VALUES - Why Knowing Your Values Will Change Your Life

Young Woman looking at the ocean with her hands in the air.

Your values are those things that you hold dear. 

They can be assessed by where we place our time, our money, our efforts and resources

For some this is family, friends or helping people, for others it is the pursuit of knowledge, learning and growing, still for others it is the pursuit of material gains or power and prestige.

Before we look at how knowing our values will change our life, let us look at how it has shaped others by looking at a large societal issue: The difference in educational achievement between minority groups and non-minority groups.

Researchers at Stanford University had minority students complete value affirmations within critical points of the school year (beginning, prior to a test, and near the holiday season) – this involved writing about what they valued i.e. family relationships, friendships etc. Whilst a control group wrote about other things, such as daily routines. They followed the academic results of these children over the next 2 years and found that amongst the children completing value affirmations, the achievement gap between minority students and non-minority students was reduced by 30%.

Another study, this time at University, also sought to look at another people group that is typically under more stress – first generation students. Researchers had the students complete similar value affirmations to the study above and found similar results. This time, the gap between first generation students and continuing generation students was reduced by 50%!

As an interesting parallel, non-minority students did not benefit at all from completing value affirmations. Why?

The students who benefited, were all under a greater level of stress and pressure than their non-minority counterparts. They had to overcome prejudice, stereotypes, cultural barriers and other pressures. The reason why the value affirmations helped them was because it kept them grounded, it kept them focused in the midst of the pressure.

When we think about someone who was under immense pressure, and who held their values at the forefront of the mind, we need look no further than Jesus.

He knew that people were plotting His murder, He knew that He would go through immense pain. When He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane His sweat was as blood due to His high stress levels.

Yet He also knew His values, He knew that He would serve the Father no matter what. He knew that a love of people was at the centre of who He was.

Just as the non-minority students, when life is good and we do not feel under pressure or stressed, we may find it easy to achieve, to make things happen, to do well. However, we know that any great achievement involves high pressured moments, moments when things are not going according to plan. It is in these times that we need to hold our values at the forefront of our mind.

May we find our values, may we live our values, and may we stick to them in the face of adversity.

Do you know your values? If so, leave them in the comments box below


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