There are a thousand songs telling us that love is a mystery, but I would say love is clear as a bell compared to the human heart. We are defined by what we love and value, and those are often incredibly hard to perceive.

But this is very important, financially and personally, because every decision we make is through this lens, this fixed lens that has been molded and bent by our raising, environment and loves. Every time we love something, we become more like it.

So as part of any decision-making process, getting out of your skin and seeing yourself clearly is step one. Step two is comparing that analysis to a standard of truth.

Today, we’re focusing on step one.

Getting out of your skin to see yourself clearly.

First question: If tomorrow never comes, what will you regret? Will your regrets be about yourself or others?

This question is important because your regrets come from your values and your values from your understanding of your purpose.

So when you have a bad day, whatever made it “bad” to you exposes what you value down deep. If you had a bad day because someone got in your way, then you see your agenda as more important than theirs; you value your time over theirs.

Which, a step deeper, means you see your life purpose as self-actualizing your own personal agenda, forget what everyone else is doing: self over everything else.

So in some ways, it’s clear as a bell.

But the plot thickens as the mystery deepens, and what we find is the human heart can be motivated by eight things at once, some of which may represent themselves as an entirely opposite attribute or property.

Which is why, the only way to become the best version of yourself possible, is to love something really absolutely tremendous. A lot of somethings really absolutely tremendous.

If you love yourself, you will end up an addict, prioritizing your momentary experience over literally every other thing.

If you love money, you will end up an addict of another sort, enslaved to the movements of the market and economy, becoming emotionally and personally detached from everything but the flow of economy.

If you love people, you will end up hating people because for every person you love, there will be 10 enemies, and hate is stronger than love when people are the object.

If you love God, you will end up becoming more and more like Him, not because you are trying to, but because He’s just so incredibly compelling.

At the end of the day, we are what we love, messy and complicated as that is. But that is vital to understand and evaluate as we make decisions. Evaluate — not based on our words but our actions.

We just can’t help ourselves — we never pass up opportunities to broadcast what we love and value. We curate our social media presence to appear the way we want to appear, we read books we agree with and give that part of us energy, our credit card statements reflect lots of activity on things we love, not things we hate.

It is very clear: we are defined by what we love and value.

Actions speak louder than words.

No matter what you do, you can’t fake or hide your loves.

G. K. Beale wrote a book titled “We Become What We Worship” and its principles are step one in my process of decision making.

You can’t make a decision if you don’t know your heart.

“What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.” – G.K. Beale


Adam Setser is a financial advisor with Kerrigan Capital and Risk Management, 3543 North Crossing Circle, Valdosta. He can be reached at (229) 588-8448.

Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Cetera firms are under separate ownership from any other named entity.

The opinions contained in this material are those of the author, and not a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell investment products. This information is from sources believed to be reliable, but Cetera Investment Services LLC cannot guarantee or represent that it is accurate or complete.

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