Why most self-help teaching on values is WRONG!
I’m going to tell you something that most self-help authors don’t know – or are deliberately hiding from you. Following your values to achieve your best life ever…is wrong. They will tell you ‘find out what you most value in life’ or ‘do a value’ inventory’ – and then lead a life that satisfies those values.
This advice is incomplete at the least and, for some people, deceptive and, frankly, foolish. “Why is this so wrong?” you say, “I enjoy growing and pruning Bonsai trees and I value honesty – what could possibly be wrong with pursuing those values?”
Nothing. Assuming these values don’t destroy your life, you could have a lot of pleasure and get on well with people.
But here’s the danger. Some values are not healthy. Some will lead you into deep trouble and corrupt your soul. Furthermore, there is a good chance if you are not currently successful in one or more areas of your life then you also lack certain values. Meaning, more specifically, that you actually need to make some things important that you currently don’t value. You need to value new things.
Here’s some examples: If you want to accumulate assets then you need to allocate or earn and set-aside money to do so. But if you value ‘buying what you want when you want it’, that value is probably in opposition to accumulating wealth. If you want to eat healthily but feel you ‘can’t live without junk food every day’, if you love the idea of settling down but ‘don’t value monogamy’ – need I go on?
Hence, just listing and following your existing values is not enough. Some things you consider important you will have to ‘de-value’ and other ideas and ways of thinking will have to become valuable to you, even if they currently aren’t.
Your Mind…is a Liar!
Some people are going to really struggle with this because they think MY THOUGHTS = THE REAL WORLD and THAT’s JUST THE WAY I AM. If you think your thoughts = TRUTH then you’re not exactly going to be motivated to see the world differently, are you? I deal with this subject more thoroughly in my book Your Mind is a Liar (available on Amazon) but trust me, the sooner you decide your thoughts are about the world and not the actual world itself, the sooner you’ll be able to change your interpretations to those more useful to you.
I once coached a client who struggled to make long term commitments and really despaired of it. He wanted to value ‘focus’ and ‘consistency but after some coaching we discovered one of his highest values was ‘evasiveness’. Does this mean he was underhand and sneaky? No, the issue actually stemmed from his childhood when he often had to appear to change his mind to avoid getting severely punished. So, learning to shift his approach was valuable – at the time.