The surest way to stay on the path of authenticity is to have clarity about what matters to you. What is it that you deeply care about? Your answer to this question speaks to your values and heartfelt aspirations. Shaping your life around your core values is essential to experiencing life as purposeful.
When people are asked what matters most, responses include “my family,” “a successful career,” “world peace,” “love,” “my faith,” and “making a difference”. If people are honest about where they put their thoughts and energy, responses such as “money,” “recognition,”and “power” would be expressed more frequently.
To live a life of meaning it is critical to discern between values and desires. It is important that we not put disproportionate energy toward desires which can keep us in an endless loop of searching for more.
It is not enough to relate to what matters most as an abstract idea. The more experience–near it is, the more authentically we experience ourselves. The more clearly and concretely we can embody our values in everything we do, the more purposeful our decisions and actions become.
What matters most can change and evolve, which is why it is important to cultivate curiosity. Actively asking the question of what matters most and answering it in increasingly vivid and specific ways helps us naturally feel energized. Our existing reserves of energy, once tapped, help to shape our lives in meaningful ways.
It is not that externals don’t matter. They do. The difficulty is when we believe that life right now is not enough, that we cannot embody what matters most until conditions beyond our control are met. When this happens, we are creating road blocks to authenticity. These barriers thwart our heartfelt wishes.
We don’t help ourselves to reach our highest aspirations by demanding that our dreams reveal themselves in a particular way. The secret to realizing our dreams is to allow for mystery in their unfolding. We can still do all we can to create the conditions that allow our aspirations to manifest. Yet it is important to remember that our values cannot be dictated by how we think things ought to unfold.