Your Internal Compass
Making decisions are important in life, how we decide now will determine how our future will evolve. Though they are important we cannot logically analyse all the alternative with relevant facts and data before deciding, at least not the trivial ones, because doing that every day that will exhaust our mental energy and leaves us drained out.
To most people in their 20s, the transition from a teenager to an adult, is even more challenging, since they don’t know what they want and end up making some terrible decisions.
Is there an easier way to make decisions with considerably less mental exhaustion? and at the same time ensuring that we make relatively better decisions?
It turns out there is an internal compass within us that can give a sense of direction in life, and thereby helping us make decisions in that direction; that internal compass is our Values.
Why do values matter?
Values to me is the most important decision-making tool, a tool that has helped me take many decisions in life. Whenever I’m faced with a dilemma in making a decision I choose the alternative that is most aligned with my values. I’ve been applying this method to take both big and small decisions, from deciding if I should spend the weekend reading or go out with friends, to choosing between two jobs.
For instance, let’s assume you get two job offers both being equally attractive but one has better compensation and the other provides better opportunities to learn. Deciding which job to choose can be difficult in this case, and even if you choose one, the dissatisfaction of not choosing the other reduces the level of satisfaction in the job that you chose. This can, to a greater extent, be avoided when you use your values as the basis for decision making. If one of your values is learning, you choose the job which provides better learning opportunities; on the other hand, if you value wealth, then you choose the job that pays more. Not only did you decide easily but also won’t regret not choosing the other job, since you chose what matters to you the most.
Though values come in handy while making decisions, there will be instances where you might have to choose something that doesn’t line up with your values; and may depend on the context, situation, etc. Value-based decision making is not the only tool, rather is one of the decision-making tools.
Besides decision making, values can help you in making a positive impact in many areas of life:
- You become trustworthy: Values in a long term can make your behaviours consistent, and people value consistency in a person in an ever-changing world; and when they notice that in you, you become a trustworthy person.
- Surrounding yourself with the right people: Values help you choose who to become close with, in other words, ‘Become close with people who have similar values to that of yours’, so that you don’t get distracted by someone who doesn’t value what you do.
- Focusing on what is important: In life, we are constantly distracted by unimportant stuff, and even worse is ending up in not knowing what is important. Values help you in weeding out the unimportant and make you focus on what is important, like the bright sunshine on a foggy morning. Values may not show you the ultimate meaning or purpose in life, but gives a sense of direction towards what is important to you.
Nothing gives me happiness in life than the consequences of me having good values: The friends I earned; the knowledge I’ve gained; the way I think; and the best of all — the fact that I am loyal to myself.