to expand a little bit more on that, and propose this:
Influence → Thoughts → Feelings → Actions → Habits → Results
Where do thoughts come from? I’ll tell you. Remember that last time you saw someone eating something delicious and all you could think of was food, then all you could feel was hunger? That’s the power of influence. You see, influence is information from the environment, family and the society. This influence determines to a large percentage, what goes through our minds. This is why the natural progression of thoughts to results is dangerous. Unhindered, it zaps us of control and turns us to zombies. As if that wasn’t bad enough, repeated patterns of thoughts, feelings, and actions lead to habits, even when the influence is already gone.
I’ll like to propose a new progression. Unfortunately, it is very unnatural, unlike the one above that happens without any effort on our part.
Values → Goals → Actions → Habits → Results
The beauty of this progression is that it doesn’t care what background we come from. Like a mentor of mine always says.
Never let your background, keep your back on the ground.
– Deacon Koya Ogunye
This progression doesn’t care what is going in the environment. It instead cares about what is going on in our heart. It asks about our dreams, principles, philosophies and aspirations, and it doesn’t care if we are currently living by them.
The first point in this progression is Values.
Values: A person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
– Oxford English Dictionary.
I couldn’t have defined it better. To get started with defining your values, please download this pdf document. I suggest you print it, or write it out. In the boxes containing a value, mark each one relative to their level of importance to you as either I, V or N: I (important to me), V (very important to me), N (not so important to me). Narrow the values that are very important to you to 3 to 6 values. Write them down on a card or on your phone or print it and stick it beside your bedroom mirror, just make sure it is somewhere you can see it often and daily. I keep mine in Evernote, and have an alarm that goes off by 2pm each day that reminds me to go through my values. Please note that values could change as circumstances change. For example, safety may not be a very important value to you till you become a parent. Don’t change your values frequently, but don’t hold on too tightly either.
We’ll discuss the rest of value-results progression in later posts.