That human beings are different is not news. Diversity is a reality that we all have to live with. These differences are both natural (those we cannot change such as height, voice, personality and even genetic composition) and artificial (the acquired differences such as beliefs, our dressing, education level and marital status). Today, amid this diversity, I have a wondering mind and I welcome you to help me in this wondering business because we are in it together, somehow. Let’s wonder together and where it pinches you, it’s nothing personal.
How come some people will see a tap running and wasting water and do nothing about it, especially if they are not the ones paying the water bills? How come some of us employed will see the office phone ringing and just stare at it, do and feel nothing? How come other people from the same department will have the courtesy to call back while others are comfortable not bothering? How come some people get to the office, to meetings or for appointments early while others come late and with no apologies? How come some people are easier to get along with than others? How come some people will do anything under the sun including unorthodox, just to get a job or a promotion, while others will insist on following the right channels? What makes some people kill other people with ease while others cannot even stand listening to a murder story? Wait, I could go on and on but I choose to stop here and suggest an answer, the only blanket answer that best addresses all these questions and many others. The answer is VALUES.
Values refer to one’s principles or standards of behavior. They are those attributes that you hold as important in your life and that direct how you go about the affairs of your life. They are those desirable qualities (according to you) that you place high regard to. They include but not limited to: honesty, kindness, dependency, independency, time consciousness, inspiring, achievement, wealth, education, religion, social status, friendliness, selfishness and appearance. Values are very important in society and they define how any society looks like at any given point in time. They are silent attributes that reside within you. They dictate your decisions in relationships, career, wealth creation and many others. However, silent as they are, they get manifested physically through your behaviors. Verbally, you may lie to the world that honesty is one of your values, but your behaviors will be quick to betray you. Invest in good values.
Our values are not inborn and are shaped by a number of factors. Environment is one of them. Someone living in an isolated place may not have togetherness as his/her strong value compared to someone staying in a community setting where people are closely knit. The dominant values of your upbringing can also influence your values today. Most of us value religion today because we were nurtured in a religious setting. We are most likely to have the same values that our parents had. I have met generous people who confess that generosity was all they knew when they were growing up. If your parents valued education, you are likely to see the world through the same lenses. Other factors include your level of education, the books you read, the music you listen to and your career.
We have both good and bad values. Good values lead you to the path of prosperity while bad ones lead you to destruction. Bad values lead to the bad attributes that we wondered about at the beginning of this Focus Talk. The good news is that values are not cast in stone; they are acquired and they can be replaced. We do not have a special group of people who were born honest, kind, friendly and all that. We have seen people who were once honest being oriented into the world of dishonesty and vice versa. The people did not change fundamentally but their values did. The corruption and all other social scourges we see today are all a question of values. To treat them, we have to treat our societal values. To treat societal values, you have to deliberately replace your values as I work on mine. It is a game of deliberate choices among individuals.
Values are powerful; they anchor your purpose in life. If you anchor your mission in life on the wrong values, it fails to take off as you would expect. Certain careers, callings and professions demand certain values. It is because what you do off the job gets to affect you on the job. People have lost serious jobs because they were found behaving in a manner inconsistent with the employer’s value expectations. Their actions outside office betrayed them. Clinics have closed down because clients have deserted them after their doctors were found dead drunk or in sex scandals. You cannot act with values; you just have to be genuine. Place your value on attributes that will deliver you the results you dream of.
Your current values have delivered you this far; it is now time to consciously review them, uphold those that have had a positive influence in your life and replace those that have led you down the path of destruction. Do you have habits that you dislike yet you have been unable to replace them? Do you step on people to get whatever you want? Have you maliciously caused people to lose their jobs or get transferred because you did not want them around you for whatever reason? It is time to look no further, begin working on your values. If you have never viewed other people as important, it is time to place value on relationships. Begin associating with people who have the traits you admire and reading books that enhance the behaviors that you deem desirable. If you won’t choose what to value, the world will choose for you; the same world that knows nothing about what is good for you. Be deliberate about it because YOU CAN DO BETTER!
Peak Performance Speaker and Author