In this article we’ll unpack all you need to know about values, defining exactly what they are, their evolutionary role, how they impact us, how to leverage them and more.
What Are Values?
Values are the beliefs we have about what is important to us. They serve as an internal compass that guide our decisions.
The Evolutionary Perspective
From an evolutionary perspective, values evolved as an adaptation to promote social cohesion and cooperation within and between groups. They helped guide behaviour towards actions that enhanced survival and reproduction.
How They Impact Us
Unlike drives that push us, values pull us.
Values determine what we focus on and drive our decisions which ultimately determine our destiny. For example, someone who’s top value is security is going to make a totally different set of decisions compared to someone who’s top value is adventure.
Everything we do is an expression of our values. When our actions aren’t aligned with our values, we experience pain.
“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do.” ― Elvis Presley
Our values are shaped by external influences and internal interpretations of our experiences. Therefore, they may not reflect what truly matters to us and may not align with our goals and the life we desire.
How To Leverage Them
The key to leveraging values is to ensure that we consciously and thoughtfully create a hierarchy that aligns with our goals and the life we desire.
To do this, we can ask the question: What values do I need to achieve my goals and the life I desire?” The higher something is positioned on our hierarchy, the more we will do to achieve it.
You can also take things a step further by uncovering the values of others. This knowledge will allow you to engage in actions that cause them pleasure and avoid actions that cause them pain.
When we are able to successfully leverage them, we become the Masters of our Destiny instead of Slaves to our Fate.
Values refer to what we deem is important to us. They operate as an internal compass and act as the filter through which we make all of our decisions.
They evolved to promote social cohesion and cooperation within and between groups and ultimately helped guide behaviour towards actions that enhanced survival and reproduction.
The key to leveraging them is to ensure that they align with our goals and the life we desire. In doing so, we become the Masters of our Destiny instead of Slaves to our Fate.