Life, Leadership and Business

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Values & Beliefs - An Introduction

There are many factors that generate and affect our behaviour as humans. Our age has a role to play in our behaviour and attitudes. Gender also has a role to play in the way a person behaves. The basics behaviour generators in people also include: Culture, Religion, Social Economics, Health and Education. The importance of these factors in our lives is born out of / comes from our very core - Values and Beliefs.

Values and beliefs are the very foundation of the behaviour that we see in ourselves and the people that surround us. Company and business behaviour is also generated by core values and basic beliefs. This is to say that: What we have and what we are as people or as a company - is a direct result of our values and our beliefs. Our lives are the sum total of what we hold true because of our values and beliefs.

It is no wonder that personal and business development programs focuses on understanding and upgrading of values and adjusting beliefs. Every book, course and program on success or personal development I have engaged in has dealt with personal values and beliefs as the essence of making change and gaining personal/business success. Self Development books courses and programs vary in their ability to communicate values and beliefs and the importance of understanding thereof to the readers. Some courses are long, some are quick and to the point. It seems every author, course presenter and life coach has clicked into the importance of values and beliefs independently or through their own training, but this fact remains - it always returns to values and beliefs.
Simply put, our values and beliefs are responsible for where we live, our ambition and the success thereof, who we get into relationships with, how those relationships progress, the type of clothes we wear, friends and foes, our car, how we raise our children, how we educate ourselves and what we educate ourselves in, where we have our home, how we decorate the place we live and our business concerns. The list of areas affected by our values and beliefs can be summed up into three words - ALL OUR BEHAVIOUR!

My experience has been that people have a "hit-and-miss" understanding of their values and beliefs. People have great success in certain areas of their lives, yet they have dismal failure in other areas. I have discovered that people isolate the success areas in their life. They have no idea how to allow that success to affect and flow throughout their life. When the success is isolated in this manner, it does not improve their over-all success in life. It can sometime even result in stress in other aspects of life (think about people that work all the time because they are happy and confident in that area of life.)
So, what are values? What are beliefs? Let me start answering these questions by telling you what they are not! Values are not jewels, not the cash in your hand, not the house you live in. It is not the valuables that can be considered things of value.  I understand that definition of the word "value", but that is not what we will cover here. Even though the beliefs will be influenced by your religious beliefs, we deal with more than just theology in this process. These beliefs are not just what you believe about God and your spirituality. We will not look at the existence of aliens, ghosts or any other paranormal activity.

Okay, so what are values? Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they're probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to. These values have often been set in place by life experiences and events that have affected your emotions in some way. These emotional situations result in us forming certain opinions about the results we received. These events that impact our emotions cause "outcome statements" to form in our minds. When supported by two or more events that give us the same outcome - a belief is formed.

Here's an example: At the start of my last year in school I walked into the class to meet a new mathematics teacher. The rumour was that matric (last year at school) maths was insanely difficult. Understandably, I was apprehensive. First test we wrote in the new teachers' class I got 2%. I was shocked and disappointed. My mathematic career in school had been above average till that point. The information swirling in my head was - I can't do matric maths! The second and third tests we did in that class were equally disastrous. What had been just a swirl of emotions and concerns that I could not do matric maths was now a reality! Well, a reality for me. I failed maths in my first term.
I was fairly good at maths to start with, but the failures caused thoughts of doubt.

Those thoughts mixed with the emotions caused by the failure created an emotionally held opinion (or an outcomes statement) - I can't do maths! - accepted as true for me. Fortunately everyone in the same year had the same problem. The school recognised that there may be an issue with the new teacher, and the second term the teacher was replaced. I struggled in the maths class that year. I struggled because of my belief that I couldn't do maths. I worked hard. I took extra classes. At the end of the year I got a respectable pass mark of a B. On seeing that report card I knew the value of "persistence" had paid off. I have now changed my belief about my maths ability, but I have maintained a tenacious attitude about persistence that is a major part of my internal make-up today.
A Belief is when someone thinks something is reality, true, when they have no absolute verified foundation for their certainty of the truth or realness of something. A value is neither positive nor negative. How we apply that value to our lives, what we belief about that value will determine if that value is beneficial to our desired outcome or not. We can have beliefs that support our values that are detrimental to the manner in which we apply that value. Our beliefs can limit our efforts; can inhibit our potential in a manner that keeps us living in mediocrity. Take a look at my belief about my capacity for numbers - For a whole year I struggled to achieve the results I wanted.

Often the greatest obstacles to our development are not the ones we encounter in our environment, but the obstacles we encounter in our hearts and minds. Understanding our values and being aware of our beliefs around those values can unlock our potential and release our ability to achieve success in all areas of our life. Ask yourself two Questions: Firstly ask - What are my Values? Secondly - What do I believe about the value? These two questions help us on the greatest adventure of all - the discovery of self, and answering these two questions helps us fulfil Plato's plea "Know thyself!"

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