The goal of this article is to help you understand what values are, how to identify yours and how to use them in the future. There are different kinds of values such as social, personal, universal, moral, spiritual, cultural etc. In order for you to take the most value out of this, I'll just jumble all of them together and pick the ones that are proven to yield the highest return toward a well-lived life because values, when put to work, make up for a good life.
Before I jump into the list, this is all you need to know; values are decision filters in life when it comes to making a choice. Your values determine the option you'll go for. This is very different from goals or objectives. When you set a goal, your focus is shifted toward the outcome, toward external things. On the other hand, values shift the focus on who you are as a person and what internal rules you use to navigate the world. Values have a moral interpretation of how we do things.
1. Keep Your Word and Be Accountable
This means that you have to do what you say you'll do. We live in a time where talk is cheap, even free, where words, plans and goals don't mean anything. Nobody is held accountable for what they say or even what they do in this world, be different. There's a great quote by John Stewart that goes like this “if you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values they're hobbies.”
Deliver on your promises, inspire others through your actions, let the world know that you're reliable, that those around you can count on you to show up when you say you will. Be strong enough to admit when you've got it wrong and don't just say you'll try to do better. Even if it means embarrassment or feeling ashamed, those feelings are temporary.
2. Don't Give Up
The correct term here is resilience or perseverance. You're reading this because you're looking for that extra edge, that secret sauce towards success, right? Don’t give up when things get hard, that's when you should be more focused, more disciplined and more creative. Life is always testing how badly you want it, how much you're willing to put up with before the reward. Most people don't make it, most people quit, most people think the obstacle is too big. Are you most people?
Not giving up doesn't mean keep doing what you're currently doing and obviously not moving in the right direction. If just by reading this your blood flows just a bit faster, how can you give up on something you want so badly? if the reward is everything you've ever wanted, how can anyone say the effort isn't worth it? If it isn't worth it, it means you wanted the wrong things.
Some people have this, some people don't. Those who don't end up working for those who do. Vision is the power to see things that can be created. People with vision see how things could be while everyone else sees things the way they are. To the normal person, they seem magical. Looking at the likes of Elon or Steve Jobs, it's easy to think of them as having some external ability that you lack on a personal level. I've always thought about it as the ability to connect the dots in creative ways, sometimes even ahead of the present. Fundamentally, it all boils down to cause and effect; if I do this, then this happens. A trained person can simulate the future and figure out their best course of action instead of going headfirst and figuring it out on the fly without vision. All you have is the present and the present soon becomes the past.
4. Be a Sponge and a Magnet
Translated into common words, absorb knowledge and attract people. The moment you stop learning, that's when things start to go downhill for you. A thousand years ago, only the church knew how to read and write and this knowledge was used to influence history. Only the rich were privy to tools and ideas captured in books treasured inside sky-high towers. This knowledge allowed them to conquer and spread quickly throughout the world, ironically, the same knowledge today is the one that's pointing out just how outdated their ideologies are.
But getting back to the point, you no longer have the excuse of valuable information being kept from you, you can just google it. You're absorbing the knowledge from this piece of content right now and it's making you smarter. Your reality changes because of the things you've learned today and choose to implement tomorrow. You feel lost because you chose to watch all of the seasons of a blockbuster TV series. Be a sponge for knowledge, for information that has value because this allows you to connect in creative ways that create even more value.
The second half of this core values point is attracting high-quality people towards you. I know you wish your friends were cooler, more successful or celebrities but guess what, successful people hang out with other successful people. Celebrities hang out with other celebrities and you hang out with them not even by choice but by circumstance. This is a very valuable point to highlight; your friends should be by choice, not by circumstance.
5. Be Hungry
I feel it myself you probably feel it too. There's a hunger within you, a thirst for more, this feeling like this isn't what your life is supposed to be. This hunger you feel is part of who you are, this hunger will push you to work harder than your competitor, to work longer hours, to wake up one hour earlier. This hunger will push you to make the extra phone call, to send an extra email, to apply to one more job, to go to one more interview.
People who don't have this hunger simply cannot compete with those who do. This is especially true if you’re from a poor background because you know what it's like to want and not have. How do you expect anyone who is born having to want it more than you do? The moment you lose the hunger, you're no longer the predator, you become the prey.
Thanks for reading. See you in the next article.
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