Tag Archives: values

Being and Doing

Society focuses its collective mind on actions and achievements, after all it appears to be obvious that it is the results that count. We get caught up in this way of thinking and we get busy doing and achieving the results that are expected of us.

The uncomfortable truth is that we are not as clever nor powerful as we think we are. When we set our goals to achieve something in the future, we forget that the world is a big place, and events may unfold that make our intention difficult, misguided or irrelevant.

With our focus on actions and outcomes we spend our life visualising and striving towards the future, and this has a negative effect on our experience of life. We fail to experience and relish the beauty in the reality of our day to day existence while we rush towards the goals that we have set ourselves. And life slips by us.

Our society sets its goals and deadlines, and manages to miss what is important too. Companies set their sights on financial targets, and take shortcuts that lose the goodwill of their employees. Organisations compromise their customers, clients or patients for the sake of efficiency. Companies talk about their values but most actions and decisions ignore them.

The results of this approach are not looking great. Consider your experience of politicians, health services, customer services. Look at the way we are collectively using up our natural resources faster than we can replenish them.

We are focused on results at all costs.

Imagine if we were to shift our focus inwardly, individually and collectively, to examining our intentions. If we challenged ourselves to be less selfish, more aware of our impact on others and the world around us. If we developed ourselves, our understanding, our morality and integrity, so that our actions emanated from this strong centre. We could trust ourselves to act well in each and every moment. We could adapt appropriately to the changing situations and stay connected to the reality of the moment.

If companies and organisations were to fully develop their values and work at making them a living and breathing guide to all conduct, they would demonstrate their integrity and they would be more trusted as a result.

I want to challenge the view that it is only the results that matter. I see that we have find a balance between being in the ‘here and now’ and moving towards future goals. I think that change is needed and has to start from the inside, one person at a time.

Advertisements

The Heart of Courage

People who we might think of as emblems of courage, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are marked by a strong and clear purpose. Courageous people have a steadiness, a consistency, an ability to stick to their principles and do what they think is right even when times are challenging.  They have a clear inner voice.

My journey into courage has led me away from extraordinary feats of courage towards a way of living courageously that is within reach of everyone. Still it seems that having a strong and clear purpose, and a clear inner voice is a key element of courage.

In order to develop our courage we need to develop our beliefs or values, our meaning and purpose. We need to work on this, investigating alternative points of view, until we find that which we can really believe in, and feel deeply connected to, and use this to guide us through life.

The word courage comes from the old French word corage meaning heart, similar to the Spanish corazon and the modern French coeur. It has long been known and perhaps since forgotten that the source of courage is in the heart.

The more I work on the subject academically and personally, the more I believe this to be true. Learning about different values and beliefs is important, opening your mind is very important, but ultimately your heart tells you what is right and wrong, and tuning into your heart and acting accordingly is living courageously.

When we develop ourselves on the inside, knowing our values, developing our meaning and passion, our clarity of vision on what we stand for, when we can hear what is in our heart, and when we act on it, and live it, then we will find our courage and live the wholehearted life we want.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”  Steve Jobs

 

 

Having the Courage of your Convictions

To develop courage we need to develop a clear moral code of conduct, a set of values we can live by, that will guide us in our behaviour, and that we can hold on to when the going gets rough.

The point is to find a set of values that we believe in, that will give us a strong sense of inner conviction, values that we can wholeheartedly embrace which will then give us the power to act accordingly and so achieve our full potential.

There are two complementary paths to establishing values, one inner and one outer. The inner path means searching for your own held beliefs about what is important and what is right. One route is to think about instances, experiences in your life where you felt really good, in flow, a sense of being fully alive. When you question what it was about that experience that felt so good, you start to uncover the values that were being supported. Taking the opposite approach, sifting through negative and uncomfortable experiences will reveal where your values were being breached.

The outer path requires us to seek guidance from the world around us. There are many sources of guidance when we open ourselves to the search. Philosophy, religions, psychology, people around us, all have perspectives on values and morals. As you search you will find many contradictions, since the world is full of paradox, and you find amongst these choices what is right for you. There are clearly no absolute answers and you learn to appreciate the multiplicity of views. In this context you choose your own values responsibly and live by them.

Courage means to live in accordance with your values. The more considered the values, the more robust they are, and the the stronger they are the greater the potential for courage.

Examples of Values

values table