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Clarify Your Values

Reviewing a book on goal setting, and I came across these paragraphs, which I find interesting:

There are some insightful ways to help determine your true values. First of all, you can look at your past. How have you behaved under pressure in the past? What choices did you make with your time and money when you were forced to choose? Your answers will give you an indication of your predominant values at that time.

Dale Carnegie once wrote, "Tell me what gives a person his greatest feeling of importance, and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life." What makes you feel important? What raises your self-esteem? What increases your sense of self-respect and personal pride? What have you accomplished in your past life that has given you the greatest sense of pride and satisfaction? These answers will give you good indications of your true values.

I... find myself having to do a lot of thinking to figure this out. What about you guys? Easy answers or tough?

[Quote from Goals! by Brian Tracy, which, although I have a print copy, I just discovered is available for free as an ebook from here (Requires newsletter signup.)]



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 25th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
I look at the values that I developed in my solidifying years, and the values of the friends I helped solidify.
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC)
So, the things which give you the greatest feelings of self-esteem match what you think your values are/ought to be?

Sorry if I'm being nosy! Just working through kind of an epiphany here. :)
Jun. 25th, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)
I rarely feel better than when I've managed to help someone I care about, particularly in defiance of expectations. This is both a core value of mine in and of itself, and generally is enacted in a way that fulfills other values of mine.

I don't believe I have anything else that gives me a substantial and lasting feeling of self-esteem. Most other accomplishments are quickly tarnished or stripped down.

As regards setting goals, I can't be a bit of help there. I have the misfortune of this particular value being one I wish would never come about, because in an ideal world my friends and loved ones would NEVER need help. And being aware that any other accomplishments don't provide lasting positive benefits sabotages goal-setting quite neatly.

Come to think of it, my values are in complete and total opposition to my goal, which is "become as bitter and cynical as humanly possible." My goal was chosen based on realism and achievability, not my values.
Jun. 25th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying.

I seem to feel best about myself when I help people too, and I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with that.
Jun. 25th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
Why? ^.^
Jun. 26th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Wanting to help people is a good thing, of course, but my motives are suspect. I don't do it out of love, I help because I want validation. I feel like I need to justify my existence by being "useful." Which isn't bad, exactly, but it doesn't fit with my worldview.

I need to do what I need to do. Whether any other person finds that useful does not matter -- or at least it shouldn't matter as much as I let it.
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
tough answers, I guess in part or mainly because:

I don't want to set goals. I don't want things to be known, because what if they turn out to be small or foolish?
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
Aww. I don't think of goals as needing to be anything spectacular... but I noodle around and waste my life if I don't plan what I ought to be doing, and how to do it. It's distressing to wake up one day and realize I've spent the last couple years doing little but play video games.

Of course, I have kind of a strange life. Most people have a lot more externally-imposed structure than I do.

In all honesty, I consider you quite fabulous and successful!
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
Oh, well--I'd like to be fabulous in the sense of unreal, but...

I do know what you mean about waking up and discovering X amount of time has gone by. You want to at least feel happy that you've done stuff that means something to you--me too. I just don't want to have to make it be something that means anything to anyone else, you know? Which is kind of selfish maybe or spoiled or--well, anyway, I have a feeling it's something not-good, but tough.
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
Oh, but that's exactly what my quandary is about! The section in the goal setting book tries to get you to figure out what your goals are, and what is truly important to you, without any regard for what other people may think. In fact, a lot of work is put into trying to get free from conventional ideas of "success" -- because there's no point in achieving things that won't make you happy!

Even though the goals I've laid out for myself are not what most people would consider hallmarks of great achievement, I think they're still based on some image of myself I hold... and not how I really am. The things that I really do value are not corresponding to my goals very well.

Which may be why I make such poor progress with them...

Please pardon my thinking at you. :)
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Don't apologize--I've so been there. I went to the wrong college because I had an image of myself that I wanted to be true but wasn't ("I'm the sort of person who..."--uh, no, turns out not.) ... I still do that: think how I'd *like* to be instead of how I am. But you're brave to tackle the issue. These days I just end up wanting to fling the whole deck of cards and run away and not think about it.
Jun. 25th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
What's weird for me is that it makes me uncomfortable in the extreme to talk about the things that make feel important. I'm much more comfortable talking about the goals I wish I'd honestly pursue, but never find the time for. My anti-goals, I guess.

So my anti-goals are physical fitness and daring to talk about myself in ways that might seem like boasting.
Jun. 25th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
I can relate. I mean, I'm totally not important, so any such feeling is highly suspect! But still, it's interesting, because there's a lot more motivation toward achieving goals which make me feel good about myself, whether I like it or not.

I'm wondering if it's possible to change my core values, or if it'd be more useful to try to spin my goals so I get more satisfaction out of them? Hrmity hrm hm.

Feel free to say potentially boastful things in my vicinity at any time. :D
Jun. 26th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
I think the best results come from defining your goals and core values in ways that reinforce each other. Or whatever. I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Feel free to say potentially boastful things in my vicinity at any time.

I have excellent taste in socks!

I am quite patient with crows and flustered people!

I can make delicious scrambled eggs in a variety of ways!
Jun. 25th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Boy, this is tough, isn't it? I feel the best about myself when I am doing good for others, especially within the church. When I send a card to someone who is ill or discouraged, or when I help with activities for the older people at church. The thing is, I find myself not doing those things as often as I should. Other things get in the way. So I guess my goals are geared toward doing better as a Christian and being less selfish.
Jun. 25th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for answering!

It does seem much too easy to give priority to things that are timely and necessary: answering the phone, doing the dishes, etc... but aren't really important.

Jun. 25th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
OK, I'll have a go at this.

I'm proud of doing well at school by getting good grades and being on the honour roll.

I'm proud of the time I spent living with C, because I did so much to help him out.

I'm also proud of the stories I got published.

I don't know what that says about me. Probably that I value knowledge, love and recognition. That came to me pretty quickly when I thought about it. That was a great exercise, thanks for sharing! Uh, did I help you at all though?
Jun. 26th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
Thanks for answering! Those seem to me like very nice things to be proud of.

Do you have goals that will, when achieved, give you the same sorts of feelings?

That's where I'm getting hung up. The things I've proud of aren't much related to my goals, and when I've achieved the goals I've set (or things like them) I haven't really cared. Something is definitely wrong with that picture!
Jun. 26th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
Ah, that's must be difficult. One of my goals is to write a book - I'm not sure what value the actual writing is related to. Having fun can't be it, because writing isn't all fun. I guess I value writing itself, the way it gives me a creative outlet and all that. I'll have to think about this a bit more, because I'm going to start a new writing program in the near future.

I think this exercise may be helpful in rekindling my motivation to finish my course as well, so thanks again for sharing it!
Oct. 2nd, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
For me, writing: the flow of information. I am a writer by talent, by profession, and by vocation. For me this is a vital part of my purpose and my identity, so easy answer.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )