How to differentiate values from ideals ?
2 min read

How to differentiate values from ideals ?

Have you ever used a word casually but later realised the depth behind that simple word?

Core value is one such word for me.

Every company I worked for talked about core values. Every self help book I read talked about personal values. Every product team I worked with used the word value.

Sometimes core values of the company was used to determine my pay-check (aka performance appraisals). Sometimes it was used as a guiding principle to make tough business decisions. Sometimes my mother preaches core values to me to demonstrate how should I be and how should I not be. It meant different things to different people. It meant different things in different context. In all honesty the word "core value" was very confusing. It was abstract.

While digging the meaning for values I stumbled upon Friedrich Nietzsche's work on good and evil. The way the moral philosopher articulated about values and transvalues intrigued me further. This made me reflect more and ask deeper questions. Here is what I figured out.

Everything we say I have to, I ought to, I should are ideals that push us towards conformism. Things like "honesty is the best policy", "integrity is highest virtue" are things we pick up from our society. Our mothers have a big role to play in shaping up our socialisation.

Everything that falls under OUGHT TO category is an ideal. Everything that stems from inside you to craft you is your values. The authenticity of the set of values stands above all ideals.  

Here are 10 questions that can help you figure out your values. Answer them truthfully with necessary evidence from your life. Evidence keeps you off fantasy.

  1. Look around you (4ft to 6ft) and jot down things that are valuable to you? Could be your phone or kindle or mailbox etc.
  2. Look into your calendar and jot down activities on which you spend time and it makes you happy. What are those activities you don't mind spending time, making time and prioritising?
  3. Look into your day and jot down what part of the day gives you immense energy?
  4. Look into your bank account and jot down what spends give you immense happiness?
  5. Look deeply inside you and find out what things you keep most organised?
  6. Ask your friends, what is one thing they trust you with or rely on you?
  7. In a day what do you think most about? what do you visualise most? what do you talk about the most to self and others?
  8. In recent times, what moved you the most, what brought tears to you? what inspired you the most?
  9. What articles and books you cherish? In other words what things you hoard the most in your bookmarks?
  10. What are those things you admired in your heroes and you imitated in your life?

Some of the questions are inspired from Dr.Demartini's lectures.

The authentic answers to the above questions along with your real life evidence will help you determine 5-7 things that matter to you the most. Those determine your core values and gives you a path to look into what matters to you.

🥂 to your values!

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