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Uncovering your Values - the key to happiness!

By Ian Davies, Dec 16 2016 05:06AM

I've been thinking about life recently, a big subject I know, but an important one! I hear many people complain that they are not happy in what they do, inside and outside of work, so I thought I would share my thoughts and a simple technique to help you to explore ways of increasing your happiness.

All you need is about 1 hour of time, some relaxing space to think, a pen and some paper. Simple....so let's begin.

The key to having a happier and more fulfiled life is something called 'Personal Values'. These are those little things in life that make you feel happy and fulfiled. We all have different values and many of our lifestyle decisions are based upon these.

Think of your current job, the restaurant that you enjoy most, your ideal holiday destination or even your favourite type of film. The choices you make are probably reflecting your personal values in some way. By spending some time thinking about these, you’ll start to discover more opportunities in your day to day life for fulfiling them and making you feel great!

I’ll give you an example. I love to explore other countries, to climb mountains, to spend time in the outdoors and to get lost in interesting cities! Unfortunately, this only happens on the odd weekend or during holidays and in the past, I’d often feel frustrated when I couldn’t do them things. Then I spent some time thinking about my Personal Values. I began by thinking exactly what I got out of these experiences. What does climbing mountains get me? What does getting lost in an interesting city get me?

Ultimately, they all seemed to get me a sense of excitement and challenge. These are possibly two of my values. When I wasn’t experiencing these values, I often felt frustrated. Now all I need is some way of having exciting, challenging experiences more often!

The next step was to look at what else in my day to day life would help me to get the same feelings. I started to realise that if I looked at some aspects of my life from a different angle, they too could be quite exciting and challenging. Although I still dream of my next holiday or weekend away, the waiting isn’t so bad, as I am helping to fulfil my values in other ways.

The simplest method for beginning to discover your values is through some questions. Give yourself 1 hour and spend this time thinking about the following two questions. Write down any thoughts that you have. That's right, everything that comes into your head, however strange the answers may be!

Question 1) If you had all the money, all the resources and all the freedom in the world, what would you be doing?

Go on...write down your answers!

Question 2) What have been your three greatest experiences in your life?

Keep writing!

Once you have a list of answers, simply ask yourself - “What does ‘that’ get for me?” or “Why is that important to me?” For example, what does climbing mountains get for me? Answer...excitement and challenge.

You may get an answer that needs to be unwrapped further and it’s always worth asking the same questions again, to see if there is deeper reason behind the activity or behaviour. You’ll eventually get to an underlying value. If you do this for each answer, you may start to see some patterns emerging and begin to get a short group of possible values.

Having this knowledge will allow you to start looking for opportunities to fulfil these value, which will help your feel happier.

So, start exploring, who knows how fulfiled you will become?

Have a great day

Ian Davies - Director of Team Thinking Asia and NLP Master Practitioner

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