In the Chimp Paradox, Steve Peters has created the ultimate ‘life’ reference point; a list which contains our truths, values and beliefs called the Stone of Life. The stone is divided into three parts:
The Truths of Life
The truths of life are how we believe the world works. This can come from personal experience, as well as influences, such as parents, education and life events. On a surface level, the truths of life may seem negative but in the ability to accept them comes with contentment. For example, if one can accept that, ‘life is not fair’, when something unfair happens we can find it easier to accept it and find solutions, rather than wallow in self pity: ‘it’s not fair, you always eat the best breakfast cereal.’ Why not get up earlier, or set aside a bowl the night before?’ Breakfast cereal is an ongoing issue in my house! My truths of life are:
- life is not fair
- things change: plans, feelings, people
- there are no guarantees
- my feelings, emotions and thoughts do not always make sense
- I make mistakes
- people will let you down
- people think and feel differently to me
Our values are what is most important to us. They remind us who we are on a deep level. They reflect our core principles as human beings. They differ from ‘truths’ as they are not evidence based; they are judgment calls. You cannot prove that lying is wrong and therefore it is not ‘truth’. However, it is a common value that many people hold dearly and so it would come under the ‘values’ category. My values are:
- be honesty and accept honesty
- show kindness, fairness and empathy to others
- put loved ones’ needs ahead of your own
- continue to learn and adapt, take risks
- be curious, have fun, laugh
The Life Force
Imagine you are 100 years old and on your death bed with one minute left to live. If your grandchild asked you, ‘what should I do with my life?’ How would you answer? Your answer is what life is all about to you. It is your ‘life-force’. My answer would be, ‘follow your dreams, love people, have adventures, feel free, work hard at being successful; strive for happiness and contentment. In truth, this is advice for ourselves right now and is the essence of our existence.
Summary of the stone of Life
- The Truths of Life are statements that you believe are true for the way the world works.
- The Values are principles and ideals you believe in.
- The Life Force is what you believe life is about and how it should be lived.
Now that I have taken the time to create my Stone of Life, I must refer to it, live by it and most of all not forget about it.