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Friday, August 7, 2009

Be True to Your Values

The common wisdom these days seems to be, "It's not the things we do that we regret, but the things we don't do."

Hogwash.

There are lots of things I've done that I regret, and the ones I regret the most are the ones that I knew better than to do.

In other words, every time I violated my values, I lived to regret it.

Back when I was deeply involved in the Christian community, a pastor said something interesting. He said, "Just before we sin, there's usually a moment of decision. At that moment, we often convince ourselves that what we're about to do is the right thing to do. We rationalize the wrong to be right."

At that moment, we fail to be true to our values. That right there is a pretty good definition of "sin" (a word I use less and less these days).

But I guess that before we can be true to our values, we have to decide what those values are.

Have you ever defined your values?

Try this: Take a piece of paper, and write down the five values that you hold most dear. Don't write the Ten Commandments, or the Five Precepts, or the Four Agreements. Write your values.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

So how long did it take? Longer than you thought, I'll bet.

Now carry that list around with you. When there are decisions to make, consult it.

And you'll find, I suspect, that you generate less and less regret.

And as a result, you'll be happier.

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