In a company there are often a lot of things to keep you busy. The day to day activities can easily fill the work day, but the greatest companies take time for something else. It is important not only to do business, but also to think about business. The greatest companies take time to define their values and to find their purpose. It is just the same in our personal lives. We have to take time to think about how we want to live.
When you take time to think about your life or project, firstly you have to clarify your values to yourself. At its simplest it is about defining good and bad, and choosing what is right. If you feel like you don’t act according to your values, it is because you do not truly know them. A simple way is to appropriate the qualities you admire in others and distance yourself from the traits you dislike.
The book “7 Habits of highly effective people” by Stephen R. Covey is a great book with instructional tips and eye opening examples of living according to your values. It is not a book about “7 life hacks to make a million dollars” but a profound book that could shift your paradigm and give a lasting positive impact on your life.
Value philosophy doesn’t have to be pretentious. It can be like an old friend or a grandparent you can rely on in hard times. To me, nothing is as helpful as stoicism when life is hard. Stoicism already has 4 virtues defined, and if you relate to them, it might be a helpful philosophy for you. Wisdom, justice, courage, and self-discipline are at the center of what stoics think is good, and folly, injustice, cowardice, and indulgence should be avoided.
The core of stoicism is only to try to control what you can control, and not to waste energy on what is out of your control. When you are down and want to give up, forget about the uncontrollable negative externalities and focus on what you can do.
“You are not your body and hair-style, but your capacity for choosing well. If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be.” - Epictetus
Once you have centered your life around your values, you might want to devote your time to something significant. Your career, a business, writing a book or competitive skiing, whichever your project do it in a way that reflects your values. Simon Sinek has developed a great framework called “Begin with why” to clarify your purpose to align it with your values. His ted-talk can change the way you view the world.
Do not just live your life, take time to think about it. Know your values and stand for them. Use all your power to choose what you believe to be good and no power on what you cannot control. Lastly, devote your life to something you believe in that gives meaning for you.