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Embracing Self-Discovery in a World of Noise: Navigating Towards Your True North

Updated: Mar 26

Most people wander through life without clearly defining their values, leading to aimless days and perplexed decisions. Discover how Craftd can guide you in charting your course and finding your true north, turning life's uncertainties into a journey of purposeful direction.

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I have a friend who has an internal compass. It’s a great party trick. We can be in a new city on vacation or in a crowded restaurant with no windows and ask her which direction is north. Immediately she points in the right direction. It is eerie how correct she is, nearly 100%. She also loves birds, so I think she has some sort of homing gene useful in flight that got switched on during her embryological development. In a world where we often rely on GPS to find our way to the nearest coffee shop, her skill seems almost magical. Just as my friend has her internal compass, we too need to find our own 'true north' in the chaos of life.

Understanding the Need for Self-Discovery

Sigmund Freud, a pivotal figure in psychology, posited that humans are fundamentally pleasure-seeking creatures. Much of his theory has been revised by modern psychology, yet his cultural impact endures, manifested in the prevailing epitaph 'You do you' or 'Do whatever makes you feel good.' In a contrasting perspective, Viktor Frankl, a physician and Holocaust survivor writing contemporaneously to Freud, asserted that humans are fundamentally driven by a search for purpose. Drawing inspiration from Friedrich Nietzsche in Man’s Search for Meaning, he stated, 'He who has a 'why' to live for, can endure almost any 'how'.' For Frankl, the essence of life is rooted in discovering and dedicating oneself to a meaningful purpose over time.

Research by the Harvard Business Review indicates that most people navigate life without a clear purpose. They discovered that only about 21% of individuals can explicitly define what 'the good life' means for them. Roughly a fifth of the population has concrete goals and milestones, but less than 10% have taken the step to articulate their life’s purpose.

Reflecting on these insights, it becomes clear that identifying and committing to key personal values is a pivotal step in crafting one's life mission. This process transcends cultural scripts and pleasure-seeking tendencies, fostering a deeper, more meaningful engagement with life.

In the following section, we delve into practical advice on selecting your core values, thus nurturing a life rich in purpose and significance.

Values: The Anchor Points for Our Course

Before charting a course, it's essential to understand the undercurrents that drive us – our values. Often operating beneath the surface of our consciousness, values are the unseen forces steering our decisions and reactions. Ever wondered why you made that big career move? Reflect on past choices to discover the values driving such decisions. Identifying these values demands honesty and introspection. In doing so, you may find that you are driven by values that you don’t want to adhere do such as vanity, competition, or fear. Extricating these false values from your subconscious may be the most beneficial outcome you achieve from your first session.

  • Reflect on Past Choices: Analyze pivotal decisions. What propelled them? Were they driven by internal desires or external pressures? Quite often we find that we may have understood our personality, capacity, and deep desires more appropriately when we were younger, before we were laden with so many responsibilities.

  • Examine Your Ideological Framework: Everyone operates within an ideological context, be it rooted in faith, philosophy, or personal beliefs. Understanding this framework is key to aligning your actions with your values. Can your framework support the direction of your life? Raising children within framework based on nihilistic materialism can be a conflicting task.

  • Seek Insights from Trusted Others: Conversations with close confidants can offer valuable perspectives on your true values. People who know you and love you can often see your strengths you may not fully appreciate or identify weakness you’ve been denying. They can affirm values that you’ve adhered to consistently over time, perhaps unknowingly.

  • Daily Journaling: Tracking daily experiences can reveal patterns indicating underlying values. Management expert Peter Drucker “Tell me what you value and I might believe you, but show me your calendar and your bank statement, and I’ll show you what you really value.” How could you take stock of your habits and develop an honest assessment of what you value?

  • Envision Hypotheticals: Imagining scenarios, such as a life without financial constraints, can uncover hidden values. What would you do if money was no object? Would you stay in your job? Why or why not? What values, if you held to them, would you be glad you chose even if the outcome looked like failure to others?

Click here for a downloadable worksheet with over 100 personal values to choose from!

After going through this process and giving it some time to let what you’ve learned sink in, 3-4 guiding values should begin to emerge. These don’t have to be permanent, but they should be stable. We all change as we experience more of life, but often these core values shape our experience rather than get changed by it.

Defining your core values should not be seen as a burdensome chore, akin to the stress of writing a term paper destined for the trash can next week. Instead, consider these values as steadfast anchors, keeping your life stabile and on course when the winds of change blow.

Imagine a person who values family connectedness – they won’t waver when they get a job offer on the opposite coast. On the flip side, if adventure is woven into the fabric of your being, that distant job might just be your next great chapter. "This isn't about complicating life, but simplifying it. It’s setting the stage so you know when to say yes and when to say no more effortlessly. If you feel like you're wandering aimlessly (and let's face it, many do, as the Harvard Business Review suggests), perhaps it's time to plant your anchors and chart a direction that will last."

Conclusion: Staying on the Path to Purposeful Living

Embracing the truth that the journey towards self-awareness and purpose is not a straight climb to the summit, but rather a gradual, evolving process, is essential. This path is crafted through thoughtful introspection and steady, deliberate strides of growth. It's about aligning your actions with your deepest convictions, a pursuit that not only leads to personal fulfillment but also enriches the wider community. Try processing all this with Craftd and see how our AI can make this process more efficient. Nobody gets more points for doing it the hard way, but I bet if it’s hard you’ll never do it!

"So, set sail towards your true north – no compasses required, just a heart tuned to your deepest values." Try processing all this with Craftd and see how our AI can make this process more efficient. Nobody gets more points for doing it the hard way, but I bet if it’s hard you’ll never do it!

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