We all have our own settings. Parameters that are formed as we work our way through life. Initially we are given some default values by those around us as we are growing up, when we are simple, dent free pieces of plasticine that can be moulded into anything and everything. A product of our environment, essentially we are what we know. We associate ourselves with what is familiar. For example, have you ever driven passed your old family home and regardless of the area, the conditions or the memories made there you feel a connection it. It feels familiar, safe, even if it wasn’t. Where I am from, Ponders End in Enfield North London the area has/was always been regarded as a bit of a dump. I’m not sure why as to me it feels like and is home. It’s what I know. I feel safe walking around the streets there day or night  whereas a lot of people never would and avoid the area. We are built on what we know, what we are taught and understand.

It’s only really when we get a little older and other influences come in contact with us we can question our mould. it can come from any source but at some point as we meander through life we will interact with so many other influences and opinions, a multitude of advice. Good and bad and it is left to us to work our way through it. It’s this journey that helps us form and fuse what we see as important in life. What we value, our values.

These invisible things that, in essence make us who we are. If someone asked what you valued above all else what would your answer be? The general concensus would be something along the lines of family or love, honesty or trust. All great examples and absolutely all things that should be heading up that list. Does the reality match the questionnaire though? Does the ‘after hours, behind closed doors’ marry up to the sparkly facebook status. It’s a hard thing to be honest with when the truth might not necessarily be in that top ten and it’s more plucked off of the seven deadly sins.

There are no right or wrong answers here by the way, each and everyone of us has the freedom to value greatest whatever we wish. It’s only really the opinions of others that effectively taint our choices and of course one of the things we do here is not concern ourselves with the opinions of others. They have no bearing on us and our choices, nothing to do with our lives. It is when we let those outside opinions concern us that we get blown off course. If we start doing things with the thoughts of what other people may think in the back of our minds the; one: we are not applying ourselves fully to our selves. and Two: we are doing it all for the wrong reasons.

For me I’d have to say integrity reigns supreme. It’s mere definition is so powerful yet so simple; Do the right thing even when no one else is around. How incredible is it to live by that mantra. It’s certainly something I apply to myself very heavily now, especially after so many years falling short of what and how I want to be. To be focused on doing the right thing in any situation regardless of if you are on a stage at Wembley Stadium and being streamed live across the globe, or if you are the only person in a thousand mile radius. I guess an example I see a lot of is peoples kindness others in order to receive praise or appreciation. So many times I see videos of peoples acts of kindness that are just so staged. No don’t get me wrong no act of kindness is wrong as long as it’s pure. It doesn’t sit right with me taking time to have someone film you giving food to  a homeless person when the next day you walk straight past them. Kindness, true acts of selflessness need not be advertised or marketed. The people doing things behind the scenes with no bells, no whistles, no banners or ‘likes’. Just people with incredible integrity taking time, resources and compassion out of their own lives to help others. Even if that help is fleeting, it is pure.

It’s doing the right thing even if it comes to your own detriment. Making a sacrifice or going without because the right thing to do doesn’t benefit you but someone else, even if that benefit is indirect. Life and kindnesses a domino effect, dominoes that can fall either way. But what we need to do is look a few dominoes ahead of where we are. See what our next move will create. What way it would make the dominoes fall and how. It’s those knock on effects that find their way back to us. Those things we create will form a pathway all the way back to us. Theres no set duration or amount of dominoes that have to be connected just at some point, one will hit us on the back. It is just up to us now. In the here and now to decide on what we want to come back to us.

It’s continuously building patterns of behaviour in exactly the same way as we build daily momentum on working towards our goals. Consistency  is king (or Queen). That consistency forms habits, the same habits applied to your work ethic should be transferred and applied to  your spiritual and well being side , the ethical side of you. If you develop and maintain that in parallel with everything else in your life it forms a beautiful fullness your existence. Let your values be the driving force behind what you want to be, what you want to achieve. They are the undercurrent to who you are, no matter what you project outwards towards people these will always show through. So best make sure they are in alignment.

Life has this wonderful knack of unearthing everything that needs to be aired, this isn’t what it does to shame or embarrass you. It’s just lifespan’s way of cleansing you because it only wants the best for you and you cant have that if there are discrepancies. Think of it as a spot, life is putting a zit on your face in the hope it will prompt you to get some cream and treat it but if you don’t life won’t just remove it, it’ll make it bigger until you cant avoid it anymore and what do we all end up doing? We squeeze it. Once we give it a little squeeze its a little sore, it looks a bit angrier but then goes. Thats all life is trying to do, make us align ourselves.

We get to choose what way we set those dominoes off and of course they may well deviate here and there but the bigger picture is they will complete their journey by eventually tapping you on the back. One of the biggest indications of if you have set them off in the right direction is how you sleep. If you are sleeping like a baby then you can be fairly confident that all is well, unless you’re an incredibly clever, devious puppy that knows how to cheat the system. But if your sleep is broken, erratic or you sweat then thats a few little nudges to look within and see what is amiss. Sleep reflects a lot of how we are and who we are. Personally I have never slept so well as I am now these last couple of years. It’s a satisfying feeling when you flick the light off at the end of the day and nothing is flying around, no unanswered questions, no regrets or displeasure of how you’ve acted or carried yourself. It sets you up for the following day to continue to build on those patterns, the consistency and regularity of behaviour.

So be mindful of where you want those dominoes to set off from, take a little time to see what you do and what the knock on effect would be, then give that first one a tap. That way you won’t be too surprised when they come back around to the starting point.

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