The Driving Value – Part 2

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A History of My Own Driving Values

When I was a kid, I was more like my younger son and attempted to avoid pain more than seek pleasure. As I got older (later high school and early college years) my driving value shifted to hard work.

Because of my academic limitations I  realized I had to work harder than my peers to achieve the same level of success. So that’s just what I did. For me it wasn’t just about the success that my hard work created. It was about living up to my potential and being proud of myself.

I knew I would never be the stand out student in any of my classes, but I took great pleasure in knowing that no one would have worked harder or spent more time reading/studying than I would have. This value extended into my early adulthood as I began to collect jobs at one point working four different jobs.

This required me to work all seven days of the week. Transition from a traditional schedule to an overnight schedule midway through the week and then back again. This lifestyle doesn’t fit with my present day driving value. However, it fulfilled this early iteration of my driving value.

Near the end of my undergraduate career my next driving value emerged: the pursuit of knowledge. As I worked through graduate school my value of hard work was no longer the major deciding factor in how I lived my life. Instead I desired to better understand the world around me.

Everything I met was an opportunity for me to grow, learn and build knowledge. I accumulated massive amounts of books (and even read some of them). I sought wisdom and counsel from others with more or different life experience from me. And I pursued knowledge and understanding with the curiosity and open-mindedness that it deserved.

Both of these values served me well and helped me develop into the person I am today. However, both have fallen from driving value to core value. They are both still important to me, but they are no longer the reason I make the choices I make.

My Current Driving Value

My current driving value is the pursuit of health. This value developed when I became a father. I recognized the need to seek balance in my life and make sure that in all aspects of my life I am as healthy as I can be.

Being mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically, and relationally healthy is my goal. My family deserves the best version of me. The best way I know how to give that to them is to always ask myself if what I’m pursuing is healthy.

Does the decision I’m about to make lead me to the healthiest/best version of me? If the answer is no, then I need to reconsider and correct course.

None of this is to say that I’m some pinnacle of healthy living because I’m not, far from it. However, having taken the time to decide what does matter to me, I am a much healthier and happier version of myself.

This blog is a perfect example of both my triumph and failure in this area. I’ve had the idea for this blog for years. Yet I’ve continually decided not to live up to my driving value. Despite knowing it was what the healthiest version of myself would do, I found reasons not to do it.

I hope I keep it up as I’ve found it has made me a happier/healthier human being. However, I know that I may just lose motivation for it one day. On that day, I hope my value will override my humanity. Pushing through whatever obstacle I see in my way.

My physical health is another area I know I need to work on. It has improved since having kids. However, for someone with a family history of heart disease I know I need to make better choices.

Conclusion

Putting the time into identifying your driving value won’t automatically solve all of your problems. However, it will help you live a more intentional life. A life that is more in line with what matters to you.

By living intentionally you will get more out of life, and be a better version of yourself. This is a worthwhile pursuit.

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4 Comments

  1. I tell myself all the time that I need to be mentally tougher. I feel like there are times that I give up too easily and there are definitely times that I have to push through. It definitely helps when I have the encouragement of my wife but I’d love to be slightly more driven but I’m getting there 🙂

    1. First, let me say congratulations for being my first commenter on the blog. I so much appreciate you reading and being willing to share your reflections!

      Mental toughness is a muscle that needs to be built over time. The fact that you are working on it is a huge step in the right direction. I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that a journey of a thousand miles is only accomplished one step at a time. Focus on the step in front of you and you’ll get there!

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