How to figure out what really matters to you

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Watch for the signals

Few days ago my car suddenly surprised me with a yellow warning and an unpleasant sound to let me know that the battery is becoming weaker. The designers of the car added such a warning mechanism in addition to many others in order to let the driver know about the kind of problem the car is currently experiencing.

In other words the car was designed to send the driver a signal about what really matters to it. If everything is fine the car won't be concerned about anything and it won't send any signals.

When something goes wrong, and the car gets concerned, the proper warning would be sent and the warning will remain there until the problem is solved.

Does this sound familiar to you?
And no i am not asking you about your car but i am asking you about your own emotions.

We humans are blessed with a system of emotions that tells us exactly what's wrong with us. In my article Where do emotions come from i said that emotions are the signaling system used by our brains to let us know that something is wrong.

Just like the car sends a distress signal when it's concerned your subconscious mind also sends you a signal when it is concerned about something.

How to figure out what really matters to you

Each single emotion that you experience can let you know more about the things that matter to you in life and the things that don't really count.

Let's suppose that while checking Facebook or Instagram you found that a friend of yours have got thousands of followers. In such a case your emotional response towards that piece of data can tell you a lot about yourself.

If you got jealous and felt bad then you must realize that you do care about popularity, fame or success. In other words you got emotionally affected by that event because one of those things really mattered to you. See also how to find your goals in life.

Now this was a very simple example but i am pretty sure you can relate to it. Each day you will experience tens if not hundreds of emotional changes and each one of them can let you know about one or more things that truly matter to you.

In my article Why your life should be purpose driven i said that all humans without exceptions have needs and goals that they want to fulfill. Many people think that they don't have any important goal or a purpose just because they don't really understand themselves.

Your emotions won't just help you understand yourself but they will also tell you about what really matters to you.

Most people ignore the signals

Now here is the sad part. Most people ignore the signals sent to them by their brains and even prefer to distract themselves not to notice them. In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i said that true happiness never happens unless you start giving your brain the things that really matter to it.

When you ignore the signals sent to you by your mind then it will respond back in turn by making you feel sad, down and depressed. In such a case those bad emotions are nothing more than stronger signals having the purpose of motivating you to pay attention to what really matters. See Why happiness is a destination not a journey.

How to find what really matters in few minutes

  • 1) Learn to monitor your emotions: Most people never pay attention to their change in emotions unless their emotions are very severe. Learn how to monitor the changes in your emotions for that can tell you a lot about yourself. See The reason your emotions keep changing all the time
  • 2) Find out the things that change your emotions: Whenever something changes your emotions make note of it. After some time you will have a list of the things that change your emotions
  • 3) Connect the dots: Once you have enough data you will find that there is a certain pattern that results in the change of your emotions. If you feel bad about yourself whenever you see a successful person for example then know that your ultimate goal in life is to become successful. It's as simple as this. How to become successful fast

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