Life isn't Black & White - but our personal values are!

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“Only your actions are a direct mirror of your values. Nothing else”

Our values are constantly reflected in the way we choose to behave.

Our actions are a direct mirror of our values.

This subject has fascinated me for years, because in my humble opinion and experience, nothing has as much impact on our decisions, behavior patterns and actions as our revered value system. 

But what does that even mean? Value system!!

We hear the words “Values” brandished about relentlessly in our corporate world. They adorn walls in offices and are often featured in product adverts for organizations. From experience, we already know that few employees exude the values the organizations often claim to project, but the idea is to have a sort of herd behavior from compliance with the tenets rather than achieve total compliance. This would apply especially when the organization is pretty large. 

The compliance with the values of an organization will ultimately determine the organizational performance in the industry. Because values are the building blocks for the culture of an organization, it plays a critical role in the sort of behavior or attitude observed with her employees.

However, individuals also have personal values and when these conflicts with that of an organization, the incongruity will often breed conflicts and affect performance.

The Personal Value system is a smaller bit of that concept, but on a much more personal level. It is the basis for which every individual is held accountable for their behavior and actions. 

Your personal value system is a set of principles or ideals that drive and/or guides your behavior. It gives you structure and purpose by helping you determine what is meaningful and important to you. It helps you express who you are and what you stand for.

Every moment of every day, whether you realize it or not, you are making a decision of how to spend your time, of what to pay attention to, of where to direct your energy.

Only your actions are a direct mirror of your values. Nothing else. If punctuality was important to you, you would never be late. If honesty were an important value for you, you would rather deal with the negative consequences of not lying. If you viewed frugality as desirable, you would never randomly throw money around.

Values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what „ought“ to be.

If you ever wondered why I am almost never late to a meet up, look no further, I learnt that from my dad! In meeting up with friends, whether formal or informal, my sole objective is to arrive early enough. It can be daunting especially when you find out that not many people consider punctuality as a value they hold dear. When I meet new friends who keep to time, I hold them in high esteem.

I believe that being punctual requires a lot of planning- deciding beforehand what to wear, the route to travel, checking the map for traffic conditions, leaving early! This becomes a routine because I fill quite fulfilled when I arrive much earlier than my companions.

The waiting time, you ask? I spend it on something productive. I could catch up on news updates, or review to-do list or even watch a comedy skit. In the end, no time is lost!

Values tend to influence attitudes and behavior

All men are thrust into tough situations from time to time – situations where the right thing to do isn’t obvious. Knowing which values are most important to you before these situations arise will help you make better decisions.

My values are the magnets in my moral compass. They allow me make difficult decisions with conviction – where many men might waiver.

You need values to unclutter your life. You need values to know how to respond in tough situations. You need values to forge lasting relationships with those around you. Without a core set of values to live from, there can be a lot of confusion and ambiguity. Our values set boundaries for us.

Life isn’t black and white. But with a well-defined personal value that you live by, you will feel more fulfilled and happy even if they don’t make sense to other people. 

Your personal values also help to determine what kind of people you keep around, what purpose you seek, and how you treat others. When people say, “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”, it reflects the aggregate of the values that resonates with the company you keep.

With the risk of sounding very bored and almost academic, I must reinstate that no person can achieve a set objective about any task or endeavor in life unless it aligns to a great extent with his personal value.

If you run a business that requires a lot of customer service and active engagement with external stakeholders, but you do not have respect as a personal value that you consider important, the business will implode within months or weeks. Even when you hire others to do the engagement on your behalf; as long as you do not respect their person, their thoughts and demonstrate good opinion for your employee, it would reflect on his/her behavior to the clients or customers. It’s a ripple effect!

Why do you think your lofty plans fell through? Can you reconsider your personal values?

Here’s what people mean when they say they need to “find themselves”: they’re finding new values. Our identity—that is, the thing that we perceive and understand as the “self”—is the aggregation of everything we value. So when you run away to be alone somewhere, what you’re really doing is running away somewhere to re-evaluate your values.

To create your own personal value system, you have to consider what matters most to you. Professionals typically divide life into eight major areas, of which we have to fulfill to some degree to live happily. These include:

Environment

Career

Fun

Romance

Personal growth

Money

Health

Friends and family

Consult the list above and decide which areas of life are most important to you. For example: Would you rather work long hours to get that promotion or do you care more about spending valuable time with friends and family? Are you set on living somewhere you can make a lot of money or would you rather live in a town you truly enjoy? Don’t get me wrong: you don’t have to choose between one or the other (e.g. career vs. friends and family).

Everybody is different, and what makes one person happy may leave another person feeling anxious or disengaged. 

If you are caught in the quagmire of indecision about any aspect of your life, you probably need to revert back to your personal value system. Whether to redefine it to suit your new objective or to align with it to make a firm decision.

The call is yours to make.

I would really feel gutted if I didn’t mention this last bit!

Keeping to your values is a deliberate and intentional activity. You must remind yourself consistently until it is ingrained in your subconscious. To be an excellent and outstanding leader or individual, you must live your values and your actions would either betray or reinforce your leadership.

Finally, when your employees or followers have a clear knowledge about the leader’s personal values, they are quick to align and act accordingly. Therefore choose wisely and ensure it aligns with your vision, goals, objectives and target for your life.

You see, having a personal value system is incredibly important for you because life isn’t black and white, you must lever your responses/reactions to life’s twist and turns and they must be in line with a set of important values that must be in BLACK & WHITE.

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7 thoughts on “Life isn’t black & White”

  1. I’m punctual when it’s formal, but you see Ehh ,being punctual when is informal is something I am working on. I even recently upset someone really close to me because of this. My Mission 2021 now is PUNCTUALITY!!!!

  2. Values are supposed to be the bedrock of life but how much of it do we stick to and truly live by? Are some values easier to embody while some not so much? Can values shift? So much to ponder!

    1. Values are our guides and they are in line with our personal vision and perception about our selves and the future. If ever our perception and vision changes, then poof goes our values.

    2. Values can’t shift. A shift in values destroys whatever you might have built. One should be known for something and will certainly be respected for it.

  3. Adedamola Ilori

    Very interesting one Akin,the paragraph that touched on people’s achievement in objectives and endeavors aligning with their personal values more than strikes gold for me…. that’s it,no more

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