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Values


The best way to know another person, perhaps the only way, is to understand their values. Regardless of whether one seeks the right employee, the right boss, or the right dinner companion, values matter.


And not a list of high-minded adjectives to which one aspires; not a poster in the lobby created by focus groups; and not what you are “working on.” But rather, a specific description of what is actually important to you based on rigorous self-inspection. What values accurately and honestly describe the core of your being?


The true test of values is how quickly you abandon them in the face of a threat. What type of person are you and how do you behave when you are stressed out, scared, or angry?


These are my values.


Humanity.

Humanity recognizes other people are worth knowing. It’s the value of intentional human interaction - the desire to know another and to let them know you, simply because they exist. And not just because you think you might like them or you might find them useful in the future. Humanity recognizes you won’t know someone until you pay sufficient attention to them. And once you do pay attention, you may not like them. But humanity recognizes the value of getting to know someone is separate from the value judgments which come from understanding them. Regardless of outcome, it’s still time well spent. Humanity is the fundamental acknowledgement of a person other than yourself.


Dignity.

Dignity is grace under unrelenting pressure. It’s quietly sitting under the sword of Damocles and sipping your wine. On the surface it’s the concept of “never let ‘em see you sweat.” But underneath it’s the deep peace which comes from having fought many battles, having been knocked down many times, having learned humbleness in defeat and grace in victory, and understanding the value of always - always - getting back up.


Integrity.

Integrity is not morality and it isn’t honesty. It’s internal/external consistency - the integration of beliefs and actions - outward behavior which is consistent with private viewpoint. Integrity is the moral courage to share with the world, through words and actions, who you really are. To give one’s actual opinion when asked, instead of saying what is expected, or even worse, what’s fashionable. Integrity is the willingness to be judged based on who you really are, rather than who you think you should be.


Honor.

As pride is what you do when you’re being watched, honor is what you do when you’re alone. It’s the standard you set when nobody else is there. How do you set a table for one? Do you eat from the foam container while standing over the sink? Or do you put a plate and a glass on the table with silverware? Honor is reflected in what you do in the absence of influence.


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