In these days of mass hysteria about jobs, economic forces, and political machinations, it’s easy to miss the fact that these are the perfect times to reaffirm what we really believe in. So much is made of a stylized American value system, when all that really amounts to is a compilation of feel-good sayings, Constitutional misreadings, and political gamesmanship. But the values that matter are not the cliches of a social movement, nor the tidy sentiments of a politically correct culture. It’s the things that actually motivate our behavior – that define us through our everyday choices. It’s in this spirit that I’d like to discuss the values that matter – our personal values.
First, I ask you, how does one decide what values to hold? Are they based on parental influence, or spiritual maxims, or cultural standards, or a mix of all three? And how do you go about defining them? Is it a one time thing, or a lifelong process for you?
For me, my values took shape over years of re-evaluating what I learned from my parents, my faith, and my experiences as a father, husband and worker. After lots of meditation and seeking, I took a week or so of writing and re-writing the values I felt define me. They came from a place of imagining the person I want to be remembered as, and the actions and emotions I would want to experience on an everyday basis while being led by these values. The process helped me to understand more the person I am, the person I used to be, and the person I want to become. I must admit I haven’t focused as much as I would like on living my values, as Benjamin Franklin did on a daily basis, picking out a virtue and working on it in a systematic fashion throughout his life. However, I do review them weekly in my planning sessions, and I periodically adjust my goals and objectives when I realize I haven’t been acting in concert with my core values. It truly is a life-long process to value your values to the point that they become a part of you.
I’ll list my 8 core values here, but I am very interested in hearing from others to see what their values are, how they live them out, and how they pass them on to the next generation. Comments are more than welcome, they are encouraged and sought after.
My 8 Core Values
I’ll profile my approach to each of these values throughout the coming weeks. Perhaps it will inspire someone else to really look closely at their own values and motivations. For only when you know why you do what you do, can you really do what you want to do.
Looking unto the hills,