Monday, February 03, 2020

Why clarify your values?

Yesterday, summing up some key learning  points from Philosophical Life Coaching, I suggested it was a good idea to clarify your values.

One reader then asked me a very good question

"Is there any evidence that clarifying your values is a good thing to do. Couldn't it be neutral or even negative?"

I think Values Clarification is a bit of a misnomer. It should be called values clarification and actualisation -  but that's a bit of a mouthful.

So we need not just to become more aware of our values, we also need to work towards actualising our values.

In the workshop on Saturday, straight after participants had selected a few cherished values, we then looked at how they could bring these values into their lives more. That's where the "value time" idea came up - when you devote 5 minutes a day to one value.

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.” — Lucius  Seneca

That's one justification for values clarification - values provide a compass to steer your life.

The evidence comes from packages which includes values clarification as an element - ACT and certain forms of Behavioural Activation, which have both been found to help with depression.

Of course clarifying your values can sometimes be uncomfortable if you realise that you aren't satisfying them very much. The existentialists had a phrase for this - existential guilt.  Although it may be uncomfortable, it can motivate you to change.

So, remember, when you clarify your values, don't forget to take action as well. 


Sunday, February 02, 2020

Philosophical Life Coaching - 4 key take-home messages

Thanks to a fantastic group who helped yesterday’s Philosophical Life Coaching Session City Lit London yesterday be so special. Here are 4 key take-home messages.
  1. Clarify your values.
    This fun exercise only takes 2 minutes.
    Reflect on one of your best days.
    Then pick out 3 reasons why it was so special.
    These 3 reasons are likely to be amongst your most cherished values.

One of my best days was a few years back on Holy Island off Arran in Scotland. My daughter and I walked around this peaceful oasis enjoying the serenity, unusual wildlife and the spiritual setting.
It’s enjoyable just to reflect on the day. When I come to think about the values of that day, I realise that connection (with my daughter and with nature), calmness and a sense of meaning away from the madding crowd are all cherished values for me.

    For more ways to clarify your values, 

2. You have coffee time, why not Value Time?
VALUE TIME is 5 minutes in your day to thinking about and working towards a cherished value. Set an alarm on your phone so it happens today.

3.Do you ever envy a comic book hero like Superman or Wonder Woman? 
The good news is you already have a superpower.

It’s your mind, your potential to be rational and wise.
Use your superpower today.
4.Understand the difference between what you can’t change and what you can.
You can’t change the past or other people. Accept them.
You can change your attitude and what you do. Focus on what you can change.
The next day of philosophy with me is at City Lit in central London is Saturday March 28th 2020
Hope to see you there.

Superhero picture: Thanks to Thibault fr [CC BY-SA (]