In my previous post 5 Main Differences between Values and Virtues, I wrote that values are the things that important to us while virtues are the inner qualities that help us achieve those values. I also said in the last part that it’s important to write our core values and virtues and in this article, I am going to share exactly how I write my own personal values and virtues. But before that, I would like to discuss first why it’s important to write them.
First, the age of digital information and social media brought us an unprecedented level of distractions. What we normally see on other people’s posts is a reflection of their values. If we are not careful enough, we could chase the wrong things (i.e. other people’s values) in life which is a waste of time. What I mean chasing the wrong things means not STAYING TRUE to things that are important to us. Writing our core values and virtues provides us with a moral compass, target, or purpose we can aim for each day. Second, our values and virtues give us an identity. They are like DNA in our bodies that tell us who we are as a person. When we understand who we are it’s a lot easy to make decisions in our day-to-day life. We can also improve our relationship with other people by attracting people who share the same values and virtues with us. It fosters trust when people understand who you are and your commitment to staying who you are. In a sense, it leads us to experience overall a good life.
So how do I write our core values and virtues? I think most people’s mistakes came from just doing a mental assessment of who they are and what matters to them. “I think money is important.”; “I think people are right that I need to build good relationships.” One of the best pieces of advice I got from Joe Rogan is to write down what you really want in life. (Video clip below). He said that it’s like you write a script in a movie with you being the main star.
In my case, I do want different things in life but the most important to me is meaning. Meaning to me is about improving other people’s lives. To be specific I want to build businesses that create an impact on society. I want also to build charity foundations that aim to help the poor. This is not an easy feat and cannot be done in a short period of time and therefore I consider it as my life values. This will be the prime basis of all my decisions – a sort of life compass. If something happened that is not aligned or will oppose this value I should be able to dismiss it as soon as possible.
Also, as I have said in an earlier post, I need virtues to be able to achieve my life values. I identified these core virtues as follows: discipline, courage, grit, wisdom, rationality, growth mindset, and justice.
The following shows how I write these core values and virtues in my journal.
Create meaning by uplifting people’s lives through business and charitable foundations
- Discipline – not be disturbed by other things that are not aligned with my core values
- Courage – to face fear and obstacles and understand that these things are non-negotiable
- Grit – that I will continue and persevere even when things seem to be not as it turns out to be
- Wisdom – that I should learn from my own mistakes as well as other people mistakes; that I should ask help from wise people when needed and keep learning from books
- Rationality – to make decisions purely on reasons; not to be swayed by emotions and avoid impulsive decisions
- Growth Mindset – that there is always room for improvement; that failure is supposed to be part of the learning experience and make become a better person
- Justice – to do only what is right
To help me remember these core virtues, I designed mnemonics for them as well.
Like I said your values and virtues could be different than mine. It could be money or fame or deep relationships with people. The most important thing is to be completely honest when writing these things and then sticking to them no matter what
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