It’s very fashionable right now to identify your values and live according to your values. Promoting “good values” is what the religious right says they’re doing. Corporations are writing values instead of mission statements (for example, the BC Public Service). It’s big in self-help literature from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (see habit #2: “begin with the end in mind”). Values are a major research focus in positive psychology.
I’m interested in identifying my values for three reasons:
- To better understand why values are fashionable and what the effects of that are
- I’ve read that talking about your values is a good way to create rapport with people, which is something I’m working on.
- Measuring your actions against your values is a way to determine if you live with grace. However, David Allen observes in Getting Things Done that living according to your values usually creates extra work: “it raises the bar of our standards, making us notice that much more that needs changing”.