We all like to be chameleons these days, changing our colours based on the situation, the audience, the social medial network.
It feels kind of old fashioned to nail your colours to the mast and have a single set of values.
And with a growing trend towards a secular society many of us don’t have institutions drilling us in codes, creeds or commandments. Retargeted advertising on the internet is probably the closest that many of us get to a repeated, daily message – Nike Air Pegasus, now 30% off.
But there is value in articulating what we stand for.
It gives us something noble to aspire to.
It gives us a benchmark to review our actions against.
It gives us a guiding light when we’ve lost our way.
We constantly transgress our own values, because we’re not giving our values enough time out in the sun to grow and become strong. Without air and light, they remain atrophied waifs who can only whisper to us from the dark.
If we want to rely on our values to help guide our way, then we have to grow them with intention and attention. We need to think about what is important to us and take the time to remind and reinforce what we believe.
It doesn’t mean putting them on a t-shirt – this isn’t a necessarily public act – but it does mean being able to articulate them at least to ourselves.
What would we stand for?
What would we fight for?
What would we die for?
Values can be the batteries that power our whole selves, but only if we’ve taken the time to find them, dust them off and plug them in.