Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Success Is Living Your Values

By Rick Warren

“We should choose to follow what is right. But first of all we must define among ourselves what is good” (Job 34:4 LB).

Everything you do is influenced by your values. Your actions in life are largely determined by the values you hold. Every time you make a decision, you’re relying on your values to tell you what to do.

Unfortunately, some of the values you operate by are counterproductive to your success and a hindrance to your satisfaction in life. You see, many of the unconscious values you live by are ones you didn’t choose; they were imposed on you by parents, peers, and the culture around you. (Today television is the #1 values shaper in our society.) You may be operating on incorrect information and values that don’t stand up under pressure.

Just like the set of the sail determines the direction of a sailboat, your values chart the course for your life. The question is: In what direction are your values leading you? Are they going to deliver what you hope or will you eventually be disappointed?

Here’s another fact about values: they cause a lot of your stress! Stress occurs when what you say you believe and what you actually do don’t line up. For instance:

• When you say, “My family is important to me,” but you’re always too busy or too tired to enjoy them.

• When you say, “I value my health,” but you overwork, overeat, and never exercise.

• When you say, “I’m not materialistic,” but you become so in debt you must worry constantly about finances.

When two of your values conflict, that’s called a dilemma. My experience is that these incongruent values are the #1 cause of emotional tension among believers. What’s the solution?

Identify what is really important in life. “We can choose the sounds we want to listen to; we can choose the taste we want in food, and we should choose to follow what is right. But first of all we must define among ourselves what is good” (Job 34:3–4 LB).

You need to come up with a personal definition of success, not someone else’s definition but your own. Remember this: “Success is the feeling I get when I live out my values.” It’s not a destination. You can be successful at any stage of your life, based on your own personal values and goals. Begin by making a list of what you value most in life. Ask yourself “What is going to last?”

Begin eliminating those things that really aren’t important. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).

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