Values are the deciding factors of what is important in life. They are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. When I was assigned to define these for school in 2018, I was confused. I turned in the assignment without thinking much about them. Since my transition to being in ‘the real world’ and navigating apart from school, there have been many new normals taking place. I’ve noticed gradual shifts in what is important for me.
Quantity of Relationships → Quality Relationships
I still love meeting new people, though, since college where I felt rewarded for knowing more people from being in a bunch of clubs, I treasure those already in my present life.
Carving out quality time with loved ones is well worth it. The more I get to know the current people in my life, the more that I realize I have so much yet to learn from them. Before my Omi (grandma) passed at the end of 2019, I cherished the extra time I was home with her.
Outcome → Process
If I put enough focus on the system, I trust that the small behaviors and actions I take over the long run compound and pay dividends. I want to figure out the method and create the will to be the way. Big lofty goals like writing my book created obstacles and intimidated me in the past so that I wouldn’t even step into the arena.
If I enjoy the process, as I do with my weekly newsletter, I don’t have to have the pressure to rush it.
Efficiency → Effectiveness
I want to embrace being a tortoise. Being a hare in school was not my strong suit. It made me feel like I had a lack of ability when I failed my finals. The chaos that went along with my procrastination in school created anxiety. It ultimately made me dread learning.
I’ve found joy in learning at my own speed since leaving school and following my intrinsic motivators. Through comparing my present against my past self, I opt out of the race against others and focus on self-improvement– being a better version of myself than I was yesterday.
Spontaneity → Serendipity
Random visits from family or friends in school were so exciting for me. I would follow my impulses and drop everything on a whim to be spontaneous.
Recently, I’ve realized how to manage my time to better lead my life. Being in control is empowering while still making room for serendipity that allows coincidences and unexpected good fortune.
Professional → Authentic
Leading up to each year’s career fair in college, whenever I put on my heels and blazer, I attempted to enter a new professional persona. One with sweaty hands and constant stuttering where I felt like I didn’t know how to act. One where I would take myself too seriously. All I knew was that I had to act like someone a recruiter would want to hire. Someone poised who fits the position.
The more I experience life, the more I realize that I shouldn’t try to squeeze into a mold that I don’t belong in. I have been given gifts and personality traits that deserve to be present. The parts of myself like intentional questioning and being mindful while listening is what I want to be in all parts of my life. Not just one compartment within my professional working life. I want to bring my whole self to the work that I do.
Ideas → Actions
Since creating a personal knowledge management system in the summer of 2019, I have created a capture habit to create notes. This quickly led to hoarding ideas.
In order to be an experimentalist, I need to take action and learn from mistakes. In order for new ideas to arise, I can create a feedback loop. Iterations and improvements should be consistently created. They should lead to actual changes and not just ideas in my head that never actualize.
Answers → Questions
Answers are static. Once a question is answered, it can lead to being stagnation or complacency. With questions, they are ever-changing and lead to new discoveries and exploration.
It is a much more rewarding practice than falling into the trap of making assumptions. Much of the world’s reality is already defined by our upbringing and experiences and we need to stop jumping to judgments. Asking questions means you want to learn. You want to understand and seek knowledge.
Talking → Listening
There is nothing wrong with waiting for my turn to speak. It is not worthy of an award to be the first to blurt an answer out like it was to get my participation points in school.
Being patient and mindful by seeing what others have to share is valuable. A key part of collaboration is being hesitant and having an empathetic ear to listen to others.
Understanding → Writing
I’ve acknowledged much of my own ignorance about the world and realized I need to write it out. The stories and narratives of my life already lived to see how they can connect. To better grasp my future, I need to reflect on my past. The simplest way I have been able to crystallize my thinking has been through writing. It is like looking in the mirror and evaluating where I have gaps in my understanding. Through transferring from my head to the page, I acknowledge where I need more thinking.
In the past two years, my values have already made drastic shifts. Inevitably, I know they will shift again and I am ready. Change is welcomed and to be expected.