Each of us must live in alignment with our values.
As a collection and balance of sub-personalities, all jockeying for position and relevance in different areas of our life, our decisions are what determine what happens in our reality. How we act demonstrates our values. Talk is cheap, after all.
The Golden Rule of ‘treat others as you would have them treat you,’ I think, is flawed.
A lot of us fail to treat ourselves particularly well. Whether it’s a crazy Friday beer ‘blowout’ or deciding to watch television rather than make tomorrow easier and better with meal preparing, getting an early night or moving our bodies.
Because of how scarily complex the world around us is – with all it’s technology, people, systems and organisations, what is one thing that we can exercise more control over? Us.
That’s the important point. It’s an exercise. It’s a practice, that only gets better if done. Asking “what do I feel needs work?” Then deliberately making daily changes to address this. Maybe it’s adopting a new habit, investing in an app (both time and money), joining a group, finding a mentor, putting in more time.
Only us as an individual can really answer that question – attempting to move away from family and friends expectations is perhaps the biggest challenge. I’m not sure whether it’s about going inwards and searching or trail and error in the external world.
Ryan Holiday (of The Daily Stoic, amongst other works) thinks getting to the answer comes as a result of contemplating our mortality. Personally, I think this can be a little misleading because it can lead to some short-sighted actions.
Yet the answers to “What would you want said in your obituary” and “How do you want to be remembered” generate actionable changes that reflect our what we see as important, at least for the present.
Working out how tomorrow can be more aligned with our values than today is, to me, the ultimate practice.
Question those distractions and treat yourself right.
We cannot pour from an empty glass.