A value is, by definition, the worth, usefulness or importance something retains in comparison with something else or something such as a principle or quality intrinsically valuable or desirable. Priorities are similar in that they are contingent upon comparison however, priorities can be simpler and more mundane than a value. Your priority can be to get the laundry done all the while maintaining honesty as a priority – two very different things and yet, both priorities.
Often the baggage of misplaced values keeps us from achieving our dreams. We may value something but do not choose to make it a priority or the way in which we attempt to pursue that value may look different than how we think it ought to look.
For example, many people value security. They place a high importance on mitigating risk in their lives. Usually, this takes a monetary form. Many people who value security are concerned with owning a house, having a secure and stable job and making their home a safe place, consistent and not likely to change. On the contrary, some people value experience. This may take the form of travelling, taking an art class, or going out to a concert. They would rather spend money and time doing something than accumulating something.
Values however, can become baggage when we carry them around more for show and don’t actually make them priorities or when we don’t understand how to pursue the value successfully. Many people value happiness and pursue it whole-heartedly. They purchase big homes, go on fancy vacations, buy luxury vehicles and designer clothes or indulge in pricey spa treatments – the only problem is that those things do not necessarily bring about happiness because happiness is an inward state and has very little to do with the outward appearance.
The truth is, if your value isn’t a priority, it probably isn’t a very important value in the first place. As I said, a value is relative. It is assigned worth in comparison with something else. If I value saving money but don’t make it a priority, I am never going to save any money and it probably isn’t very high on my values list.
So here is the challenge. Make a list of your values. Need a little help to get started? Check out this list. After you’ve done that, take a look at your life and determine your priorities. In other words, don’t write down what you think your priorities are but how exactly you spend your time and your money.
Do your lists line up? If not, maybe it’s time ditch the baggage of misplace values.