Published June 08, 2011 04:05
In life and sport, there are many choices about what direction to take, challenges to tackle, what to prioritize, and what to have as aims. There are countless mountains to climb. But what if you get to the top only to find that you were climbing the wrong mountain?
Without clear and meaningful values, any success you achieve may be short-lived and unsatisfying. When you direct your life's course and goals according to your principles, you will experience lasting and meaningful achievements, better relationships and inner contentment, both on and off the court.
Take the time to work out what is important to you and act upon your values. Your life and your sport will become more rewarding and you will lay a solid foundation to achieve your best in whatever your heart desires.
What are Values?
Values are the most important beliefs and ethics which help guide and inspire our actions throughout our lives. They are those things that are truly meaningful to us. They are different for each person and there are no "right" or "wrong" values.
Values are like our life's compass, they set the direction in which we want our life to travel. They are like heading north, no matter how far north you go, there is always farther north. It is an ongoing process. For example, the desire to be kind to others is a value; it continues throughout your life and is never "over".
Goals are something you can reach and achieve. You can reach an end point with goals. For example, wanting to improve your first serve percentage to 60% is a goal. With work and practice, you can reach this goal and cross it off your list of achievements. Goals help us stay on the course that we set with our values compass.
When you live in ways that are consistent with your values, you will have a more abundant life. Abundance is more than monetary or material riches; it is internal fulfillment and satisfaction. The more you act in harmony with who you really want to be, a number of curious things happen that stimulate this internal wealth. You will:
• Share improved relationships with others.
• Become more open to new experiences and opportunities.
• Stay inspired, passionate and motivated, even through tough situations.
• Spend your time on things and people which matter to you.
• Gain more clarity, make better decisions and experience more satisfaction.
• Face challenges and problems with greater emotional strength, insight and calm.
All these factors will have a positive impact upon your life and sport and results you achieve. For your career it is the long hours of hard work, education, learning, for sport it is the hours of training and recovery, injuries and setbacks, losses and disappointments - these are all worthwhile when you have a clear purpose (your values) which drives your choices. That purpose is different for every person. Maybe you value being engaged in a sport that tests your mental and physical strength, or you want to advance women's sport. When your actions, whatever you are doing, reflect your passions and values, you will experience a more satisfying career and life time fulfilment.
WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?
Many people are not clear about their values and so they spend their time, energy and focus on things that are not what they want; or on things that others want (such as family, coach, friends or their culture); or on convenient, popular or distracting things to fill in time. When a person does this, the result will be unhappiness and dissatisfaction, even when there are material rewards, such as money and fame.
Identify Your Values
To help you identify your values, take some time to reflect on what you are doing and why. Ask yourself:
• What do you want your life to be about?
• What is most important to you?
• If you had nothing to stop you, what would you invest your time & energy in?
• What sort of relationships do you want?
• What sort of person do you want to be?
• How would you like to be remembered by others who matter to you?
Consider what is important to you in the following areas of your life:
• Intimate relationships
• Education/personal development
• Community Life
• Fun, leisure
• Health (Body/mind)
Your values may become clearer to you, if you imagine you are an old person and are reviewing your life as it is now.
As your "older self", finish these sentences:
• In my life, I worried too much about…
• If I could re-live my life I would change….
• In my life I did not spend enough time doing….
Are there differences between what you value doing and what you are actually doing? If so, you will benefit from making some changes and choosing to live a more meaningful life, one that is in accordance with your innermost heartfelt values.
"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances; to choose one's own way."
We all lose our connection with our values from time to time. When you have identified your values, it helps to write them down. To check if you are living a life in sync with your values, ask yourself:
• Which values are most important to me?
• Which values am I actively living by, today?
• Am I neglecting any of my values?
• Which values should I be working on now?
These questions will help you stay on course with the direction that is most important to you.
Inner integrity is strength of character that comes from being true to your values and from making and keeping commitments, even small commitments, like attending a meeting on time. It provides courage and strength to accept responsibility for the actions and choices you make.
Life is full of complications, challenges, discomfort, anxiety, fears, vulnerability and suffering.
These are an inevitable part of being human. How we meet these challenges depends on our attitude. People who live according to their values are more willing to meet their ordeals head on, to find the opportunities in the pain and to grow from the experience. They adopt an attitude that seeks to find meaning in difficult experiences. Champion athletes also possess this attitude.
When you choose to act according to your values, every aspect you encounter becomes meaningful. Be fully engaged in each part of your life's journey. Be open, curious and aware. That way, your life will be interesting, stimulating and satisfying, even when tough challenges arise.
Be willing to feel life's discomforts and to keep moving in your valued direction. That way, you can embrace every opportunity and live a rich and fulfilling life.
This topic is inspired by:
"The Happiness Trap" by Dr. Russ Harris, www.thehappinesstrap.com/
"Man's Search for Meaning" by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl
The contents of the Health site are for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice. The materials herein are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.