Every person has Core Values, a complex constellation of beliefs that shape our world view. Some of these values play a much more front seat role, while others guide your every move completely undetected. But what everyone shares in common is that we operate every aspect of our lives based on these enigmatic ideals.
Imagine any scenario in which you make a decision, I’ll bet if you look at the situation hard enough you’ll realize that your Core Values are at the center of your choices. Something as mundane as buying soap. Let’s say you are battling yourself between two choices:
- Get the cheap soap and save money, but maybe it doesn’t smell as good; doesn’t lather well; or doesn’t make your skin as soft.
- Get the expensive soap and pay extra but worry about none of the above.
There are potentially numerous Core Values at war here. The first constellation of values from the examples above might include: Frugality, Prudence, and Restraint; while the second constellation might include: Quality, Self Care, and Living in The Moment, or any number of other beliefs.
Do you notice one constellation standing out to you as the “right” one as you read them? Look closer and you’ll realize that of course neither are right or wrong.
A mythos is never right or wrong. It just is.
Step 1: Choose 15 Core Values
Here we have roughly 50 Core Values. Look over them and write down the most important 15 (or thereabouts).
Now trust me, I understand how easy it is to value close to all these values, but I urge you to focus down what you really feel is most needed, worthy, or useful in your life. And don’t worry about this list being the end-all of lists. It will evolve. Over time you will add and subtract from it. Right now we’re just getting a rough foundation.
- Inner Harmony
- Meaningful Work
Step 2: Narrow Them Down to 10
Look back over your list. Try and find some themes between your chosen values and consolidate those together.
Really try to zoom out from your life and look at the big picture. Ask yourself some big picture questions:
- Who is it you ultimately wish to be?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What would make you the most proud to be you?
Step 3: Narrow Them Down to 5
This can get tricky. And yes, technically you don’t have to have exactly 5, but it’s good to try. Why? Because focus is a precious commodity and your mind simply will not abide by focusing on 50 different Core Values!
Concentrate, search yourself. If you ever run into a roadblock when searching your Inner Space, you can almost always get further by asking yourself “Why?”. Why do I do this thing, believe this thing, feel this thing?