Moral compasses and values tend to go hand-in-hand. If you are in the majority of people in the world, you tend to gravitate towards people with similar values. These people become your friends, family, and acquaintances in a constant cycle of adding and subtracting as you see fit, based on the ever changing actions of individuals. But the problem within this majority is that few people take the time to identify and strengthen these values on more than a subconscious level.
Everyday impulses and actions take place on a subconscious and conscious level, all of these made while taking into account past experiences, environments, and situations that root back to the values created through these. The reward comes into play when a person can acknowledge these values and integrate them into their actions. As a college student and post graduate, or no matter what stage you are at in your life, a simple 30-45 minute exercise can help identify what your core values are.
In doing this, the progress towards every goal that you set and action that you take will be more passionate, directed, and true to yourself than imaginable. The following steps will guide you through an exercise to figure out what it is that you value. Go into this with a clear mind and sit down somewhere quiet with no distractions. When going through the list of values, think about who you currently are in your present state and weigh each word based on who you are in your career, social life, and family life. This will help create an accurate list for you to go off of.
What you need: 20 index cards, pen
Step 1: Download the attached PDF, Values. This is a list of common words that are values-based in nature.
Step 2: Go through the list slowly. On each index card, write down one word from the list, or that you have come up with, on a close value to you. There should be 20 words at the end of this on 20 separate index cards. These are the top 20 values that are important to yourself and who you want to be.
Step 3: Now take 10 of these and rip them up. These 10 should be the least important on the list. This will help narrow down your core values.
Step 4: Rip up 3 more index cards. This will bring you to a total of 7 index cards left, focusing in on your core values. It can be easy to hesitate at this point, but be decisive and reflect on experiences and events on which you acted out of integrity and truly felt happy with the way you expressed yourself.
Step 5: Rip 1 more index card up. You are now down to 6 values.
Step 6: Rip 1 more index card up. Repeat this twice.
Step 7: You have now identified the 4 core values that, above all of the others, should dictate your actions and motives. These represent what is important to you. Write these down somewhere that you will not forget them. Whether this is a whiteboard in your apartment, journal that you carry around all day, phone background screen, or a mirror in your bathroom.
Now that you have these core values selected for yourself, spend some time defining what each of these mean to you. The word “respect” can have many different meanings and emphasis by each individual person. This is what makes these core values yours. Take some time out of each day and reflect on how actions that day reflected these values, and use these to accomplish goals that you have set for yourself. This not only helps accomplish tasks that have been on a to-do list for a while, but recognizing these core values helps build a stronger individual personality that will resonate in all sorts of situations that you will encounter throughout life.