They are what you consider most important in your life, literally what you “value. ” They are broad concepts that can be applied across a wide range of circumstances, as opposed to narrow answers to specific questions.
If you are conscious of them or not, you have values for every part of your life. And if they are in line with your goals you’re more likely to be successful.
The core values that are most valuable to each of us come from our own personal experience, not from being taught.
As you put them into practice you’ll get better at internalizing these values and they’ll express themselves subconsciously with smaller decisions, as well.
Many adopt values from other pre-packaged sources, like a religion, culture, or legal system. But, by adopting a value system without reflection, you make way for personal values that cause conflict between your perceived beliefs and the actions you take.
To find your own values:
Research shows that the happiest and most productive people take daily actions in line with their core values and get more easily into a state of flow. This gives them a constant sense of motivation because they see how their daily work leads to a long-term vision, meaningful to them.
Your personal values are specific to you and a result of your own life experiences. You can discover and refine your values through life experience or encountering ideas that resonate with you. Having a written list of your personal values will help you make better decisions.
As you live your life, be mindful of the choices you make. For several days, consciously label the values behind your key decisions at work and at home.
If the values you chose as most important aren’t reflected in your daily life, you may not be living up to them or you may need to re-evaluate what is most important to you.
The act of writing forces you to organize your brain.
Vague feelings become structured and measured. And rereading what you write reveals your own logic (or lack thereof). It also reveals new perspectives you hadn’t considered.