Which Values Drive You?

values in life
Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

I see all this potential, and I see squandering. An entire generation wasted. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t.
– Tyler Durden

  • Wake up.
  • Go to work.
  • Laugh at memes.
  • Netflix.
  • Try to make your life look awesome on social media.
  • Sleep.
  • Go out on weekends.
  • Repeat.

I was scared in my early 20’s.
Most people are scared of being alone, debt, or not being able to find a job.
Not me.
I had the feeling of being lost in the world and not having a purpose. I didn’t wanna feel average, or feel like a “cog in the system.”
Can you relate?
I know I wasn’t the only one.
We can’t all change the world, but we can all live a more purpose driven life.
And the first step to doing that was defining my values in life.
Every person has a code whether or not they realize it. And I think a big part of happiness is to live a life that’s authentic with your values.
Creating your values will help you figure out your purpose in life, and to help guide some of your decisions.

Why Are Values in Life So Important?

I’m thinking about some of my previous relationships and friendships. Some of them didn’t work out for different reasons. But what I realized is that we are always incompatible due to differences in our values.
What if you value saving money, and your wife doesn’t? Fighting about money is the #1 cause of divorce in the states.
Or what if you valued saving time, and your friend was always 30 minutes late? There’s always going to be that resentment when they’re late.
What if you’re always trying to level up your life, but your high school buddies are all about being “content?” I’ve dealt with this before. I wanna talk about my travels and business. They wanna talk about their kids and sports games on TV. We’re just different.
I’ve realized that defining my values helps me pick who I wanna surround myself with.
Defining your values also makes it so much easier to make decisions. If you value telling the truth, then that’s your default response.
I wanna share with you 3 of my values in my own life. They’re personal to me, and hopefully, they can inspire you to create yours.

#1 Expanding My Comfort Zone

(That pic is not me btw)
Everything I’ve achieved in life is because I did something that I felt uncomfortable with.
If it makes you feel uncomfortable then that’s a sign you should do it.
Some things I did in the past to expand my comfort zone:

  1. Entered a Brazilian Jiujitsu Competition
  2. I did a stand-up comedy class
  3. I sky dived

These scared me. But I felt a sense of accomplishment when I did it. Every time I look back on these memories I feel a sense of wonder at myself.

My first ever BJJ tournament!
Now I’m trying to expand my comfort zone, so what challenges will I do?

  1. Taking Salsa lessons. I have zero rhythm whatsoever and I’m worried about looking dumb in front of people.
  2. Signed up for an Improv comedy class. I think I have a good sense of humor, but I’m not sure if I can come up with things on the spot.
  3. I want to do 5 days with Wim Hof. The thought of being in the cold terrifies me. It’s hard enough taking cold showers.

I’m getting nervous thinking about doing each of these.
But I wanna conquer them.
If the 18-year-old version of me could see myself now, I would want him to think “holy shit.
Some quick comfort zone challenges for you if you’re interested:

  1. Go outside. Say hi to the next stranger you see after reading this article.
  2. Go to a busy area and lay down for 30 seconds.
  3. Do a 1 minute cold shower.

The comfort zone is a muscle.
The stronger this muscle becomes then the easier life becomes.

#2 Facing the Numbers

tracking the data
I’ve always hated tracking data.
I remember being broke in college and never looking at my bank account. I figured if I never looked at it, then the problems would go away.
If I’m not making progress in an area it’s probably because I’m not tracking the numbers.
There’s an underlying value behind this – that’s to FACE THE TRUTH.
It’s hard to face the truth.
It’s hard to look at the numbers and admit to yourself, “I’ve wasted so much money.” or that “I’m not working as hard as I think I am“.
But if you wanna make process, then figure out what number affects your growth.

  • Want to get stronger? Track your lifts.
  • Want to lose weight? Track your macros.
  • Want to improve your finances? Track your spending and your net worth.

It’s easy to lie to yourself. But the numbers don’t lie. They keep you honest.

  1. Analyze the problem.
  2. Figure out which activities will solve it.
  3. Measure the results.
  4. Analyze the results.
  5. Decide next action.

But you can’t do this if you don’t have the numbers.

And I always resisted tracking numbers because I thought it’d be a huge hassle.
It’s bullshit.

  1. It has never been easier to track anything. There are so many apps out there, and you’re always with your phone anyway. (MyFitnessPal + Calm are ones I both use a ton).
  2. Tracking lets you know if what you’re doing is working. You think taking 5 minutes a day is too much time? Imagine doing something for 6 months and making no progress, then wondering why.

Whatever you’re trying to achieve…boil things down to a single metric.

I’ve always hated tracking numbers, but every time I start tracking I start improving.

#3 Giving

Death is coming for all of us.
We all picture ourselves growing old with our future grand children. But over the past few years, I’ve seen a few guys my age who passed away suddenly.
And it’s made me think about my own relationship with death.
Death doesn’t scare me.
What scares me would be dying and knowing my life didn’t matter. That I didn’t contribute to the world while I was here.
But I know that if I were to pass away that my parents would be taken care of financially. I’m also working on establishing some living trusts to donate to charity after I’m gone.
What about all the pain and lessons I’ve gone through in life? It brings me a peace of mind knowing that what I’ve learned won’t be wasted.
Hundreds of thousands of people have read my articles and hopefully benefited from them.
I believe that we all have an obligation to leave the world better than we found it. If you’re successful then it’s your duty to pass on some of the wealth – either financially, your time, or your knowledge.

Because no one achieves success on their own.

  • We all benefited from the school system.
  • Tons of animals died to help nourish me.
  • I didn’t have to worry about war affecting me because some people have made sacrifices.

Knowing this – I gotta find my way of contributing.
But there are two sides to this.
I was watching this YouTube video of a millionaire who bought a Ferrari.
Someone made a comment along the lines of:
“What a stupid purchase. If I had that much money I’d donate it to charity”

  1. How do we know that millionaire hasn’t already donated a ton to charity?
  2. This line really stuck out to me…“if I had that much money.”

It’s easy to get caught in the trap that you don’t have money to donate.
Even $1 helps. You can always donate your time if you don’t have the money.
It’s easy to point fingers at others. It’s harder to look at ourselves and think about how we can do better.
I’m challenging myself to give more financially.
I’m also challenging myself to give more of my time (if you read my shit then you know how much I cherish my time).
Sometimes I get emails from people who are visiting New York City and wanna have coffee with me. They’re probably going to ask me 100 questions about affiliate marketing. But I still accept a lot of offers anyways.
Hopefully, me giving an hour of my time can save them a lot of headaches.

How Do You Become Better at Your Values?

You guys know I’m all about systems.
I evaluate my life values during my annual, quarterly, and monthly planning.
I’m looking at the values and thinking:

  • What went well with my values?
  • What could’ve I done better?
  • How can I improve on these values?

Action Steps

Come up with 3 to 5 core values.
Core Value Examples:

  • Dependability
  • Reliability
  • Loyalty
  • Commitment
  • Open-mindedness
  • Consistency
  • Honesty
  • Efficiency
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Good humor
  • Compassion
  • Spirit of adventure
  • Motivation
  • Positivity
  • Optimism
  • Passion
  • Respect
  • Fitness
  • Courage
  • Education
  • Perseverance
  • Patriotism
  • Service to others
  • Environmentalism

Don’t pick values that just sound good. You want to decide on values that truly resonate with you.
Review them regularly and use data to track how you are sticking to them.

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