One of the most important characteristics of leaders, and of the most successful people in every area of life, is that they know who they are, what they believe in, and what they stand for. Most people are confused about their goals, values, and ideals, and as a result, they go back and forth and accomplish very little. Men and women who become leaders, on the other hand, with the same or even fewer abilities and opportunities, go onto great accomplishments in whatever they attempt.

Life is lived from the Inside Out. The Very core of your personality is your values. Your values are what make you the person you are. Everything you do on the outside is dictated and determined by your values on the inside, whether clear all fuzzy. The greater clarity you can have regarding your values on the inside, the more precise and effective will be your actions on the outside.

Your values determine your beliefs about yourself and the world around you. If you have positive values, such as love, compassion, and generosity, you’ll believe that people in your world are deserving of these values and you will treat them accordingly.

Your beliefs, in turn, determined your personality, your expectations. If you have positive values, you will believe yourself to be a good person. If you believe yourself to be a good person, you will expect good things to happen to you. If you expect good things to happen to you, you will be positive, cheerful, and future orientated. You will look for the good in other people and situations full stop

Your personality is determined by your expectations, is your attitude. Your attitude will be an outward manifestation of reflection of your values, beliefs, and expectations. For example, if your value is that this is a good world to live in and your belief is that you are going to be very successful in life, you would expect that everything that happens to you is helping you in some way. As a result, you will have a positive mental attitude towards other people, and they will respond positively towards you. You will be a more cheerful and optimistic person.  You will be someone who others want to work with and for, buy from and sell to, and generally help to be more successful. This is why a positive mental attitude goes hand in hand with great success in every Walk of Life.

Your personality, is your actions. Your actions on the outside will ultimately be a reflection of your innermost values, beliefs, and expectations on the inside. This is why what you achieve in life and work will be determined by what is going on on the inside of you than by any other Factor.

As Within, So Without

You can tell how people think, most of the time, but looking at the conditions of their outer lives. A positive, optimistic, goal – and – future-oriented person on the inside will enjoy a happy, successful, and prosperous life on the outside, most of the time.

Aristotle said “that the ultimate aim or purpose of human life is to achieve your own happiness.” You are the very happiest when what you are doing on the outside is congruent with your values on the inside. When you are living in complete alignment with what you consider to be good and right and true, you will automatically feel happy and positive about yourself and your world.

Your goals must be congruent with your values, and your values must be congruent with your goals. This is why clarifying your values is often the starting point to high achievement and peak performance. Values clarification requires that you think through what is really important to you in life. You then organize your entire life around these values.

Any attempt to live on the outside in a manner that contradicts the values you hold on the inside will cause you stress, negativity, unhappiness, pessimism and even anger and frustration. Your chief responsibility to yourself in the creation of a great life is therefore for you to develop absolute clarity about your values in everything you do.

Know what you really want

Stephen Covey once said, ”Be sure that, as you scramble up the ladder of success, it is leaning against the right building.” many people work hard to achieve goals that they think they want only to find, at the end of the day, that they get no joy of satisfaction from the accomplishments. They ask, “Is this all there is?” this occurs when the outer accomplishments is not in harmony with their inner values.

Socrates said, ”the examined life is not worth living.” This applies to your values as much as to any other area of your life. Values clarification is something you do on a “go forward” basis. You continually stop the clock, like a timeout in football, and ask,” what are my values in this area?”.

The happiest people in the world today are those who are living in harmony with their innermost convictions and values. the unhappiest people are those who are attempting to live in conflict with what they truly value of belief.

Trust your intuition

Self-trust is the Foundation of greatness. Self-trust comes from listening to your intuition, to your “Still, small voice” Within. Men and women begin to become grey when they begin to listen to their inner voices and absolutely trust that they are being guided by a higher power each step of the way. Living in a line with your true values is the road to self-confidence, In what way am I compromising my innermost values in this situation?”.

 Watch your behavior

How can you tell what your values really are? The answer is simple. You always demonstrate your true values in your actions, and especially your actions under pressure. Whenever you are forced to choose between one behavior and another, you will always act consistent with what is most important and valuable to you in that moment.

Values, in fact, are organized in a hierarchy (6-10). You have a series of values, some of them very intense and important and some of them weaker and less important. One of the most important exercises you can gage in to determine who you really are and what you really want is to organize your values by priority (top 10). Once you are clear about the relative importance of your values, you can then organize your outer life so that it is in alignment with them.

Examine your past behavior

There are some insightful ways to help you determine your true values first of all, you can look at your past. How have you behaved under pressure in the past? What choices did you make with your time or money when you were forced to choose? Your answers will give you an indication of your predominantly use at this time. What makes you feel important? What raises your self-esteem? What increases your sense of self-respecting personal pride? What have you accomplished in your past life that is given you the greatest sense of pride and satisfaction? These answers will give you a good indication of your true values.

Extracts from Brian Tracy 

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