Are you the person that you tell yourself you are?
Our core values have a great impact on our lives. They define who we are and what we do daily. They are the building blocks of our character.
Aristotle believed that our values are determined by our actions, not by what we tell ourselves they are.
“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.” – Aristotle
You can learn more about Aristotle’s list of virtues here.
Ancient philosophers talked about the idea of developing our core values by adopting virtues such as patience and temperance in our lives.
Through the practice of particular virtues, we develop our character and live in alignment with our values.
Benjamin Franklin was famously known for his list of 13 virtues that he reviewed each night before bed.
So what exactly are core values, and why do they matter?
The purpose of this article is to challenge you to examine your life to identify your REAL core values and to help you develop the values you want for your life.
Doing this will empower you to live a more authentic, purposeful, and productive life.
What Are Core Values?
Our core values are shaped by our thoughts, feelings, and, most importantly, our actions.
They define who we are from the inside-out.
Our personal core values are the qualities and characteristics that shape how we think and what we do each day.
They define our character at the deepest level of our being on an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual level.
Whether we realize it or not, everything we think, say, and do comes from our core values.
The Importance Of Having Clear Core Values
Having clear core values is important for many reasons. Defining and refining our values is a continuous process of personal growth.
Here are a few reasons why it’s important to clarify our core values.
Prioritize Everything In Life
We all have priorities. Knowing our core values enables us to align our intentions and goals with our actions to achieve our desired outcomes.
Build Our Character
Our core values are the foundation of our character.
The way that we become the man or woman that we aspire to be isn’t by trying to be successful; it’s by building our character. Success can be lost or taken away. Character remains.
Having clear personal values gives us confidence when we face challenges in life. When we are clear on our core values, we are confident in our decisions and actions.
Research shows that we make around 35,000 decisions every day. Some of them are small, but some of them are significant and can be life-changing.
Clarifying our core values and knowing what is important to us helps us make better decisions that align with our character, goals, and life purpose.
How To Discover Your REAL Core Values
There’s a good chance that your core values are not what you think they are or what you say they are.
Just because we say we value one thing or believe in something doesn’t mean that we actually do.
When it comes to discovering our core values, our actions reveal more than our words.
Our actions reveal our REAL core values.
The best way to discover your core values is to spend time observing your thoughts and actions.
As a general example, if we consistently eat unhealthy foods and don’t exercise, it may be because we value comfort or short-term pleasure more than we do being healthy.
How we spend our time and the way we treat others reveals our REAL core values.
Defining Your Personal Core Values
If you google “core values” on the internet, you will find lengthy lists of words like Patience, Calm, Strong, Traditional, and others that you can claim as your own.
But the best way to determine and define your personal core values is to look within yourself.
Spend time observing your actions and your thoughts, and you will discover your REAL values.
This is one of the reasons that Socrates said,
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“What kind of person do I aspire to be?”
“Why don’t I do the things I tell myself I want to do?”
“Why do I do the things I tell myself I don’t want to do?”
Look within yourself, examine your life, and you will discover your REAL core values.
How To Change Your Core Values
We can change our core values and our lives.
We can become the person we aspire to be by being intentional in our thoughts and actions.
The first step is to determine what kind of person you want to be.
The second step is to act on those intentions.
Choose 3 to 5 core values and start leaning into them.
Practice them daily and remember that transformation takes time.
Just like learning how to ride a bicycle, we have to practice over and over.
Tell yourself, “I am a ___________ person.”
Act on your intentions and live purposefully rather than reacting to your emotions.
Pay attention to those times when you struggle.
And when you do, when you fall down, get up quickly, and start again.
Your character will begin to change over time as you live into your new core values, and you will start to become the person you aspire to be.
Write down a list of 7 to 8 core values that are important to you.
Narrow your list down to 3 to 5.
Take time to examine your life and observe your actions.
Observe what thoughts and behaviors do or don’t align with your core values.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to leave a comment below or share it with a friend.
You can also check out this article about Why Every Man Needs A Tribe.
Join The Iron Tribe
Join a group of men committed to improving their lives.