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How To Define Your Values | The Importance Of Values 

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Your values decide the way you look at the world and perceive events in your environment. They decide how you process information, and the ensuing actions you take. It’s important to have your own set of hard cut-offs, and other more malleable values open to experience. Ultimately, you either decide your own values or live by the values programmed into you by your surroundings. You will act on those values, and your results will be in keeping with the actions you take. 

Start by reflecting on your current values; do you even have any? Or are you running on what you were taught by school/parents/surroundings when you were a kid? Ask yourself what you believe in and what is important to you. Take some time to think about your personal morals and ethics, what you find right and wrong, and how they align with your goals and aspirations. 

You may find that you currently have values that aren’t serving you or leading you in a productive direction. Eliminate them. You might have had some good influences early in life that instilled positive values. Hang on to them. You can’t do either if you don’t look. Shine the light, and face what you don’t want to face.

Eliminate victimhood, lying, cheating, stealing, and putting others down. Eliminate running from pain. Eliminate choosing easy paths. 

After you reflect on what is there, clean house for values you don’t want to have and create a semi-blank slate, it’s time to define your values. Write down a list of the values that are most important to you, this can include honesty, integrity, respect, or responsibility. It’s not about lip service and having them look good to other people. The list is for your eyes only. Be honest. 

If you are in your early 20s and don’t care about philanthropy right now, don’t put it down to make yourself look good. Some of these values should be non-negotiable, black and white. Some will have malleability and change as you go through life and your priorities change alongside that progression of time. 

I won’t hold your hands through what your values should be, but i would suggest you aim for being a positive, productive influence on the world. Be honest. Do the right thing. Not the convienient right thing, but the right thing that you know in your conscience is the right thing. Value the combination of smart and hard work. Value pulling yourself up from the bootstraps and helping yourself, so god can help you. 

You’ll have to decide what values are important to you. When you are young and haven’t experienced much of the world, looking outside of you can help guide you. What kind of people do you respect? What achievements are you inspired by? What hero figures do you see in your life that you look up to? What warnings do you see in your life who’s outcomes you’d want to avoid? Analyze their outcomes, backtrack to their inputs, and backtrack that to the values they must have if they took the actions they did.

It doesn’t have to be people you know in real life. Books, podcasts, movies, videos, are all rich in examples and warnings for you to base your values off of. 

Don’t try to copy the entire person and their value set. It’s rare for any one individual to have a full scope of values you may want. 

For example: you might want to adopt the values of hardwork, creativity, resoursfullness from a billionaire entrepreneur. But perhaps avoid their values (or lack thereof) that lead to putting family and relationships on the back burner leading to an unfufilling life. 

These external resources are great to give you a guiding hand. However, the most potnet and powerful resource, if you listen to it, is your own soul. You know, intuitively, when you are doing the right things or not. Listen to that voice instead of ignoring it or distracting yourself. It will be your best guide. 

 These values will serve as your guiding principles and help you make important decisions in life.

Now the real challenging part. As i said, this isn’t about lip service or making yourself feel like you’ve done something just by listing them out. Writing out your values and deciding on them is just planting the seeds. Living in a way that embodies your values is watering that seed through actions. Then the fruits you bare overtime will reflect your inputs.

If you said you want to value health and fitness, you better have checked off your boxes of meal prepping and going to the gym this past week. If you said you value being financially independednt and able to help your family with money, where is the part of your day spent working on your business? You get the point. It’s not about telling people about your values. No one cares. Your results and actions show everyone exactly what your true values really are, not the ones you claim they are.

The results will always speak louder than you can. When you claim to value one thing, but act in a completely different way, that cognitive dissonance will eat away at you.  You feel have low self-esteem and self-respect because you are not being what you say you are. 

When i started my first business, i claimed to value entrepreneurship and sucess. I put “Founder and CEO” in my bio and showed off to everyone that i was a business owner. I didn’t value the actual painful actions of being an entrepreneur and it showed. I barely spent any time on the needle moving activities of my business. I spent my time pretending to be this and that. Needless to say, it failed. Miserably. But worse than that, other people saw right through me and lost respect for me. And much worse than that, i lost respect for myself. I felt it in my conscience that I was not living up to my claimed values and i tried to ignore it until i couldn’t ignore it any more. Ther esult of failure was strong, and it was in my face. 

So make sure, whatever values you decide upon, be it through your idols, or your conscience, be prepared to act in keeping with them. It will get easier over time, you will eventually get in rhythm and it’ll be harder for you not to live that way.

But at the beginning, when you just plant the new seed of a value, be ready to water it diligently with action. 

Tell the truth if you value honesty, even if it is uncomfortable. 

Go to the gym, if you value your health and fitness, even when you don’t feel like it.

Work on your business or get better at your job, even when the day was tiring. 

Understand this also. It’s easy when it’s easy. As you go through life opporotunities may appear to present themselves, where breaking your values and doing something that goes against them may give you shortterm pleasure or advancement.

Don’t do it. This is a test to see how much your values actually mean to you. It’s easier to stay honest and faithful to your partner when you don’t have many options. But when you’re “the guy” and the opporutunities are all around you, what do you do then? That is a true test of your word. 

When you could screw over a colleague and get a promotion you’ve been eyeing. How do you act in that moment? The more you can stay true to your values in increasingly challenging scenarios, the more they become solidiefied. And make no mistake, you get away with nothing in this life. If you decidie to act out of line with your values, you will face the judement of your conscience. 

It’s already going to be challenging enough living in line with new values or eliminating old ones, so make it easier on yourself.

Reduce your decision fatigue and use of will power. This comes through strengthening your word to yourself.

If you said you value health and fitness, and you have a workout scheduled at 6pm today. You are doing it. Black and white. There is no negotiationg. You might be doing it energized, or tired. You might be doing it on a full night’s sleep or a rough night. You might be doing it after a honeymoon or a break up. But you are doing it. 

This type of strongminded, black and white thinking is very helpful for your solidified values as you avoid even giving yourself the alternative option.

Another thing you can do is control your environment, both physical and mental.

We’ve all heard a million times that you become who you surround yourself with. And it’s true. Be around people that have the values you want to embody.

Your unneccersaily getting in your own way by being around poeple who embody old values or values you don’t desire to have. Why are you hanging out with friends that only like to smoke week and eat garabage if you claim you value health and fitness.

How much easier and natural would it be if you put yourself in environments where people already care about their health and fitness, and live that way. It would only be natural for you to ascend to their level.

When i was in school, all i valued was getting good grades so i could get into medical school. And that was important. So i was around people who also valued school and education. This didn’t make studying fun, but it made it the natural thing to do because it was necessary to achieve my goal, and the people around me were doing the same.

Same thing with what you consume. Listen to podcasts, watch videos, read books from people who have similar values to you. It’s not about creating an echo chamber, and we’ll talk more about that, but just curating an environment that makes living in keeping with your values, the most logical next step.

Now, the last thing is to make sure that you keep an open mind. Like I said, there should be black and white, fixed values you have; honesty, integrity, hardwork. But there should also be more malleable ones that are open to change as you progress through life and gain more experience.

In your teens and early 20s, you may look at a potential partner, and only care about looks and superficial characteristics. As you grow older and want a life partner, that should change to incorporate more inner values, and personality characteristics. Not that looks shouldn’t matter at that pont, but other things should be given more thought. You will have to adjust what you value in this regard.

When I was trying to get into medical school and throughout medical school, my value was studying and doing well in school. It had to be, to achieve what i wanted. However, as i became more interested in entrepreneurship and building my creative pursuits, my values had to change. If i applied the same values, of studying business books and memorizing facts, i would fail miserably in business. The business world is a different animal and requires much more of an action-oriented approach where it’s ready-fire-aim. So my values had to change in this aspect. 

So, that’s that. Your values will play either a subconcious or concious (up to you) role in the unfolding of your life. I suggest you make them concious, decide them conciouslly and act on them conciously. Solidify your foundational values through action, and never budge. Tweak your malleable values as you expereince more life and learn different things. 

See how things are going and reflect often.

Cheers

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