I am learning a lot about who I am (because that’s what 49 year olds do). Recently my friends and I began a discussion of values asking questions like, “What do you value?” “What do I value?” and “What do we value?” Exploring these questions is helping me define what I like, what I dislike and, most importantly, why.
Values are the fundamentals. Just the process of asking what a value is opens up a whole new set of questions. In general, I guess I always thought of values as being virtues. We are supposed to “value” them all. But if I say I value everything equally, I am really saying that I value nothing at all.
Although on some level, I value hundreds of things, it is only helpful if I narrow the list down to a few manageable items. If I could list the hundreds of things I could value, but only focus on the top few things, it would be helpful. In fact that’s what I did. Thanks to John for providing this list of values to start with.
I just bought a Nissan pickup truck from Carmax. As I was shopping for it, I instinctively thought about the qualities I valued in a vehicle and chose this truck. Because it was:
- A pickup truck
- A brand known for reliability
- Good price
- Relatively low mileage
- I could buy it for the sticker price without having to haggle.
Change any of those top values and I probably would have bought something completely different.
So the similar, but more important question is, “What am I looking for in life?” Here’s where I found some of the answers to that question:
- What do I just naturally do over and over? Patterns of thoughts, feelings and behavior.
- What resonates with me? What makes my heart do a flip?
- What do I desire to be more intentional about valuing?
- What do I admire in others?
At the risk of being known as Master of the Obvious, I don’t know what I don’t know. So many things that are important to me now, were not even on my radar just a few years ago. That tells me that values are not carved in stone. There will be things that I learn and am drawn to that will change my values in the future. But it is a starting place. My hope is that it inspires you to think about what you value.
These are the values I identified. If you know me, I hope you will see a picture of me in this graphic: