In both the business world and our personal daily lives, we will be faced with many new and difficult experiences. Each new experience provides us with the opportunity to make decisions regarding how we will act or react. Each of the decisions that we make shows the world a little glimpse of who we are, what we believe in, and what we stand for.
When you really step back and think about it this way though, we give the people around us so many “glimpses” each day, that what we’re really providing is more of a window into our character. It’s kind of scary, isn’t it – to think that all of the little choices and decisions that we make throughout the day, the ones we often don’t give much thought to, are what people are judging us and the content of our character by?
That’s why it’s important to really know what you believe in and what you stand for. I don’t mean that you should wait until you get into a really tough situation and then decide what your values are. I mean decide now! Figure out what is important to you in life, what matters most, and live by those beliefs. Then, when you face hard decisions, you’ll have values and beliefs to fall back on, meaning you’ll be able to gain the trust and support of the people you work with. They’ll see you and what you stand for, and they’ll know that their leadership is in good hands.
Where to Begin
You probably already have a pretty good handle on what things are priorities in your life. Now you just need to put some extra thought into the details, to take the time to write them down. They don’t have to be beautifully written or even grammatically correct – you are the only person who will be reading them. As long as you are happy with the way they are written (and you can understand your own handwriting!), you’ve taken care of what matters.
Step 1. Start with priorities. You can start with a list of priorities of things that you feel are important. Think of anything that’s personally important to you. Here’s a quick example:
1. Be nice to people (even when they make it tough).
2. Get enough sleep.
Step 2. Revise. Next, as you read over these priorities that you have listed after some time has passed, you’ll begin to add to them and rewrite them. You’ll start to include points and priorities that you want to remind yourself of when times are tough. They might start to look like this:
1. Be nice to people. Understand and remember that we all come from different backgrounds and are at very different places in our lives.
2. Take care of yourself physically! Eat good foods, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have much to offer and help other people with.
Next thing you know, you’ll be looking at a list of motivational, insightful, and well thought-out values instead of just a list of priorities. By the time you’re done, you’ll have an entire system of beliefs and values that will be there to remind you of what’s really important.
What Was That About Maxims?
It’s time to stop thinking of a maxim as a dirty magazine and start thinking of it as a belief that you strive to live by. According to definition, a maxim is a “succinct” (concise) “formulation of a fundamental principle, general truth, or rule of conduct.” That’s what you have written! By the time you finish the entire writing process, you will have concise statements that contain your ideals, beliefs and priorities.
How To Use Them
1. Read them every day. After a few months you might even have them memorized. I have mine pinned up in my room so that I can read them as I brush my teeth and get ready in the mornings.
2. Refer to them during stressful, confusing, or just generally rough times. Sometimes when you simply take a step back from a situation and look at it from the bigger picture, it doesn’t seem as confusing or stressful. That’s what your maxims are for! They help you keep track of the bigger picture and stay focused on what really matters. I also have mine in a little notebook that I always have with me. Anytime I need them, they’re at my fingertips. You won’t see me whipping out the little notebook to refer to them in the midst of a rough or confrontational situation, but you might see me pull them out and read through them as I’m waiting for a class to start and I have an issue weighing on my mind.
As you can probably already tell, my maxims have been and still are an important tool in my life. It’s comforting to have all the things that are most important to me written down and made permanent in a sense. Hopefully you will find that having your own maxims to live by helps you in many aspects of your life as well. The expectation now is that you will go about your daily life giving people little glimpses into your character with the many choices that you make each day, and you’ll feel better knowing that the glimpses you are giving are exactly what you want people to see.
To get you off to a good start, I am leaving you with my maxims. While they are very personal and meaningful to me, I also know that they are very powerful and might be just the thing to inspire you to take the initiative and write your own. They may not work for you, or you might not even agree with them, but these are the thoughts that help me make it through the tougher times of my life – my own personal maxims. So good luck in building your own! I hope your maxims are as useful and meaningful of a tool for you as mine are for me!
Hope. Without it you can go nowhere, do nothing. You must first search and find it in yourself and then take the responsibility to share it with everyone you come into contact with.
Freedom. Live life free from biases, prejudices, judgments, opinions, and constraints. Change only comes with the freedom to think outside the box. God will always be by your side, so trust him and free yourself of everything else that restrains you.
Love. Love every single person that crosses your path every single day of your life. Love is the greatest power of all – it will always conquer evil, always. Love life, love people, love the weather, love your hangnails, love your bruises, love your mistakes, love your failures, but most importantly or most of all, love yourself and love God. Know that sometimes in the process of loving there must be hurt and pain. Remember these feelings and use them to help you reach out and keep others from feeling the same. Use your hurt and pain as “fuel” to love others unconditionally.
Learn. Learn something new every day. About someone else, about the world, about God, about yourself. Don’t ever stop learning. You will never ever be “above” learning something new. You must actively strive to learn, it’s an active process. Don’t ever be satisfied with what you know or think you know. An inactive mind will never progress and will only keep others from progressing. There is always, always, always a lesson to be learned from everything. NO learning = NO growing.
Share. Share your life, your dreams, your time, your assets, your everything as much as you healthily can. What good is a talent or specialty unless it is shared with others? Let others share with you and be careful with their dreams and words. Don’t harm their growing wings before they are even able to fly. Don’t rob them of all the good fortunes they may have in their future. Share the wealth and happiness. There is plenty of both to go around.
Don’t get stuck. There is always more than one answer — always an alternative to whatever is keeping you down or making you unhappy. Never give up. People are there for you. God is always here for you. Everything is what you make it. Don’t settle for less than what you know in your heart it could be. Never settling and always persisting is what has and always will set you apart from the rest.