Monday, June 23, 2008

My Values List

One of the most important steps in "knowing thyself" is defining and realizing what your values are. Unfortunately it is also one of the most difficult steps to do. It can be brutal amd surprising, yet enlightening at the same time. Values tend to be the driving force behind almost all your goals and activities. If you want something then most likely it is because it fulfills some value you have, also if something upsets you or you resist something then it is because it imposes upon one of your values. The stronger the reaction the higher you hold that value.

The very act of the self reflection needed to discover your values is in itself rewarding and enlightening. It will explain yourself to yourself. Additionally once you know your values and have them out there, you can study them and align them with your goals and actions.

Below you will find (more or less) in order my highest values.

1. Self Respect, a sense of personal pride and value in myself.
All my other values boil down to this one. The reason achievement or personal development or even health is important to is because without them it would hurt my sense of pride and respect I have and need in myself. The need for self respect is the driving force for almost all of my actions and desires.

“Self-respect is the cornerstone of all virtue.” - John Herschel

2. Achievement, a sense of accomplishment.
Achievement is the metric by which I gain a lot of my self value. It is important to achieve and do something that was hard just for it's own sake. Doing so makes me proud of who I am, what I have accomplished, and that I am strong enough to overcome the obstacles in my life.

"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence." -Frederick Douglass

3. Personal Development, striving to become better and greater and more than myself.
To gain self respect I must achieve. To achieve I must have something to achieve and strive toward. Personal development is the means to that end. The greatest obstacle man can ever overcome is himself. There is no higher achievement. I am the yard stick to myself for nothing else exists.

"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." - Aldous Huxley

4. Freedom, personal liberty, independence and autonomy.
I must be free to plot my own course. To be tied down, fretted with weights, means I cannot act and do as I wish. To be in bondage would hurt my self respect, as well as stop me from achieving what I wish. To do anything I must be free to act. Liberty above all.

5. Inner Harmony, being at peace with myself.
I must be at peace at the end of the day with my life and my actions. What good is all the achievements and deeds, and struggles if I cannot live with myself or feel at ease and comfortable in my own skin?

"The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself." -Mark Twain

6. Learning, discovering and understanding knowledge, developing wisdom.
Is there a more sublime joy than the joy of learning?

7. Responsibility, ensuring health and happiness for those in my care.
To not provide for those I feel responsibility for such as my children would wound my sense of self worth.

8. Health and Physical Fitness
Good health ensures the energy and the time I can devote to the life I want.

9. Economic Security
Man's economic welfare must be taken care of before any higher ideals can ever be realized.

10. Affection, loving and being loved.
Makes life worth living, smooths out the rough spots.

1 comment:

Dean Wilson said...

Excellent post, Brother.

I think most people will want to try to deny that "pride" is actually a good thing (in its balanced form), but I think you hit the nail on the head here by stating that it is pride and self-respect, a basic feeling of worthiness, that gives all other virtues meaning. If we don't feel worthy, then we can kiss knowledge, health, liberty, affection, and everything else out the door.

I must try my hand at this exercise. I can see it as being highly illuminating :)