A Values-Based Approach to Living: Part 1- Faith and Hope
Combing back through the days, months and years of my life, I find myself reminiscing about the guiding forces and values that have led me to where I am today. We’re all products of our environment, to some degree. And yet, we also have autonomy and freedom of thought to define what we want to become- and who we want to be.
I realize the times when I’ve been happiest and most productive — truly centered and vibrating with clarity of thought and peace of mind — have been when I operated from a base of meaningful core values. You can define these for your life and live up to them each day.
A tricky thing that we do sometimes, is play a guessing game around when we’ll truly blossom and find ourselves. There’s no telling when we may find the assorted pieces in our life gelling and coalescing around something special that makes sense.
When it happens, it can come via a relationship, career choice, acquired skill or particular direction of thought. I have found that we can accelerate and increase our chances of happiness and fulfillment by determining values that resonate with our heart, mind and soul.
We’ll change our minds millions of times in life about a variety of subjects. Heck, politicians do it seemingly hundreds of times per week! (note the present campaign)But our values should be firm, resolute and concrete. If you’re just starting out in college, a few years into your career or even a decade (or more), you’ll do well to go out and live, and maintain self-awareness and perceptive observation of all the activities you participate in.
Experience is acquired. Experience cannot be bought or transferred from another. We can hear stories, learn all kinds of lessons and grow in wisdom from the stories of others, but as Robin Williams’ character, Sean Maguire, told us in Good Will Hunting, the only way we’re going to find out about ourselves and journey in life is, “by givin’ it a shot.”
Our experiences give us perspective and enable us to define our values. As I wrote about in my previous post, my values are based on my personal beliefs, which come from the knowledge and wisdom I’ve acquired from a multitude of sources: the study of history, my faith, analyzing life lessons, learning about the lives of others and of course, my personal experiences.
I’ve been able to function at a much higher-level by determining the values that matter most to me. Allow me to share:
The foundation of my values structure is faith. Everything in my life flows from my belief in God, my belief in others and belief in myself. I learned during my 20s, that if I ever wanted to live life on my terms and be truly free, I needed to have a tremendous belief in myself and what I could achieve.
I combine these beliefs by trusting that things will work out if I have faith in a power greater than myself. For you, that may not be God. But that doesn’t mean that faith cannot or should not be an integral component of what defines you.
“RICHES begin in the form of THOUGHT! The amount is limited only by the person in whose mind the THOUGHT is put into motion. FAITH removes limitations! Remember this when you are ready to bargain with Life for whatever it is that you ask as your price.” — Napoleon Hill
It’s important to note in the above quote that Mr. Hill used the word, “riches,” which most people interpret as financial wealth. The thing is, he was talking about a multitude of qualities that formed the composite “riches” that he wrote about. I’ll list his 12 qualities below for your edification. For now, I’ll allow the man to explain in his words what he meant:
The 12 Things Which Constitute Real Riches
- A positive mental attitude. (Notice this is #1)
- Sound physical health
- Harmony in human relations
- Freedom from fear
- The hope of future achievement
- The capacity for applied faith
- Willingness to share one’s blessings with others
- To be engaged in the labor of love
- An open mind on all subjects toward all people
- Complete self-discipline
- Wisdom with which to understand people
- Financial security (Notice this is last)
When you have strong faith in yourself and in a power greater than yourself, anything is possible. Faith opens up your mind to possibilities, opportunities and imagination. Opportunities lead to the probability that what you’re searching for and desiring, you will soon find. Faith leads to the belief that joy and fulfillment can be yours, if you are also willing to hope.
Hope is born from faith. When our hope grows and manifests itself, it gives life to our dreams and leads us to the truth. Faith propels us into hoping for what we believe in. Despite all the changes in my life, good times, bad times and mistakes I’ve made, I have always chosen to live with a hopeful heart for the future.
I have learned that anxiety, worry and fear can rob us of joy in the moment, but hope always perseveres in the long-run. My future in this world- and the one to come- has always involved hope and, the belief that the best is yet to come.
“Hope’s highest manifestation is the perseverance of the soul who has seen a better day, who has a tangible sense of what satisfied feels like, who knows that the reality of their today dims into a pale insignificance when compared to the radiant, the incandescent promise of tomorrow.” — Wayne Abel, The New Hope Times
When you possess hope, you begin to develop a passion that leads to love- whether that be for another, a cause, pursuit or goal that you desire. Hope is a prodigious power that continues forging forward, elevating your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual states to a higher plain.
During serious moments of doubt in my life, I’ve always held out hope that things would improve. Hope is an enduring flame that lights the way for us, through a power that is our own — that no one can or ever will take away.
Just remember, as Tim Robbins’ amazing character, Andy Dufresne said in The Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
It is wise to build your foundation of values on faith and hope.
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