What are your personal values? - Deepstash

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Our values

Our values

Our values are our preferences about what we consider appropriate courses of actions.

They strongly influence our decisions. Therefore we should take the time to consider what our personal values are.

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The transmission of values

Personal values can be ethical, moral, ideological, social, or even aesthetic. Values are mostly transmitted through parenting, but our cultural environment also plays a role.

For instance, American parents tend to value intellectual knowledge; Swedish parents value security and happiness; and Dutch parents value independence and the ability to stick to a schedule.

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The four personal value orientations

There are four different personal value orientations based on our "terminal values " - our desirable states of existence, and "instrumental values" - the means by which we achieve our end goals.

  1. Personal-competence. "I value wisdom (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through independent thinking (instrumental)."
  2. Personal-moral: "I valued true friendship (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through honesty (instrumental)."
  3. Social-competence: "I valued equality (terminal), which I think can be achieved through ambitious work (instrumental)."
  4. Social-moral: "I value national security (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through obedience (instrumental)."

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Good and bad values

A practical framework shared by Mark Mason is that good values are evidence-based, constructive, and controllable. This framework includes intellectual curiosity, creativity, humility, honesty, vulnerability, standing up for others and oneself.

Bad values are emotion-based, destructive, and uncontrollable and include being the centre of attention, being liked by everybody, and being wealthy for the sake of being wealthy.

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Discovering your personal values

  • A way to discover your personal values is to write a short personal essay about the values of the people you admire and how they align with your own values.
  • A second strategy is to pick six to eight values from a list such as adventure, bravery, compassion, creativity, family, freedom, gratitude, learning, love, etc.

In order to be useful, values must be lived. Many of us state values we wish we had as a way to cover up the values we really have.

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Shaping your personal values

Your values will not be fixed; they change throughout your life. While this process happens naturally, you can proactively decide to shape your values.

  • Confront your values to actual experiences. When you notice that you live differently to your value, consider whether your value really reflects the way you want to behave in the world.
  • Develop self-awareness. Accept that sometimes your values are at fault and you may have to replace it with a better value.
  • Actively question your values. You don't need to wait until experience contradicts your values. You can challenge your values at any time at a more abstract level.

The goal is to live a life of self-discovery.

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