Behind closed doors, no one sees what you see. No one knows how you operate. The only person that understands you best is yourself, and it is the perfect person to start with. How you live is one of the most important questions and goals for a person. Plenty of avenues come our way, but the one path you cannot find on a GPS is the path you pave for yourself. All it takes is a few bricks.
Each brick is a foundation for the next brick, and even though they all look the same, they all take different positions to support your travels. Your goal is to create a smooth way to walk on. Let each brick you lay represent a core value.
Core values are the standards you expect from yourself that become innate to who you are, not what you are. For example, it is easy to say that Mike is a business analyst, that is what he does. No one knows who he is beyond the position he holds, that he is a mentor, a father, a considerate, responsible, and temperate individual.
The more specific you are with who you want to become, the less difficulty you will have with obtaining personal success.
To discover what your core values are, start by observing yourself from a comfortable bird's eye view. Notice the things you like about yourself and do not like about yourself. Whether it takes place over the course of a day, a week, or a year, simply mark the facts about yourself you know to be true in as much detail as you like.
Now that you have made your entries, review them and ask yourself, how am I living? How would I like to live?
Is there somewhere you can strike a balance to make a difference in your life? Of course, there is. The room for improvement always has walls that grow higher and wider every day. How you see yourself and how you act must harmonize. If they do not, this creates cognitive dissonance, which leads to doubts, fears, inaction, and worst of all, the wrong actions.
Take your observations and situations you find yourself in and simplify them to a single word. These words will become your core values that you assign your definition to. It may help if your core values are verbs or adjectives; use words that call you to actions you are going to take.
My core values are validation, authenticity, love, originality, and routine. Here is how I define them.
I am living proof that life in me and through me will carry purpose without the approval of others; unless it should make them better to have been inspired or advisory as my witness. How I approach my happenings and callings will be discerned by my character and by those who know my character. I choose myself not over another, but in the hope that I can become selfless. To the point of precipitation, may I cast rains of my good fortunes, whether it be a downpour or a drop, so that it may be absorbed again and be shed once more for the people with and without clouds over their heads. Knowing the backs of my hands as well as the bottoms of my feet is my journey. Moving forward while standing still is my destination. Validation begins and ends always with the self.
The true self presents itself through concrete changes in that my aims are not self-defeating. Self-discovery and self-awareness are the pours on the skin of authenticity. Being born anew is a constant exercise of the soul embedded in the words and actions closely woven and to be worn as a diligent wardrobe. I will not only dress the part but will become the part I was made for. However, like a wardrobe, authenticity is not without divergence. There are many accessories that on the surface seem disingenuous and gaudy to the beholder, but as the wearer, it is a statement more than fashion only I can wear. Authenticity is the magician without his magic; the trick is to tell and to live the truth.
The matters of the heart think with a self-respecting emotional intelligence. It does not project selfish indulgence or pump empty promises that can only lead to bad blood. True love is a love of the self which translates to a common love for others. I hold a caring disposition in fear that no one cares at all and in strength that I still care despite being my own or part of the minority. It is a dangerous thing not to care, for there is no love where there is no care. The true exception revolves around self-love, where care must be placed on not only the little things but on the larger than life concerns set out for myself. Loving myself will find love in new places and faces who double the love to be had.
Inspiration and aspiration, invention and reinvention, are distinct equals in the case of creation. As a creator, I will not rely on derivative platitudes or cluttering cliches as adequate expressions or explanations. Rather, the moments where I find lacking will force my unconscious feelings to become conscious thoughts and words for memories in the making. My ideas will be my own while accepting their close inspirations and far aspirations. To be original, I must practice while not succumbing to perfection and focus on fulfilling my good intentions and turn them into good actions.
I will not have my hands be made idle. My work will become my play and when need be I will find the necessary separation of the two. I will shape a world of stagnation into one of dedication. Time will not be determined by the clock's hands but by the willingness of mine. Seconds or a century, my goals will not bend unlike my mode of operation. How I reach my successes wanes in the shadow of my reach still being done. I have a diligent and flexible work ethic that does not fall into mundanity but rises through creativity. I will meet every day with sights on the next day so that I may say the days before me meant well and the days ahead of me mean better. On my last day, if I should have the company of one, it will have meant my trials and errors amounted to the continuous power of a hopeful routine.
Make your standards and live by them.