Do You Know What Your Values Are? Are You Enthusiastic About Them? How Can You Improve Yourself and Your World? These questions get at the concept of ‘living a life of value.’ In this blog, I will explore the place where applied philosophy meets applied psychology, personal growth, and ethics. The goal is to share my thoughts and feelings about this wonderful idea that is bound to make a difference in everyone’s life who spends a little time and thought on the phenomenon. This is vintage Values of the Wise!
Don’t be too quick to click that red X that closes your computer’s window! Literally, many people don’t know as much about their values as they do their favorite TV show, the religious dogma, or the sports team they grew up watching.
You use your values every day, but do you know how you came to honor those particular values? What are they? Can you list them off as quickly as you would list your favorite foods? Most people can’t, and that is curious, since values underlie and affect one’s behavior, success, satisfaction, roles, beliefs, goals, health, and spiritual life. Values of the Wise was my personal journey to grow and improve, and the same process can help you identify and emphasize values that you yourself choose, that you can be proud of, that you can defend. In doing so, you will be living “a life of value.” If that makes me sound like a guru, it shouldn’t. Know why? Because I’m not selling an expensive program or intervention. Just some free tools, access to the best quotations on wisdom and virtue, and some nice, normally-priced books. Nothing for $299 or $999 that takes a weekend. This might take a lifetime, I must confess…but might cost next to nothing.
- A life of value is when you know what you value, which virtues you possess, and what makes you ethically/spiritually/emotionally/mentally unique.
- You are aware of what the influences are on the values you possess at the current moment, and you make efforts to emphasize those of your choosing and de-emphasize that are really just instilled in you because of culture, genes, religious background, early family environment, etc.
- You are making consistent progress seeking and cultivating within you the values that you consciously choose – preferably values that are not harmful to others – for example, passion and courage versus greed and vengefulness.
- You are excited by your values. You know what you believe, why, and how. Every day you are proud of or enthusiastic about the life you lead, the relationships you are in, the mark you’re leaving on the planet. You are motivated to live life, to become all you can, to make a positive difference, to come to know yourself.
Educate Yourself Without Being Bored, Turned-Off, or Patronized
Values of the Wise is a solid, reputable source for educating yourself, finding support, and exploring what thousands of interesting and wonderful persons – ancient and contemporary – have had to say about your chosen values. Do you wonder what exactly Mohandas Gandhi felt about justice and peace? Do you think that Mother Teresa or the men who stormed the cockpit of flight 93 when it was hijacked on September 11th have something to teach about service and courage? Do you wish there was a definitive source that was non-partisan, non-sectarian, and not temporally-limited to inform you about these values you have deep inside you but don’t really know how to get enthusiastic about? If you’re a member of a jury, a mother, a leader in the workplace, or a teenager trying to figure out your belief system, wouldn’t it be nice to have access to a deep and wide collection of thousands of thoughts on the values you value?
What Do You Mean by “Values?”
- What is the difference between peace and fulfillment? How are courage and strength similar and different? Describe justice. Have you ever really felt passion? Is your level of self-awareness what you really want it to be? Do you practice peace every day? What does it mean to be dedicated? What can you do to assist your children as they grow up in today’s world? How can you be more successful? What is love about? What is the meaning of life? What is out there in the cosmos? How can I contribute to the healing of the planet? What role can I play in this society, saturated by self-serving media, inauthentic religion, and corrupt politics?
- In order to answer the previous questions, it takes actual learning, thinking, consciousness, conscientiousness, and practice. Developing one’s ethical, spiritual, and emotional life does not happen as easily as gaining weight – it is more akin to exercising. But when you think of Jesus, see that movie character doing the right thing, hear the Dalai Lama, or watch a religious figure in your place of worship, think of Martin Luther King or Helen Keller, do you – like me – get the feeling that they practice and really “live” their chosen values?
- This is one step along your long journey. It’s nothing new, it’s nothing esoteric. I suggest you try to be more conscious of yourself in all the aspects described in this posting, spend time researching and exploring the quotations about values available on this site for no cost, and look into the authors. Think of exploring wisdom as something that you’ve done some work on, and which will continue to occupy you for the rest of your life. Just make a slight mid-course correction today, and your future will be much improved. If you felt that a real, paper book would be helpful, I would be honored if you bought one. There are also two free, interesting “tools” or “assessments” available here also for free. One helps you find out what moves you, and the other provides insight into your moral approach. Both can be very enlightening and intriguing.
- Go to it! This is not a golden key to a whole new life, but if I were selling that, I would be misleading you. This website, a product of 13 years of work, is my way of trying to be of value. I hope you take advantage of it.
- Fulfill yourself; be of service.