Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said "the secret of a man's being is not only to live, but to have something to live for". We can lose sight of this, especially on Monday morning as we get ready to face work. We go through the normal morning routines, dragging our feet. These challenging times can benefit from reconnecting with values that are important to us.
Consider Fred. He gets on the train and goes to work. He's thinking about how much he doesn't want to go, the monotony of writing reports and the frustrations of dealing with some customers. He's stuck on the idea that work is a chore and he would rather be at home. With this kind of mindset, Fred feels low, unenthusiastic and bored.
One day Fred jumps on the train and starts falling into the same pattern of thinking, but then remembers reading the wonderful blogging of Scott Waters Psychology about values and the marvelous human freedom of being able to choose our own attitude in any given situation. So he takes a moment to think about what he wants to stand for today at work: he wants to be engaging with other people, productive and helpful.
On the outside, perhaps nobody on the train will notice anything different about Fred. But internally, Fred feels different. Less tension and angst, more purposeful and open to the day ahead.
Try this exercise as a way to start identifying your own values: imagine you are 80 years old reflecting on your life as it is today. Take a moment to really imagine that part of your life and then finish off these statements:
How did you go? This can be eye-opening or at least helps you to readjust your life-compass. Thinking like this can highlight the difference between what we are doing and what we actually value doing with our lives. The closer the connection between our actions and values, the richer, more meaningful our lives can be.
This morning it is just my 5 month-old son and myself. Which means I am going to drawout my values of playfulness and being a bit silly (with a dose of being responsible of course). Drawing inspiration from this photo of my dad and I growing up, or not growing up as it seems!
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