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Identify Your Values

Formally identifying your values really helps you to focus on what is important and what is not.

Because this may be difficult at first, start with the following:

  • Think of people you admire – write down the traits they show, the way they go about life, the attitudes they portray, and so on.
  • Think of traits and characteristics that you do not like. Whether these are things that you do or things other
    people do it doesn’t really matter – what is important is that you identify the behaviours and attitudes and then
    go about trying to not exhibit them yourself.
  • Write down how you think people might refer to you in a speech to celebrate your life. Or perhaps have a go at writing your own epitaph! This can be quite confronting and it is not meant to be an exercise in punishment. It is just designed to help you focus on what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t. The speech or epitaph that makes you comfortable and happy is more than likely in line with your values. If, however, the exercise brings up aspects about your own behaviour that make you squirm, then it is a perfect opportunity for you to identify why.
  • Consider, or even eavesdrop, what your children or other ‘innocent’ beings may say about you.

Once again don’t use this exercise as a punitive measure but use it as a fantastic opportunity to help you clarify your values and whether or not you are acting within them.

Once you’ve done these exercises, go through the list and decide whether there’s anything missing.

Then on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all and 10 being all the time, rate how well you think you strive and live by these values.

Having Trouble Making a Decision?

Below is an example of a Decision Matrix that you can use to help decide between two conflicting options.

Plus in your own information parameters and put a value on each (see instructions below).

In this example, you can see that Option 1 appears more favourable than Option 2.

  1. Decide on your alternatives – Option 1 and Option 2.
  2. Spend lots of time and energy putting considerations into each quadrant of the matrix.
  3. Look for “Deal Breakers” and “Deal Makers” within the quadrants. If you have more than one, and they are “opposing” one another, keep working.
  4. If you find the only one, on either side, then the decision is made according to the consideration. Further work is relatively furile.
  5. In the absence of deal makers or breakers, assign a value of importance to you of 1-10 for every consideration throughout the matrix.
  6. Total the value of each quadrant’s scores.
  7. Look for a diagonal pattern on the matrix. It is highly probable that For Option 1 and Against Option 2, or vice versa, score higher than the other diagonal. This is a strong indicator that the Clever Brain decision would be in favour of the highly scored option.

If the numbers are effectively “even” then the alternatives are, to all intents and purposes, evenly balanced. In such cases then either decision will be equally flawed so, to prevent “paralysis by analysis”, either flip a coin or use another arbitrary means to come to a decision and mindfully pursue that decision

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