If there is something that you believe you would love to have in your life—having more money, more passion, more happiness, more energy, more productivity, more meaning —I can tell you that the reason you don’t yet have it in that particular form is almost certainly that you don’t truly value it enough. There is something else you value more, and that is where your energy, time, money, and focus have gone, whether you are aware of it or not.
When you truly value something, you are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to fulfill that value. You’ll notice people, places, things, ideas, or events to fulfill that value that another person will surely miss. You’ll mobilize your energy to take advantage of those opportunities. And you’ll bring all your mental, physical, and spiritual resources to bear to make sure that you fulfill what you truly seek.
Your highest values determine your attention, retention, and intention what you notice, what you remember, and what you intend or act upon. We often hear a lot about Attention Deficit Disorder— the difficulties some people seem to have in being attentive and focusing steadily. But when you think about it, we all have some degree of ADD for the things that we don’t value. For the things we do highly value, we have what you could call an “Attention Surplus Order,” which does a fabulous job of filtering your perceptions. Out of all the stimuli in your environment, the ones you notice are the ones that will help you fulfill your highest values. Your highest values will lead you to notice things that another person might miss—even if you tried to point it out.
Believe it or not, your highest values also affect what you remember. That is, you are far more likely to retain information that you believe will help you retain your highest values and to forget information that does not relate to those values.
We all know people who say, “Oh I can’t remember anything—I have a mind like a sieve” — and then they rattle off the scores of their favorite teams, the results of their latest blood pressure test and cholesterol count, or the details of their child’s latest triumph in school. For those things that truly matter, people have selective biased retention—the ability to select and hold on to the information that supports their highest values.
Finally, your highest values create what is called “selective biased intention,” adding an extra power to those intentions that truly align with those most important values. For instance, if you place a high value on your health, you’ll make sure that you get to the gym, even if you have to give up some other pleasures to do so. If you place a higher value on “dressing for success,” you might skip the gym in order to stop by your favorite fine clothing store. If you want to know what you truly value, look at what you make time for.
Just think about the power we mobilize when we bring together attention, retention and intention to fulfill our highest values. There is really no stopping us. What we value most shapes how we process information, what we remember, and how we act, so that our minds, emotions, and intentions all work together to fulfill whose most meaningful values.
This is why your true highest values are infinitely more powerful than any social idealisms and why it is so important not to allow social idealisms and why it is so important not to allow superficial and social idealisms to cloud the clarity of your most inspiring values. Aligning your day to day decisions with your highest values is the key to achieving a fulfilling life. By becoming aware of your highest values, you mobilize your deepest power. It’s an unbeatable combination.