By asking the question how do we determine our values? It means you have already taken a step in the right direction to bring about the changes you need in life. Values are determined by a variety of factors, including upbringing, personal experiences, and cultural influences. They help us determine what is right and wrong and give us a sense of purpose and direction, and creating value is one of the most important things you can do with your life.
Let’s create some values, and then some value for yourself, as well as those around you!
What is value?
Value is defined as the regard that something is held to, or the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
What are values?
Values are defined as principles or standards of behavior or one’s judgment of what is important in life.
The first thing we can determine is that:
All value and values are subjective
Meaning that without being influenced by personal feelings, upbringing, or opinions
No relationship, good, or service has any intrinsic value.
Subjectivity is one of the most crucial concepts in the world and in fact when we start our lives, everything is subjective. It’s only once we mature past the point of self-absorption that we realize we are able to decide what we value and how to determine those values.
Let’s explore how this is determined and find out what is really important!
How do we determine our values?
Values are the principles or standards that guide our actions and decisions. They are the things that are most important to us and help us determine what is right and wrong. Values are an essential part of who we are, and they shape our behavior and our relationships with others. They give us a sense of purpose and direction and help us to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.
The way our values are determined can be broken into two categories :
Circumstantial influences and the personal choices of an individual.
First up, we’ll look at:
When you open your eyes for the first time, you have no idea where you are or who you are. You are born into a set of circumstances you have no control over, and from that moment, you are enveloped by the process of learning and adapting to the things, people, events, and society around you.
Some of us are born into circumstances of abundance living full and happy lives, while others open their eyes for the first time only to close them for the last time a few moments later, never getting to experience any more existence than those fleeting moments.
There is no fairness in comparison.
10 examples of circumstantial factors that determine values
Location: The location in which a person lives can influence their values. Different regions and communities may have different norms, beliefs, and customs, which can shape a person’s values.
Economic conditions: The economic conditions of a person’s community or country can also influence their values. For example, a person living in a prosperous community may have different values than a person living in poverty.
Political climate: The political climate of a person’s community or country can also shape their values. A person living in a democratic society may have different values than a person living in an authoritarian regime.
Social conditions: The social conditions of a person’s community or country can also determine their values. For example, a person living in a diverse and inclusive community may have different values than a person living in a segregated or discriminatory community.
Environmental conditions: The environmental conditions of a person’s community or country can also influence their values. For example, a person living in a region with a clean and healthy environment may value environmental protection more than a person living in an area with pollution or natural disasters.
Historical events: Historical events can also shape a person’s values. For example, a person who has experienced war or another major conflict may have different values than a person who has not.
Personal experiences: A person’s personal experiences can also determine their values. Through their interactions with others and their exposure to different situations, a person can develop their own values and beliefs.
Social movements: Social movements and other collective actions can also influence a person’s values. By participating in social movements, a person can be exposed to different ideas and values, which can shape their own beliefs.
Life stage: A person’s life stage can also determine their values. For example, a person’s values may change as they move from adolescence to adulthood, or as they enter different phases of their career or personal life.
Psychological factors: Psychological factors, such as a person’s personality, temperament, and cognitive abilities, can also influence their values. These factors can affect a person’s ability to process information and make decisions, which can shape their values and beliefs.
These are only some of the examples of circumstantial influences that determine the shape according to which we mold our values.
However, they are not the most important factor in determining what our values are, despite the circumstances we are born into, we have the option to choose how we determine our values
The influence of choice on value
In the previous section we discussed the circumstantial influences on values, while important, most of those factors are something we have no control over. there is another major type of influence that we have yet to explore, the influence of personal choice and the way we react to the things that happen to us.
Two people may experience the same sequence of events, however, react to them in completely different ways. The difference in the reaction can lead to vastly different results. The essence of personal choice is one of personal accountability, which leads us to the conclusion that if we cut out comparison, that:
We are exactly where we deserve to be!
This doesn’t mean that no bad things ever happen to good people, simply that there is no fairness in comparison, and even the act of trying to compare puts you in the role of a victim, instead of the proactive role of the person making the choice.
The nature of personal choice in the context of determining your values is one of accountability,
Iit is the act of shaking off the mantle of “victim mentality” and taking full ownership of the way you have chosen to react to events and circumstances around you.
You have the ability to choose what you value, despite your circumstances
With that in mind, let’s look at:
10 ways to determine your own values
Questioning beliefs and priorities: What is important to me? What do I believe in? What do I want to accomplish in life?
Reflecting on experiences: What have been the most meaningful and significant moments in my life? What did I learn from these experiences?
Reading books or articles: Reading is a form of self-development, where you are able to experience multiple, diverse perspectives and narratives.
Finding good mentors & Teachers: Similar to reading, we can learn from the experience of others, when combined with reflection and questioning, this becomes one of the most powerful tools for identifying what is important to you in life!
Stepping out of your comfort zone: We really grow as an individual when we are expanding our boundaries and stepping over the line of what we are comfortable with, this does not mean jumping off the edge and plummeting down the cliff, just leaning over the ledge to look what’s down there, though if you did slip and fall, or jump and managed to survive, it would definitely broaden your horizons too.
Examining your habits: What you spend time on is a great indication of your existing values and beliefs, and the act of observing and identifying, creates the opportunity to change and grow
Journalling & writing: Awareness is auto-correcting, and writing things down is a great way to become more aware of your thoughts and the patterns that govern them
Consider your relationships: The old saying: “You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with” has never been truer. Looking at your relationships and observing the positive and negative aspects of the people around you is a great way to plant the seeds of self-awareness.
Decide who you want to become: It doesn’t matter if you are 8 or 80, you have the opportunity to evolve yourself as a person at any point in your journey. Remember what we said earlier on the subject of comparison. By making a decision to change, you start the process.
Observe your emotions and what causes them to fluctuate: There is a really interesting series of books called Transurfing reality by Vadim Zeland, who talks about the people and events that cause our emotional state to fluctuate. He likens them to pendulums, trying to sway us one way or another, and claims that the key to succeeding in life is being able to identify these factors and avoid the pull they have on you. Don’t like the news, turn it off, go about your day, and focus on what’s important to you, not what others want you to think.
Determining personal values is very much about finding out what is important to you and then working towards that.
The two go hand in hand and will make an incredible difference in your journey! We have a great article on setting achievable personal goals that will help you steer yourself in the direction you want to be going!
Remember that it’s about the happiness of pursuit, not the pursuit of happiness!
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