I bet that when you hear the word “values,” you automatically think of positive things, and assign a place for the concept of values within the spectrum of good versus evil,
Well, in this episode I’m going to share why this is a huge mistake people make when considering personal values. We’re going to look at two of history’s most famous figures, and see why values don’t require judgment.
You know how we question the motivations of of other people when we are having disagreements? Let’s face it, when we are staring over, we are usually coming from a place of disagreement and conflict that is based on differences.
What we usually forget at the time is that Everything we observe is filtered through our own reality lens as though we had our own particular prescription glasses that are perfectly suited for our eyes but won’t be useful for other people.
I mean, Nobody tries to convince another person that they really should be wearing their glasses because they are better, yet when it comes to examining the conflict in our life we are usually pretty sure our glasses are better.
Well, this analogy of glasses acting as a filter for our judgments is exactly what happens when we judge people’s values.
We see behaviour we disapprove of and think their values are wrong or bad.
I want to help you understand how values are not the problem some people believe by illustrating two very different historical figures who shared similar values but lived them very differently.
Hopefully, this example will help you clarify your focus when you experience conflict in your life.
Did you know that researchers have identified 128 different values in human beings? Imagine the virtually limitless number of combinations you can find across the human race, with each individual identifying different values as the ones they give most importance to.
That’s not the only curious thing about values, though.
As I mentioned in the introduction, when you hear the word “values,” you probably think of positive things, of good things.
Here’s why that's a mistake.
People become defensive when discussing values and are guarded about which values they reveal are important because they worry about value judgments–an unnecessary worry.
In fact, as I shared in episode #002 How To Prioritize Your Values, people often select values they believe to be important or they've been taught are important without having an authentic relationship with the values. This sets them up for frustration and disappointment and a whole lot of conflict in their life.
Here's a link to that post.
Some people find it hard to believe that values can’t be judged as good or bad so I wanted to give you an example of how two drastically different men shared similar values but had very different ways to live them.
I’ll say it again and again, that it’s how you live your values that really matter.
One person, we’re going to look at is seen by many as a symbol of peace, and is remembered mostly for his acts and words of love.
The other was widely feared and recognized as a charismatic figure who brought about some of the most brutal and horrifying acts humanity has ever seen.
When someone speaks of Mahatma Gandhi - and Adolf Hitler, their similarities are definitely not the first things that come to mind. In the case of both men, they were leaders who fought for reasons that couldn’t be more different.
Gandhi led his people to freedom, standing as a primary mover and speaking out against their colonizers in British-ruled India. Hitler, on the other hand, sparked the Second World War, placed a nation under totalitarian rule, and brought about the genocide of over five million Jews in the name of genetic cleansing.
Gandhi and Hitler walked different paths and chose different approaches towards achieving their goals. While Gandhi advocated peace and did his best to live his life as a shining example of this, Hitler seized violence and propaganda, using them as weapons to achieve his ends. However, a closer look at their lives and values would reveal that these two drastically different leaders have a lot more in common than we realize - or, perhaps, than we’d like to admit.
Both Gandhi & Hitler were leaders who wanted to transform society because they believed the world would be a better place.
Hitler and Gandhi were quite gifted when it came to persuading people and making them follow their ideals. And while there is nothing wrong with the value of leadership/organization… you can understand that both men had very different approaches and agendas for living their value.
Another value Gandhi & Hitler shared was Communication/Information
Both men were very charismatic, and they knew how to choose their words wisely. It’s almost as if their words and actions had a hypnotic quality to them, rendering their audience unable to resist their teachings. Both leaders knew how to deliver their message based on the way they wanted to be perceived, and (at least in the case of Hitler) succeeded, with ruthless efficiency.
Whenever they spoke, people listened. Perhaps it was their own strong confidence in their cause that made these men nearly irresistible from an ideological standpoint. Interestingly, Hitler’s speeches could be characterized as powerful and angry, while Gandhi’s words were less intense, and definitely filled with non-violence, love, and warmth.
A third value shared by both men was Territory/Security.
Both Gandhi and Hitler truly believed in doing whatever it took to defend their nation
Again, you can see that the same value can be supported by different belief systems, and brought to life using a completely different set of morals and ethics.
Both men held, Faith/Risk/Vision as a high priority. This value means to commit to a vision, cause, and champion a way of life, even if it means significant personal risk.
Both Gandhi and Hitler stood their ground and held onto their convictions firmly, despite controversy.
While Gandhi’s strict adherence to non-violence resulted in him gaining countless followers and admirers from across the globe, Hitler displayed the same intense advocacy about strong-arming his way through everything in order to attain his goals.
The fifth value both men shared was Control/Order/Discipline
Both men insisted on maintaining control and order through rules and discipline and the outcome of their value was extremely different.
So as you can see, two drastically dissimilar individuals can hold the same values and still end up living completely divergent lives. It is not the values that are good or evil, rather it is the morals and ethics of how a person chooses to live their values that create the conditions of our world.
In the next episode, I’m going to talk about the confusion that exists around values so that you can differentiate your priorities from your morals and beliefs.
The reason this is important is because we need to be confident about what we think is important and why if we are going to be able to live a fulfilling life.
Something I have to confirm for people over and over again is that it is simply not possible to mold ourselves into someone else’s values, even if we look up to them. Forcing yourself to do so will only lead to dissatisfaction in your life.
We are shaped by our own unique model of the world based on our experiences. when we truly understand that, our struggles become much easier to understand and resolve.
Nah, I already know my values and don't have any conflict in my life.