“Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths and values.” – Sai Baba
On April 14, 1912, at 10:00 p.m., the Titanic crashed into an iceberg in the mid-Atlantic and four hours later sank. The story is told that one woman while boarding a life boat asked if she could go back to her room. She was given only three minutes to do so. She hurried down the corridors, already tilting dangerously, and quickly scurried through the gambling room piled ankle-deep in money.
In her room were her golden treasures waiting to be taken, but instead, she snatched up three oranges and hurried back to the boat. One hour before, she would have quickly chosen diamonds over oranges, but in the face of death, values are seen more clearly.
Unfortunately, many people go through life having no clear sense of their true values. Instead, their desires are molded by the culture and the advertisements that bombard upon them each day. As a result, they find no consistency in life. No unity. Their desires change as fast as the culture and they are quickly swept off their feet by the newest fashion, the most recent technology, or the latest worldly pursuit. In exchange, they sacrifice a life committed to their values.
In contrast, a firm conviction of your heart’s values leads to a single, unified life – one that is not tossed about as easily. It is built on the things you ￼￼hold most true to your heart. And no new advertising campaign is able to change it.
The first step in finding this inside-out simplicity is to identify your deepest heart values. This process should not be made too difficult. It is highly valuable – even life-changing – yet, remains neglected in countless lives:
- Grab a piece of paper and pencil.
- Across the top, write “What I Most Want to Accomplish with My Life.”
- Write down whatever comes to mind.
- When the moment feels right, stop.
Of course, the harder step is to actually live by those values when the pressures of a consumerist society pull you elsewhere. Living these values out will require careful evaluation, intentional decision-making, a commitment to live different than everyone else, and constant reevaluation.
But taking the time to remember what’s most important will always pave the way for a life better lived. And it ought not go neglected in our lives.