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Live Happier Tip: Name Your Values

This weekend a friend of mine and I were watching the movie City Slickers.  In the movie, Billy Crystal and his friends have gone on a vacation to a ranch to drive cattle.  While there he meets an old cowboy named Curly (Jack Palance).  My favorite scene in the movie is when Billy and Jack are talking about the meaning of life.  Jack says, “You know what the secret to life is?” and he holds up his finger.  Billy says “Your finger?” and Jack says “No one thing, once you figure that out nothing else matters (he said it a little more cowboyesque, so I edited it)  Billy says, “What’s the one thing and Jack says “that’s what you have to figure out.”
I remember seeing that clip in the theater and thinking ONE THING?!?!  That is just too hard to come up with one thing!   It is my belief that we need to figure out what our thing is whether that be one thing or five things.  I do believe we need to put a limit on it at some point just for the sake of focus.  Once we figure out our top five things than we can direct our lives and our life decisions around those five things.
For me, the easiest way to do this is to look at our top five values. When we are aware of our values, then we have a core place to work from, when we are making life choices.
Here are a few examples:
Let’s say you value family, and that is in your top 5 values then you will make decisions that allow you to support/spend more time with your family.  If you value social change, you will make everyday choices that inspire social change, through the clothes you wear, the websites you go to the products you use, etc.  If you value creativity than you probably engage in activities that feed your artistic side whether that be drawing, painting, idea developing or writing.
The glitch comes when we value something, but we aren’t making choices around it.  For example, you value family, but you are working all the time, so you miss important family events. Or you value creativity, but you never give yourself time to engage in artistic activities.
I believe–like Curly did in the movie City Slickers–when we come up with our one thing (or 5) it makes it easier to focus on what’s important in our lives.   Therefore the small everyday choices or the big life decisions become easier because we can always go back to the question what do I value?  When we are living from our values–we are living happier.

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