In Values, Part 1, I dropped some philosophy on values. More specifically, I identified values, character, principles, and integrity were not mere synonyms. By understanding their differences, I realized a step-by-step plan to:
(1) figure oneself out
(2) achieve clarity between values (thought) and integrity (action)
(3) to give ourselves the best chance at ever-changing happiness (because values change, what makes one happy can also change).
It was a pretty agreeable philosophy, and probably the most logical explanation to an area that evokes emotion. Unfortunately, it means absolutely nothing if one is not real about their values.
Fake People, Fake Love.
In case you forgot, this blog is part food science and part lifestyle, with an interesting relevance to rap lyrics.
With that said, if there's a song that embodies the importance of what I'm about to say, it's Drake's "Fake Love."
When he debuted "Fake Love" for his [then] new album, "More Life," Drake said, "I'm off mixtapes. I wanna do a playlist. I wanna give you a collection of songs that will be the soundtrack to your life."
... and that he did.
There are very few things people can agree upon, but I believe a dislike for fake is shared by many. Fake is essentially disappointment. A boycotted brand, an ex-celebrity crush, or the most recent meet-up with a person you met online. What do they all have in common? Every one of them has a facade.
In business, it's a marketing message. In celebrity crush world, it's captivating exposure through media. And, in online dating, it can be a very different behaving (and looking) person than what their profile had you out to believe. What you probably experienced was a clash between values someone (a business, a person, the people in Drake's song) thought they had (ideal values) versus what they really have (actual values).
Actual Values versus Ideal Values.
In my last article, I advised putting down the personality tests, and figuring out what it is you value. Pulling values out of the sky was not effective for me. It wasn't until I was given a deck of 50 cards, each with an individual value (and its definition) that I acknowledged the pool of options out there. You can take that free assessment here.
The thing about the pool of options is, they all sounded great. I wanted to value them all, but the exercise is a PROCESS OF ELIMINATION. Subtracting little by little until you reach those items you deem most important to you.
This article will dig deeper into ideal values, actual values, and conflicting values. The tools to be gained are identifying what is ideal and actual for yourself, and what to do when values conflict. The end goal is to be that much closer to living in alignment - with your actual values and integrity.
Ideal is not all bad. By definition, it is the conception of something in its perfection - and after all, aren't we all striving to be better?
Ideal values can go wrong if one is so far in denial, they believe they are someone they are not. Phrased another way, when one lacks the ability to authentically & consistently follow through on their values.
On the bright side, an ideal point of view can help one identify their goals - the areas they need to work on in order to be who/get where they want to be. Ideal can also clarify what someone is really all about, even if it's not being put into actual, consistent practice… (yet).
When I took this assessment originally, "health" was in my top 5 values. In truth, it was my ideal value, but not my real value. I was not really upholding it.
My thought process went something like:
(1) If I value health, why am I sleeping only 4 to 5 hours a night? Why am I meeting up with people for alcoholic beverages? Why do I pretend to not mind when someone is smoking in my immediate radius?
(2) Do any of these things make me happy? … Well, no.
(3) If I slept at least 7 hours a night, met people for something other than alcoholic drinks, and if I got more fresh, smoke-free air, would that make me happier? ... Big YES.
Understanding "gosh, I really value my health," helped me prioritize that. Sure, it wasn't what I was doing in the present, but it is true to who I am. Since the acknowledgment (of my ideal value), my time became very intentional on correcting it and living it consistently (making it my real value).
In making it my real value, I've become unapologetic about valuing health. I have also since attracted more people into my life that share that value (because people who don't share that value usually can't stand me). Turns out, there are people out there who like to meet for tea (not even coffee!)… walks… Groupons for workouts/classes. It is the perfect case-in-point of carrying a value through to principles, living it with integrity, and gaining happiness from it (quality relationships).
Actual Values... the REAL you.
Actual values can go wrong if it's a "bad" value. Remember, values can be good and bad! Phrased another way, when what is actually deemed most important leads to harming yourself and others [is it bad].
For example, someone may decide to value power. In exercising their integrity of this value, they may try to control or manipulate others. Sounds dramatic, but for those who have encountered a suffocating level of micromanagement, been deceived, or downright scammed... know it's all too real.
Just a note - If an actual value is synonymous with a real value, that does NOT mean it's the same as a realistic value. When things are "not realistic" new ideas can come to a sudden halt. Realistic is synonymous with what is practical and what is possible. Likewise, just because someone has a real side versus an ideal side, it doesn't mean their real values are realistic and unchanging. Values are prone to improvement… as well as conflict.
Values can absolutely conflict. In a classic example, valuing wealth and family. Some have figured it out, but it's not an uncommon scenario to hustle for wealth and deprive family of quality time. I imagine there are a ton of entrepreneur, business-oriented types out there with a justified value for wealth (they have a concept to validate, employees to pay, a lot leans on them) but are absent-minded in the family, quality-time realm - be it dinner, weekends, Christmas morning, etc.
When it comes to conflicting values, this is where prioritizing one's top values becomes necessity. Yes, I mean numbering 1 through 5 (1 being most important, 5 being least important) one's top values. Doing two versions may be helpful - prioritizing one's values in the ideal sense, and in the real sense.
This does two things: (1) When life throws you a tough decision, knowing which values you deem greatest to least in importance can be the final say. (2) It creates ownership of the real values, allowing one to acknowledge if their real priority values don't align with their ideal priority values (and they therefore need to recalibrate priority).
Tough predicament: I have a goal of completing 1 hour of online course work each night. It's 11 PM, and I wake up at 6 AM for two reasons: (1) 7 hours of sleep and (2) to fit in exercise.
[In this scenario, my health, integrity, and education values are conflicting]
Tough decision: Do I finish this online course tonight?