As Christmas and New Year approach, it is the perfect time for us to review our 2018 and plan for 2019!
Planning for future can be a daunting task if we don’t already know who we really are and what we really want. That is what we are going to tackle in this blog through a process called “self-discovery”.
It is through self-discovery that we learn to understand our thoughts, desires, motivation, and purpose in life. Without that understanding, it will be like trying to find a restaurant in Detroit while holding a map of New York City. We will only end up getting lost no matter how fast we walk. It’s also like trying so hard to climb to the top of a ladder only to find out that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall the whole time.
VALUES vs. PRINCIPLES
Part of discovering who we are is to explore our values and principles. People use the words “values” and “principles” interchangeably, thinking that they are the same thing. The truth is that they are actually very different.
Value is something that everybody determines for themselves what it is that they value. It is very individual.
People can have opposite values. For example, I can value honesty. But others might value dishonesty because based on their life experience, lying has been helping to get them what they want. And thieves can have shared values for money more than anything else.
People can also have the same value but totally different results. For example, we can value loyalty and be loyal to our friends. And gangsters can value loyalty to their “family” and commit crimes.
Principles. however, are natural laws that exist, whether we know them, believe them, or understand them or not. Just like “natural physical laws” such as gravity. We might not understand gravity but if we drop something, it will for sure fall to the ground.
It is very important that we recognize that there are also principles in life for happiness, success, relationships and so on, because otherwise, we might think that everything is just random. It will then be very hard for us to learn from past experience and grow.
Then we need to put forward the effort to try to discover what the principles in life are, and make sure that we set our values according to the principles.
We might value something and think that it will bring us happiness, but if it is not in alignment with the principles, we will not be able to find happiness through it.
In order to live a principle-centred life, we need to first be aware of what correct principles are out there.
For example, in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey mentioned principles such as FAIRNESS, out of which our whole concept of equality and justice is developed; INTEGRITY, which creates the foundation of trust which is essential to cooperation and long-term personal and interpersonal growth; SERVICE, or the idea of making a contribution; QUALITY or excellence; POTENTIAL, which is the idea that we can grow and develop and release more and more potential, develop more and more talents; highly related to potential is the principle of GROWTH – the process of releasing potential and developing talents, with the accompanying need for principles such as PATIENCE, NURTURANCE, and ENCOURAGEMENT.
THE PRINCIPLES OF GROWTH AND CHANGE.
Nowadays, we see a lot of “get rich quick” or “get popular quick” schemes that promise quality results with very little work. To me, they are just quick-fixes that are not sustainable.
The reason why they won’t work in the long-run is simple. There are sequential stages of growth and development in all of life. You simply cannot violate, ignore, or shortcut the development process. It’s like a child first have to learn how to crawl, then stand, then walk, and then run. You can’t skip the stages.
It takes time and effort to step-by-step get to build personal #characters and get to where we want to be. There’s no shortcut to the process of growth. Quick-fixes might work for a short while, but without first building the foundation for success, the short-term success you have will not last.
PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT
I suggest that we write down all of our values and read them regularly. It will give us a sense of clarity and make it much easier for us to stick to them.
What we write down is our Personal Mission Statement, or personal constitution, like the United States Constitution.
“It is our fundamental life philosophy or creed, a written standard against which every decision concerning the most effective use of our time, our talents, and our energies can be measured. It focuses on what we want to be (or our characters) and what we want to do (or our contributions and achievements).”
Try this exercise. Just remember that everybody’s personal mission statement will be unique both in content and format. And because it takes time to develop a personal mission statement, it is okay if you can’t finish it in one go.
Don’t worry if you still have no idea what to do. Check out my mission statement as if you need more inspiration.
So write down your own Personal Mission Statement and refer to it whenever we need to to help us focus on living a principle-centred life.
This blog post is based on my video series on SELF-DISCOVERY. You can watch them on your preferred social media platform: