The Importance of Values in Life

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” — Albert Einstein
In order to understand the importance of values in life, first and foremost we have to recognize what do values mean? It is a word much used but never explored contextually. As I see it, values are essential belief systems that we have developed over time for our personal, social and spiritual development. Values belief systems and ethics are inextricably connected together. Values are sometimes acquired since our childhood through our parents, schooling and immediate surroundings. Values reflect our intention or motive behind our actions and decision-making process. The way we value people and things in life, there is a set of ideals that we have developed over the years which are our priorities; and we are not willing to compromise with them at any given situation. These could be identified as our moral values such as honesty, truthfulness and integrity. However, these set of values have started to recede in today’s world and extremely difficult to sustain. Values are also the guiding force behind how we actually behave in a given situation. However, the word of caution here is that we cannot misread values to being judgmental. The difference lies in that; values are the principles on which one’s character depends and are meant for making the quest to find the higher self. Values are more concerned with our personal credence rather than of other people. Our reactions and decision-making process is seldom determined by the external environment but are mostly guided by the intrinsic values that we have within which reflects the strength of our personal character. Thus, values signify the real spirit of our character over petty personal gains.
Spirituality can help us become better human beings if we follow the general moral codes with sincerity. It prepares our mind, intellect and behavior to be aligned and be synced to act in situations. It also transforms our thinking, speech, and our actions that form virtuous habits that determine our moral character.Values reflect our character; andspiritualism is a guiding force that helps us deal with values relating to human conduct, with respect to our intentions and actions. However, of late we are deviating from our true virtues and values and focusing more on external environment.
Even though most religions preach a set of value system, however,having individual values has got nothing to do with being religious. It is about some basic credentials that you have in daily life. Integrity, sincerity commitment and humilitycan improve our community as well as our quality of life. If we can live our lives according to moral values that are based on honesty, compassion, and modesty we can also form positive bonds with other people. It is our values that form our thoughts, words, intention and actions. Our values are important because they help us to grow and develop. They help us to create the future we want to experience.Every individual and every organization is involved in making hundreds of decision-making every day. The decisions we make are a reflection of our values and beliefs, and they are always directed towards a specific purpose. That purpose is the satisfaction of our individual or organizational needs.When we use our values to make decisions, we make a deliberate choice to focus on what is important to us. When values are shared, they build internal cohesion in a group. Values can be segregated into different categories like organizational, individual, relationship, and societal.
Humanity and the world order is experiencing economic, political and material issues because there has been a gradual decline in the moral, ethical and spiritual consciousness of individuals. The call for spiritual values is a call of time.The world order is witnessing an increased intolerance, global terrorism, crime, corruption and violence against women and children. What does this reflect; adecline in the individual value, at every sphere resulting in global disturbance. We need to build in acommon and shared value system to address complex problems. By deriving a common set of values and principles across world; we can build an integrative and holistic framework for universal values. It is our moral values that determine our actions. Moral values are the standards of good and evil, which govern an individual’s behavior and choices. This is where spiritualism features to determine our value system and guide us through the right and wrong.
Spirituality is about recognition and acceptance of a Higher Power; connection with which determines your way of thinking and life.Whenever we feel insecure, or tempted to succumb to any situation, we can resort to your relationship with the Higher Power and ask for strength and assistance to help you cope with your problems and worries. That is when we end up not taking up measures that can hurt our own self and also others. Spirituality does not mean that you have to stick to any particular religion or faith. Spirituality refers to the common experience and values that we can share as individuals. No matter which religion you belong to but if you are a spiritual person, you will realize that your values are in sync with the original universal world order. It provides the moral support and guidance. Further, you are at peace, a value that is so much needed in the present times. And with peace, you are better-abled to face challenges of life, because you have stability and security. Several researches suggest that people with strong spiritual faith are better able to sustain themselves and recover faster than people who lack spiritual faith. It also helps in better decision making and problem-solving abilities. This can be acquired through regular practice of meditation.The essential purpose of meditation is to develop trust and belief in yourself and the SupremePower.You might want to start practicing it with an initial 10 minutes of investment everyday day thereby increasing it to half an hour to 45 minutes in order to feel the difference. With spirituality, you gain your self-confidence which eventually helps you in dealing with the everyday challenges of life in a better manner. Moreover, when you believe in higher values, it gives you an experience of compassion for others without judging them. Through this, you begin to experience greater degrees of unconditional love, which begins to reflect in your increased capacity to give love to others. Your fears are lessened and you are able to enjoy life more. Associated with the value of unconditional love is respect.It is only when you are able to respect others that you receive respect in return. By respecting others, you would be enhancing your self-respect and turning into a better person with each passing day. It follows the simple rule of give and take. The more respect you give, the more respect you earn!
We all face challenges in life related to our work, relationships, education, and personal situations. If we do not have these hardships, we will not grow and learn. By facing adversities in life, we become stronger and better equipped to handle stress. But we need to have the tools to be able to face our life challenges and spirituality is the way.What matter the most is how you deal with your stress at times of adversities. You have two choices; either to breakdown or face the challenge with courage and enthusiasm. Becoming depressed and anxious will not solve the matter. When you feel discouraged, stuck and confused, you may resort to your spiritual faith and uncover the meaning and purpose of your life. You will see that life will appear more beautiful and your attitude and perception about viewing life challenges will change. You will be able to fill that inner void that was created when you did not have any meaning and purpose to your life. Anyone can live a life for oneself, but living for others and doing community service needs courage, determination, and a capacity to rise above oneself to get the full potential. This kind of fulfillment will result in ultimate happiness, and absence of worries and tension in life. When you become self-actualized, your self-esteem will be higher and you will be able to deal with your problems better. Determination is also a value. When life is difficult and challenging and nothing seems easy for you; if you stay determined and positive, you can fight back the adversities of this life and achieve success. Without determination, achieving goals would be difficult and most of you would easily give up to the circumstances or look out for simpler paths that proffer temporary greener pastures. However, if you continue to emphasize on your will power and determination, things will start falling into place sooner or later and you would reap long-term benefits. So, irrespective of how tough or impossible the situation seems, do not give up and be prepared to face any challenge that comes your way.
Russell W. Gough, author of book titled: ‘Character Is Destiny,’ describes the steps to personal growth from examining our lives to taking responsibility for our actions, from discarding selfishness to embracing the greater good, from becoming a better role model for our loved ones to finding the courage to do the right thing naturally and consistently. By cultivating the value of virtues, we will strengthen not only ourselves but, more important, our families and our world.Individual values reflect how you show up in your life and your principles you live by and what you consider important for your self-interest which in turn reflects on your relationship values and how you treat other people in your life, be they friends, family or colleagues in your organization. Relationship values include openness, trust, generosity and caring. This is the basis to form healthy organizational valueswhich reflect how an organization shows up and operates in the world. Thus, values are shared from the individual level to the global level and that is how we contribute to build the world we live in.
The challenge of the times would seem to involve a call for personal transformation through which social and conceptual frameworks can be viewed anew. Willingness to sacrifice inherited perspectives is an indication of the dimension of the challenge -most dramatically illustrated by willingness to risk death.
Values are our powerhouse. So, living a life where you keep compromising your values is like an everyday disaster that you are doing to your conscience and personal self. Nothing is a better consultant than your own personal values in while dealing with your inner and outer self.
If you do not respect yourself and your value system, how and why should anyone else do it? It’s that simple. If you are unhappy with yourself, then this is oftentimes directly reflected onto others around us. So, communicating your values will not only give you your self-respect back, it will also improve your relationships and overall happiness. Your personal values play an important role in your personal life, but especially in your job search and career decision making. Values help us to sort out priorities of our life for example, recognition, achievement, independence, or support.
The crucial point is that we need to KNOW the values that are of great importance to us first and then avoid compromising them in any way. Being born the so-called “Generation Y,” a generation seen as being ‘blessed’ with many opportunities and possibilities, however, the decision-making process seems to be more difficult than ever. So, if you don’t know what your values are, and then you will have a hard time figuring out what it is that you are actually looking for to be satisfied and happy at work or in a relationship. And if you don’t know what you want, then most likely won’t know when you have it. In the words of Alice Waters, “The decisions you make are a choice of values that reflect your life in every way.”