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"Who Am I?": The Ultimate Guide to Personal Values

Some personal values are better than others

Some personal values are better than others

Good values are:

  • Evidence-based
  • Constructive
  • Controllable

Bad values are:

  • Emotion-based
  • Destructive
  • Uncontrollable

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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 w...

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.

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)."
The beginning of positive psychology

The story of positive psychology started just 20 years ago with Martin Seligman, head of the American Psychological Association. The idea he considered was: What if every perso...

Personal transformation

The term “positive psychology" was coined by Abraham Maslow in 1954. Martin Seligman used this term to promote personal change through the redemptive power of devotional practices like counting your blessings, gratitude, forgiveness, and meditation.

It is expressly designed to build moral character by cultivating the six virtues of wisdom, courage, justice, humanity, temperance, and transcendence.

Not a science

Martin Seligman insists on the value-neutral purity of the research on positive psychology. Yet even its fans say it seems to have some of the characteristics of a religion.

Philosophers such as Mike W. Martin say positive psychology has left the field of science and entered the realm of ethics. Science is a factual enterprise, not promoting particular values.

Why Personal Core Values Are Important
Why Personal Core Values Are Important

Values are a part of us. They highlight what we stand for. Values guide our behavior, providing us with a personal code of conduct.

When we honor our personal core values consistently,...

Personal Values and Behavior

Knowing your personal values changes your behavior.

For instance: When you value health, you don’t have to wrestle with managing impulse control as much. If you know a particular food or activity isn’t good for your body, you don’t want it.

Create meaningful core values
  1. Start with a beginner’s mind, someone with no preconceived notions of what is.
  2. Create your list of personal values. 
  3. Chunk your personal values into related groups. 
  4. Highlight the central theme of each value group. 
  5. Determine your top Personal Core Values. Whittle your list down to 5 - 10 core values and rank them in order of importance.
  6. Give your personal values richer context. Highlight values into memorable phrases or sentences.
  7. Test the ecology of each value. Review your list a day later: Are they personal to you? Do you see any values that feel inconsistent?