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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Malpass

What Do You Value?

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

Stephen Covey

I know logically there should only be one Main Thing, but in Stephen Covey's delightfully whimsical quote above, there are at least two, and maybe three main things. That's because really:

Main Thing(s) = Thing(s) We Value

Everybody has values. And for every individual, determining what values to incorporate into his or her value system is an act of absolute free will. We all get to choose what we value. Furthermore, the value decisions we make will dramatically shape who we are right now and who we will become in the future.

When we are choosing our values, can we be influenced? I certainly think so, and I can think of examples in which we are influenced for the better or for the worse.

For the better: As she grows up, Emily observes her parents caring for each other, and for her and her brother. Influenced by what she experiences, she incorporates a strong sense of FAMILY into her value system.

For many people, FAMILY is a top candidate for what they value most.

For many people, FAMILY is a top candidate for what they value most.

For the worse: Emily's brother Mark falls in with a rough crowd at his high school. He begins lying to his parents and sneaking off to hang out at the beach with his "friends," even though he knows he doesn't really share their values. One Friday night, a stoner dude named Jeff brings some pot to share with the group. Wanting to fit in, Mark joins with the others in smoking the pot. It isn't long before he's a stoner dude himself, frequenting Taco Bell® to help curb the "munchies," spending all his free time at the beach searching for "gnarly waves," and engaging in deep philosophical discussions about the true nature of reality.

Stoner dude Jeff Spicoli outlines the most important components of his value system.

Mark's values have been compromised because of the influence of his pot-smoking companions. He once had a bright future, but now his prospects have dimmed significantly.

What do you value? How have your values been influenced? If you discover your value system is no longer working for you, maybe it's time to choose different values, you know?

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