Imagine embarking on a life journey, and in your hand, you hold a compass—the one that points in the direction aligned with your deepest values and principles. It’s unique, calibrated not by Earth’s magnetic field but by your own set of ideals.
In the ever-shifting landscape of life, your values are the unwavering needle of your compass. It guides you toward the actions and decisions that resonate with your deepest convictions.
What Are Ideals?
An ideal can be defined as a principle or value you prioritize and actively pursue as a personal goal to achieve. They are the magnetic north of your moral universe, keeping you oriented and true to yourself. And if you set them correctly and pursue them wholeheartedly, these values can be life-changing and have an impact on not only yourself but also those around you.
On a larger scale, ideals refer to universal principles, such as love, peace, justice, compassion, integrity, freedom, and respect for human rights. These are values that are beneficial to humanity as a whole.
What does it mean to have ideals?
Having ideals means having values that center and guide you through your life.
Mind you, there are skeptics out there. They often struggle the most through life because they have trouble finding and embracing their values. They might be financially successful or have impressive careers, but their inner lives often lack focus and meaning.
Therefore, it’s important to find and define your own beliefs. It’s only then that you will be able to take full control of your life and become the best version of yourself.
Ideals vs. Ideas vs. Values
These three interrelated concepts serve as the building blocks of our beliefs and behaviors. However, they each play unique roles. For example, equality for all human beings is an idea—a good and noble one—but it is not an ideal.
To turn it into an ideal, you must accept it as one of your highest personal values and embody it in your life through your actions.
|Ideals||Standards or principles we aspire to achieve. They can be personal attributes, societal standards, or individual goals.||Justice, equality, and freedom are common values in many societies.|
|Ideas||Mental concepts or thoughts that form in our minds. They can be imaginative, innovative, or reflective of one’s ideals.||The idea of creating a democratic society or a smartphone.|
|Values||Principles and beliefs that you hold dear and that guide your behavior.||Honesty, integrity, and compassion are values that many individuals uphold.|
In short, while ideals represent our ultimate goals, ideas are the innovative concepts that might help us reach them. As for values, they are the guiding principles we adhere to along the way.
Examples of Ideals in Life
When we talk about ideals, we often refer to the principles or standards we aspire to, whether personally, socially, or professionally. They embody our highest standards or goals, shape our behaviors, guide our actions, and inform our aspirations.
Think of them as your life vision—where you see yourself five years from now in every aspect of your life.
Jon Butcher, the creator of Lifebook and trainer of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Online Quest, explains that your life vision is the ideal state you want to achieve in life across all dimensions. And without a clear vision, living an extraordinary life is impossible.
So your life vision encompasses all areas that come together as one—that’s how you get your life vision as a foundation for your personal development plan.
Let’s explore some inspiring examples of goals across twelve important categories.
Life ideals in health
There is not a single aspect of your life that your physical health does not affect. So your health values are going to be deeply connected to everything else in your life.
Here are some examples you can draw inspiration from:
- Being in great physical shape is my identity.
- I choose to be a strong, muscular athlete for the rest of my life.
- I will continue to improve my aerobic capacity, my strength, and flexibility as time goes by.
- I’m planning to live to be at least a hundred years old.
- I embody the full potential of the human structure, enjoying a life of grace and ease of movement in all environments.
Life ideals in intellectual life
According to John, the mind is a human’s strongest skill. And your thoughts become your reality, so when you choose what to think, you create your reality intentionally and consciously.
Additionally, your cognitive abilities directly correlate with your career success, according to scientists. So having a clear vision for your intellectual life and implementing strategies will ensure your holistic development.
Here are some examples of intellectual life’s inspiration:
- I am a highly intelligent person, and I trust my mind to come up with good decisions. I live smart, and that makes me smart.
- I will constantly improve my intellectual capabilities in the future. I dedicate myself to a life of never-ending intellectual improvement and education.
- I will use my intellect to live an intelligent life. I will take action on the information I learn.
- I will think deeply and deliberately about everything that is important to me.
- I feed my thirst for knowledge. I am continually growing and learning, always expanding my mind and my thoughts, and applying what works to make my life better.
Life ideals in emotional life
Your emotional life reflects your emotional intelligence and ability to regulate your emotions. According to science, your level of EQ can greatly contribute to your career success, while emotional regulation directly affects your well-being across the lifespan.
Most importantly, accepting and acknowledging your emotions, honoring them, and treating them as tools of awareness is key to an intimate connection with the deep aspects of yourself and emotional growth.
Here are some examples in emotional life you may have:
- I see myself as having very high emotional intelligence.
- I will become a master at managing my emotional states. I will define and create the emotional experiences I want to have on an ongoing basis.
- I’ll let all those positive emotions add up to an extraordinary attitude.
- I will consciously cultivate and nurture my highest emotional value, which is happiness.
- My emotions empower my relationships and my actions. I radiate gratitude, kindness, compassion, sensuality, and balance.
Life ideals in character
To crush your personal goals, it requires you to have certain traits. Think of them as your self-identity; your choices in life and your actions are extensions of it.
According to this large-scale study, conscientiousness is the single most important trait that predicts success.
Some of the traits that are associated with it are discipline, consistency, reliability, and resourcefulness. So having these traits will expand your self-identity and help you make good choices in life and avoid bad ones.
Here are some examples that you can draw inspiration from:
- For courage: I am not afraid to take the necessary risks. I can be afraid and still do something anyway.
- For kindness, compassion, and respect for others: My actions never violate the rights of the people around me.
- For determination: I can accomplish anything that I set my mind to.
- For trustworthiness: I hold things in confidence, I always tell the truth, and I can be trusted to always have someone’s best interest at heart.
- For patience: Good things take time, so I will learn to love the process. I need patience, so I don’t give up.
Life ideals in spirituality
Spirituality defines your deepest beliefs about life, the world, and your place in it. As Jon puts it, “It’s the path you walk, and it is personal to each individual.”
Remember that spirituality is your direct experience of the divine and deeply personal relationship with it, and it’s your inherent right and responsibility to define and explore it outside of any belief system.
Here are some examples you can have in this category:
- I will continuously strive to obtain a clearer vision of reality and my place in it.
- I want to contribute to others’ lives to the best of my ability. And leave this world a better place than when I found it.
- I am here to nurture, care for, love, guide, support, and protect my family for as long as I live and beyond. They are and will always be the focus of the gifts that I’ve been given.
- I am devoted to growing my faith in the service of others and our world. I strive to bring heaven to earth so that earth can be brought to heaven.
- In listening to and following the guidance I receive throughout the day, I become an active participant in re-creating myself daily.
Life ideals in a love relationship
Romantic relationships play a key role in your development. Plus, it can be a source of your well-being and negative experiences, according to this systematic review.
Jon explains that if you have limiting beliefs about this category, they will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So defining your principles in this category will help you attract the relationship you desire.
And if you’ve found your special one, like Jon and Missy, they will help you build an extraordinary love full of passion and dedication.One of the biggest challenges in romantic love is turning ourselves into an extraordinary partner. — Jon Butcher Click To Tweet
Here are some examples you can incorporate into your ideal vision for romantic relationships:
- We love each other deeply. Love for us means: we adore each other, have a deep regard for one another, and have admiration and respect for each other.
- We put each other first.
- We are an unshakable team. We give each other the benefit of the doubt. We always have our best intentions at heart.
- We are dedicated to constant growth, both as individuals and as a couple.
- We are a team. We work together and support each other in achieving our goals, and we rejoice in our victories together.
Life ideals in parenting
Whether you are already a parent or not, this category is as important as it gets. Because it’s not just about you and your family; it’s about the future of humankind. And no human experience can replicate parenting in any other way.
Being a parent can bring the purest joy and happiness, but at the same time, it’s one of the most challenging experiences. And your vision of what kind of parent you aspire to be will define the happiness and well-being of your children.
Here are some examples of great parenting principles:
- We aim to raise independent, healthy, happy, and courageous children.
- Our children understand that their lives belong to them totally and completely, not to us. They cherish their freedom and understand the responsibility that goes along with it. They do what is right for themselves, not for our sake.
- Our children feel deeply loved because we give them lots and lots of physical affection—hugs, kisses, and cuddles. They know we are always there for them.
- I will take my children on adventures for learning and exploring to help them become the most well-rounded, independent people that they can be.
- My children live in truth. They are open, centered, receptive, whole, and complete.
Life ideals in social life
Social life includes your relationships with friends and extended family. They aren’t static—they constantly move and fluctuate.
According to Dr. Robin Dunbar, a professor in experimental psychology at Magdalen College of the University of Oxford, your social connections are limited, so choosing them intentionally and wisely is a must. Most importantly, you want to nurture and cultivate them, as some of the greatest joys and fulfillment can be found in this category.
Here are some examples of social life’s vision:
- I want extraordinary friendships. We don’t have time for shallow friendships. I have to pick good friends, and I have to be a good friend.
- I want to have friends of all ages; it just makes life interesting.
- I yearn for a deep connection in my friendships. We compare experiences, share insights, support each other’s growth, and nurture each other’s spirits.
- I see myself attracting more lifelong friendships that have space and depth to grow.
- Community is so important to me. It’s where I bond, learn, support, collaborate, and grow. In each new community, I cultivate friendships and show my care and compassion.
Life ideals in financial life
Do you have a love-hate relationship with money? Your beliefs and aspirations in this category are some of the most impactful because money permeates every aspect of your life. What’s more, financial issues are the root causes of all crime, according to world statistics.
So before you define your vision in this category, it’s important to understand that money isn’t evil or good. As Jon puts it, it represents the best things that people have to offer each other. And reframing the way you see it is crucial.
Now, let’s look at some examples of financial values:
- I see myself as living in an abundant universe.
- I am destined to be a big financial success.
- I have a healthy, loving relationship with money.
- I know precisely, with clarity, how much money I want and need.
- I use my unique talents well. I set goals to help other people. And as a result, there is an unlimited amount of money flowing back to me.
Life ideals in career
Most of your waking hours are spent at work, so choosing your career based on your talents and passions will ensure that you have an enjoyable life.
According to Jon, if you want your career to be fulfilling and rewarding, you should seek to make other people’s lives better. So having a vision for your career that includes others will ensure that your career path will make this world a better place.Pick something you're good at, and you will become even better. — Jon Butcher Click To Tweet
Here are some examples of career principles you can have:
- I want to choose a career out of genuine interest, one that gives me joy, fulfillment, and excitement.
- My work is a true and natural expression of my life purpose, and it brings constant joy, motivation, and fulfillment.
- My skills are highly sought-after, and I attract wonderful clients. I enjoy the people I work with. I contribute hugely to everyone I work with and make a difference in their lives.
- I feel fulfilled when my work combines analytical, creative, strategic, and social tasks. Having all those things in my daily work makes me happy, joyful, and needed.
- I am living my dream career. I don’t view it as work but as an honor and a privilege to do what I do every day.
Life ideals in quality of life
This category encompasses all other aspects of life. It’s about the material things you want to have, the experiences you want to create, and the environments you want to be surrounded by. It’s about your dream adventures, dream house, dream car, and other things that will enrich your life.
Having clear goals in this category will help you envision what it feels like to have everything you’ve ever wished for and enjoy the freedom of choice.
Here are some examples of ideals to enrich the quality of life:
- I want the freedom to do what I want, where I want, and when I want.
- I want our environment to be in perfect harmony with who we are as people. Our environments are where we experience the quality of life.
- What I want most for our quality of life is freedom and simplicity, so that I have more time to be, feel, do, love, create, and share with others.
- Travel, travel, and more travel. This is the richest part of our quality of life. It is where we can dream, change, see, learn, share, and simply be.
- I have freedom of choice, and I choose to live in harmonious environments, travel first class, and use high-quality products.
What Are American Ideals?
Like many other societies, American society is founded on a set of ideals and principles. They represent the highest values towards which America as a nation strives, including equality, rights, liberty, opportunity, and democracy.
Here is a word or two on each of them.
- Rights. All Americans should have equal rights and be equal before the law. Everyone is guaranteed, by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, a set of basic human rights.
- Liberty. Every individual is free to exercise their own rights as long as they are not posing a threat to someone else’s rights or breaking the law. Also, each individual is free to pursue their own goals and their own happiness, whatever they may be. Someone may want a house in the suburbs, while someone else may want to travel the world.
- Equality. It was Thomas Jefferson who famously said that all men are created equal. Equality is a basic tenet of American society and much of the Western world. Even though equality has evolved through time and places, today it encompasses all people, regardless of gender, color, religion, or social status.
- Opportunity. Equality of opportunity is one of the founding principles of the United States and a linchpin of modern capitalist society. It means that ability should be the ultimate measure of value, not social status, color, or gender.
- Democracy. Throughout its history of more than 2,000 years, democracy has been defined and practiced in many different ways. America, for example, is a representative republic where local people elect officials to represent them in federal and local governments.
These principles remind us that the journey is not about creating a perfect society but about striving for a more equitable and just one—a society where every individual has the freedom to chart their own course, guided by the unwavering needle of these enduring principles.
Turning Your Life Ideals Into Your Ideal Life
Values and ideals are much more than philosophical concepts and small-talk themes. They have profound meaning and can have a tremendous impact on your life and the lives of those around you.
However, without a structured way to integrate them into our daily lives, they risk remaining mere abstract notions—compelling but unattained.
It is possible to turn your goals into a living reality. Mindvalley’s Lifebook Online Quest can help you do just that. Created by Jon and Missy Butcher, it’s a 12-category blueprint that provides a comprehensive path to living your dream life.
This isn’t about blindly chasing perfection but about consciously designing a life in sync with your highest values. Lifebook Online helps you dissect and understand each category, reshape your beliefs, and build a feasible action plan tailored to your aspirations.
What’s more, by signing up for a free account, you get access to a life-envisioning masterclass. This can give you great insight into this game-changing framework.
Images generated on Midjourney except for the one of the Mindvalley trainers.