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1. Introduction to Values
A value is a belief,
a mission, or a philosophy that is meaningful. Whether we are
consciously aware of them or not, every individual has a core set of
personal values. Values can range from the commonplace, such as the
belief in hard work and punctuality, to the more
psychological, such as
self-reliance, concern for others, and harmony of
When we examine the lives of famous people, we often see how personal
values guided them, propelling them to the
top of their fields.
For example, one actor was motivated by his commitment to
social justice, which led to important acting roles related to that
value that made him world famous. Likewise, a
well-known business CEO was
motivated by the personal value that technology should be easy to use,
which caused his company to spawn a
technology revolution. Whatever one's values, when we take them to
heart and implement them in the smallest details of
our lives, great
accomplishment and success are
sure to follow.
individuals subscribe to values, so do organizations and institutions.
In fact, if we were to examine any company, we
would discover that one or more business values was the key to their
success. Examples are --
-- Sears' commitment to trusting the customer. [From the 19th
century onward, any product could be returned to the company with a
money back guarantee, which engendered great trust in
both directions, enabling
booming sales, and, the great success for the firm
-- Apple Computer's belief in the values of solving problems of
society. [The company created the IPod player and ITunes online
music store to overcome a conflict between those who sought to download
copyrighted music for free and the music industry which sought to
protect its artists and its revenues.]
-- Marriott's values of systemization and standardization. [The
company created a standard model hotel, and then duplicated it hundreds
of time around the world, enabling it to grow
incredibly fast, and become the leader of its
Likewise, we see how political parties and politicians subscribe to
certain core values -- ranging from helping the poor, easing the burden
of the middle class, improving the environment, making government
responsive and efficient, engendering loyalty and unity, and so forth.
The key point to
keep in mind about values is that implementing them energizes
everything concerned with it. For an individual, committing to and applying
values releases fresh energies, which always
achievement, and well-being. Likewise, when companies or other
institutions adopt values, individuals working at the organization
become energized, as do its customers, its products and services, and
everyone and everything else associated with that organization.
energize our lives by making the full effort to
implement the values we subscribe to. Once we identify values that are
meaningful to us, we can develop
strategies to implement them. When we
make the determined effort to implement those
strategies, good fortune is sure to
follow -- in the form of new opportunities, new sources of revenue and income, and
other forms of material and psychological benefit. We
may even notice that as we implement values, we experiences instances of "life
response" -- where good fortune suddenly comes to us from
seemingly out of nowhere, defying our normal perceptions of what is
Below is a list of
important personal values culled from years of observing individual
achievement and success.
All for one & one for all
Calm, quietude, peace
Concern for others
Content over form
Delight of being, joy
Ease of Use
Inner peace, calm, quietude
(of time, resources)
Other's point of
Quality of work
Respect for others
Rule of Law
(to others, society)
Spirituality in life
Succeed; A will to-
(Also see a list of
business values and
implemented in business and society.)
Power of Values to Shape Our Lives
the mid 1970s, I made a decision to move to California from
New York City, where I was raised. Why I did so, and why I
made other decisive turns in my life is the subject of this
essay. My first thought on the subject is that I took these
actions simply because I was motivated to do so. And
yet, what really motivates us in life are the things we
Then what were
the values that compelled me to move to California -- in
particular to the San Francisco Bay Area -- where I have
resided for these last 30 years? Well, it is true that after
five years attending college at frigid Syracuse University
in upstate New York I was compelled to seek the warmer
climes of California. But I could have moved south to
Florida or to the Southwestern parts of the US. However,
having been raised in the urban/suburban environment of New
York City, I valued culture and a certain type of urban
sophistication I might not find in those other locales. I
also enjoyed being near the water, not only because of its
shimmering beauty, but because cities at the edge of the
great oceans tend to attract a diversity of people and a
richness of culture from around the world.
beauty, diversity, and culture influenced my decision, there
must have been something more specific that compelled me to
move to this region. Looking at it in retrospect, I have
concluded that I came to the area because of the existence
of Marin County -- the progressive community that lies
directly across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
Marin County at the time (and still is) was the prosperous
land where many of the creative musicians, artists, and
thinkers of the 1970s lived. From the articles and reports I
had read while living on the East coast, the people who
lived in that region were involved with matters that meant a
great deal to me -- i.e. aspects of life that I truly
valued. And because I deeply believed in those things, I
wanted to be near them; to somehow participate in their way
of life. And so I headed out to the SF Bay Area in 1975 in
earnest -- and never looked back.
But I have still
not identified the specific values of the Marinites
that compelled me to join them. Let me try to list them for
you. For one, the residents were in the vanguard of the
changes going in society at the time -- including an
appreciation of Eastern culture and spirituality, a concern
for the quality of the physical environment, a
dissatisfaction with the mindless materialism of modern
life, the rejection of conformity of the previous
generation, and the development of new forms of music that
expressed their new world view. These were the underlying
values that drove me to the region. These were the ideals
and beliefs that shaped my life at the time, compelling me
to venture across country.
Each of us is
motivated to move our lives in certain directions. That
motivation is determined by the values we subscribe to. Our
values are thus the formations and ideations of thought, the
distinct formulations of understanding that express what we
perceive to be important truths about life. These ideals are
then reinforced by our emotions and feelings, which turn
those mental perception into a vital passion that we
hope to realize in our lives. Whether we actually make the
effort to implement them is another matter.
Without values or
beliefs, we would be mechanical-like beings, driven here and
there by the vicissitudes of life. Without values, we would
be creature-like, compelled to action solely by our urges
and passions. In this inhuman existence, there would be
little consideration for truths we hold dear, let alone
implement them to ennoble and enrich our lives. In this
reality devoid of values, we would live unconscious lives,
without meaning or purpose. On the other hand, when we take
to values, we live a purposeful and dynamic existence --
i.e. we become truly human.
This being the
case, what are the truths of life, i.e. the personal values
that you believe in? What are the cherished ideals and
beliefs that have shaped your life; that are motivating and
driving your life today? Why not take a little time and come
up with a short list, and then consider how each has or
currently is shaping your life.
If we think about
it, we will see that people relate to personal values in a
number of ways. Thoughtful people are continually
thinking about those things they cherish and believe in.
Powerful people are also motivated and driven to
implement them in their lives. In fact, the most
successful people are constantly evaluating their values,
and are continually driven to turn them into a living
reality. For these individuals, values are an inexhaustible
source of inner power that energizes them to no end; driving
them to the heights of success, while bringing about deep
fulfillment in their lives.
not only do values energize us, but when we implement them,
it energizes everything they come in contact with! If I
apply the value of customer service and delight when
I speak with the client, I energize the conversation, which
leads to greater response from the person on the other end,
who is now motivated to purchase the services I am offering.
Also, if I am truly sincere in my belief in customer
satisfaction, I create an added value that reinforces
and builds on the first one. A combination of values applied
to a situation dramatically energizes circumstances, which
not only increases the likelihood of success, but turns the
interaction into an enjoyable, even thrilling experience.
Thus, implementing values have an innate capacity to create
more energy, accomplishment, and joy in living.
actually a very special power in the universe. It is one our
minds can grasp for the purpose of uplifting life.
Values are actually spiritual skills -- a divine gift
that comes to us from the infinite Source of things. The
highest of principles -- such as Oneness, Love, Beauty, and
others -- descend from the heavens, and are reinterpreted as
values by our minds. For example, the spiritual principle of
Oneness is recognized by our minds as values of cooperation,
integration, teamwork, and others. Likewise, the universal
principle of Love expresses through values of goodness,
selflessness, self-givingness, openness, tolerance, respect
for others, and a number of others.
twenty-five years has seen an explosion in an interest in
values. Tom Peters' book 'In Search of Excellence' started
the ball rolling for values in the workplace. Religious
leaders speak of family values, nations speak of moral
values, spiritual teachers speak of the highest values of
gratitude, benevolence, and self-givingness; even
self-surrender to the Divine. Values drive us, motivate us,
move life, move us forward -- enabling progress even
evolution. Values are what enables life to take the Next
Step -- whether they drive our own individual lives in a
positive direction; improve the economic, social, and
cultural conditions of a nation; or move society forward in
its never-ending ascending path of progress.
openness, respect for the individual, and teamwork are
several great human values, while Oneness, Love,
Beauty, and Truth are some of higher spiritual values
that they derive from. At certain points, the human and
spiritual values come together and blend into one another,
expressing through spiritualized human values such as
selflessness, self-givingness, and gratitude.
expressions of emotionalized truths that when implemented
energize whatever they come in contact with, enabling the
greatest positive results with the least effort in the
shortest period of time -- whether it is for the individual,
a collective, or society as a whole.
Values are the
nexus to our future progress. It is the call of the Divine
to the minds of men to seek a better life -- to pursue
ultimate delight and fulfillment in life.
Thoughts on Values
What is a Value?
psychological objects. Although we cannot see or
touch them, they are every bit as real as any
physical object. People may dedicate their entire
lives or even give up their lives to pursue their
values, as so many loyal patriots have done fighting
for values of freedom, equality and human rights
during the past two centuries.
We all have values
that determine our decisions and guide our lives.
Those who value their individuality take
responsibility, are self-reliant and act with
self-respect. Those who value truthfulness cannot
bring themselves to tell a lie. Those who value
family or friendship sacrifice their personal
interests for the good of others. Those who value
goodness cannot bring themselves to do something
they know is wrong. We express values in our
relations with other people when we are loyal,
reliable, honest, generous, trusting, trustworthy,
feel a sense of responsibility for family, friends,
co-workers, our organization, community or country.
On a more physical level, we may place great value
on cleanliness, punctuality, orderliness, accuracy,
quality, and physical perfection in whatever we do.
Accomplishment in life depends
not only on physical energy, but
even more on
are able to
bring to our
are some of
the ways in
turns out that values
Once he does
so, his work
and gain a
to hone her
moved by the
the value of
the level of
Thus, we see
and flow of
In the end, the quality of the values we
embrace and the intensity of our
commitment to them determines
the level of our accomplishment
We can see a continuum of psychological forms from data to values.
- Data are mental facts derived from sense observation.
- Information is data organized by the physical mind into meaningful relationships.
- Thoughts are specific conclusions or observations drawn from the information.
- Ideas are generalized conceptions derived from specific thoughts.
- Opinions are thoughts which the mind endorses and the ego identifies as its own.
- Beliefs are ideas which the mind endorses and the mental ego identifies with as true for its life.
- Attitudes are opinions endorsed and energized by the vital ego.
- Values are idealized conceptions that are endorsed by the personality.
In terms of accomplishment, thoughts are mental forms of energy which do not necessarily lead to action. Ideas carry the energy of mental understanding. Opinions carry the force of mental conviction. Attitudes carry the vital force of our emotional endorsement. Values carry the power of psychological commitment and determination. Values issue from a deeper or higher center of motivation in our personalities and therefore carry far greater power than our opinions and attitudes.
Origin of Values - from Life and from Spirit
From below, society acquires values through a long process of trial and error experimentation with various approaches to life. Over years and centuries, the collective comes to recognize that certain principles or guidelines are essential for the survival or vital for the growth of the individual and the community. They learn by experience to value these essential principles and pass them on to future generations as cultural guidelines for action. They discover that cleanliness is essential for heath. Punctuality and regularity of action are essential for success in agriculture. Honesty and truthfulness are essential in trade. Loyalty and patriotism are essential for the integrity and defense of the community. Responsibility, generosity and self-sacrifice are the bedrocks of the family.
From above, enlightened individuals directly experienced higher states of spiritual consciousness and perceived self-existent truths of the spiritual reality that manifested the universe. They discovered the essence of what we call God, Spirit or Divinity expresses itself as fundamental spiritual values in the universe such as Freedom, Peace, Truth, Unity, Goodness, Harmony, Beauty, Love, Joy, and Self-Giving. They recognized that the more you strive to live by these values, the higher you rise in consciousness and the more the higher spiritual consciousness enters your being and expresses in your life. The wise perceived that the values derived from life experience are derivative truths and lower expressions of these same higher spiritual values and stepping stones on the ascending stair of evolution. E.g. the human value of tolerance can be said to be a reflection and melding of the spiritual values of Freedom, Goodness, and Harmony; and the value of honesty is honesty is a reflection of the spiritual value of Truth.
4. Example Values
some thoughts on
several of the more interesting personal values
In this time of great complexity and hurry, there is no more important personal value than
"simplicity." Taking the time to
simplify anything that is
overly complex is a very helpful skill in
these rapidly accelerating times. Simplifying a work
not only streamlines it, but make it more effective
and productive, leading to greater results
when compared to its former complex arrangement.
-Take any important work or project in your life and come up with at least two ways to
-Develop a half dozen ways
simplify your life.
Harmony is the coming together
elements for common purpose.
It is the moving together of varied or opposing forces,
so that they emerge in a higher truth that all
can benefit from (not merely a compromised truth).
The value of Teamwork is one variation of the value of Harmony, as is
the value of Organization.
Harmony is such
noble and elevated a value that it can be considered
a spiritual value.
Make harmony a permanent personal value that you believe in and practice. Over the next
few days and weeks notice points of conflict that appear in your work and life and seek to
implement a higher truth, or point of view, or action in each situation that can harmonize
the opposing ideas, conflicts between people, and other forms of opposition.
(For additional thoughts on harmony, click
Content Over Form
We know the expression "don't judge a book by its
cover". It means that is what is inside that is important, not the
superficial surface. This expresses in a variety of ways in life. For
example, any serious person will judge the truer, deeper meaning of a
thing, rather than merely its outer form. A tendency to react to the
outer aspect and not its intrinsic value prevents one from getting at
the heart, the inherent truth of the matter, taking one away from the
full knowledge that would have led to right decisions and actions, and
thus great accomplishment and success in life.
It is from
the depths of situations and circumstance that you find its essence. For
example, if one admires another's social position, instead of their true
accomplishment, including the values they subscribe to, you will miss
the key to their success, and therefore fail to learn from it. Or, if
you are merely evaluating a person from the shallow perspective of their
appearance, or quickly coming to a conclusion based on a brief
acquaintance, then you also miss the deeper and wider truths behind. If
you judge a book by its cover you will never get to know the depths of
others, and the true meaning of life's situations.
various circumstances in your life where the outer or surface form is
more important to you than its intrinsic content and value. Adjust your
attitudes and beliefs accordingly.
Concern for Others
Perhaps the single most powerful way to succeed in life is to have more concern for our
fellow human beings. Normally, we are overwhelmingly concerned about
our own selves,
driven by our own personal motives and ambitions. However, the happiest people
literally lose themselves in the feelings, thoughts, and aspirations of others.
Are you ready to "forget yourself" and be genuinely interested in the welfare of
others? Are you willing to be tolerant and kind to others, listen attentively and
silently to their words, be non-judgmental, and open to their opinions and points of
view? If you are, you're an excellent candidate for great success in life, not to
mention an ever-increasing personal happiness and joy.
Try a little experiment. When you meet with others, immediately put yourself in their
shoes. Think only of what they want. Listen carefully to their thoughts and feelings,
and show genuine concern and empathy. Do this for the entire meeting. Now watch how
the interaction goes. Watch how the energy level of the other person increases. The other
individual becomes more animated and involved.
In addition, if you watch closely, you may notice some interesting things starting to
happen. An unthought of point of view or perspective may be raised in the
conversation. New ideas or fresh new insights are suddenly revealed. Or, a new
interesting idea, project or event might suddenly come out of the discussion. This
all happens because you have shifted your concern toward the other person.
additional thoughts on concern for others, click here)
Often people with great talent, artistic temperament, or
other qualities fail to achieve because they are not practical
in their thoughts and deeds. For example, when
important opportunities come their way, they shun them; or they have a
prejudiced view about the value of money, i.e. they shun it. Any attempt on one's part to be more
practical will rapidly catapult one from one's current status towards the pinnacle of success.
List two to four ways you have been
or are impractical in life. Now
make an effort to your ways.
keep reaffirming your new approach till it becomes part of your being.
If you are not sure if and how you are impractical, why not be brave and ask those
who are looking out for your best interests for their
Sometimes people don't say what they mean in order to hide something, protect themselves or someone
else, or simply because they are trying to deceive in
order to gain from circumstance. Do you have
any of these traits? If so, why (i.e. where do they come from)? What can you do to overcome
additional thoughts on honesty, click
Some people do their work to keep busy, occupied, entertained or otherwise pass the time. A key to success and achievement in life is to insure that the activities you are
engaged leads to a constructive, useful purpose. Those who value real results from actions
they take make far greater use of their time, leading to higher levels of success and
achievement in life.
It is universally agreed that hard work is one of the keys to success in
life and work. Without it, few can succeed.
A person may not be hard working for a number of reasons --
the influence of parents, a
lack of energy, a lack of motivation, a bad experience,
pure laziness, etc. Consider why you
may not be hard working, and then make a determined effort to change the behavior. Keep up
the effort over time. Watch how life continually
blossoms with good fortune!
additional thoughts on hard work, click
One of the most interesting values in life is one's innate desire for continuous
improvement. Both individuals and organizations, such as a business, can adopt this value.
For example, continuous improvement for an individual might can come in the form of a
continuous urge to increase one's knowledge and skills in an area, a desire to improve
one's attitudes and temperament, or a desire to do things better or get the best out of
things. A company on the other hand can implement the value by continually evaluating and
upgrading its procedures, the way it interacts with its customers, the way it treats its
employees, and many other ways.
Any value when applied can
create a positive response from life. Consider this example where an
individual's interest in implementing the values of continuous improvement
for her company created a positive result that came out of nowhere.:
I am working in Railway Recruitment
Board and in-charge of entire pre-examination work. We have an elaborate
procedure for conducting examinations and have to work in so many
stages. A week back I was discussing with my Chairman the possibility of
candidates giving their examinations electronically, which may also
bring down expenditure. But my Chairman was apprehensive and it ended
our discussion. But within myself, I strongly believed that it was
After two/three days he called me to
say that he has got an invitation from a Foreign based Computer Firm who
were launching their new software, and since he was preoccupied he had
proposed my name to represent our organization.
When I attended, to my surprise I could
learn that the software was all about enabling candidates to give
different types of examinations through Computers. I not only enjoyed
the program but also could interact and get clarifications on various
points of its practical feasibility.
(For more on this
extraordinary phenomenon of "life response," click
for the Individual
One of the most significant personal values is to look on every person as a special,
unique individual. This form of deep respect for each person has the power of generating
good will, great happiness, and great achievement.
-Every time you meet someone listen to their story and show and feel a great interest and
respect. Also, see what unique perspective, knowledge, or insight they can offer. Then be
totally responsive to their interests. Make this a regular daily habit in life.
Ultimately, make this a value that you cherish.
-Think about two to five values that have shaped your life. If
necessary, refer to the list above. Also think about specific ways they
have benefited you in your life.
-Now review the list above and consider which one or two new values you
would like to implement in your life. Now think about
the specific ways you can implement them. Then come up with a detailed
action plan (using specific dates
for action) to
implement the values in your life. Make sure you
review your plan down the
line to evaluate the progress you are making so far.
-Make your values, including, your new values, the cornerstone of your life.
Contemplate them deeply and see that they fill all aspects of your life
additional thoughts and essays on Personal Values,
thoughts and essays on Society's Values,
list of social values (i.e. values of society)
, click here.
VALUES IN BUSINESS
additional thoughts and essays on using Values in Business,
-For a discussion of how
values are developed and implemented in the business environment, click
To see how the above values (and related social values) are categorized by
spiritual principle, click
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DEDICATED TO PERSONAL VALUES!
Values are powerful determinants of human
progress, and fulfillment.
power of values and how to
them to elevate your life and your world