Life principles, human values, a pathway to a values-driven happy life

By Patricia Berba

These past two years of our life as dwellers of this planet have made many of us look at our own life, other people, and the world we live in from a different perspective, and hopefully, a renewed way of seeing things and viewing life in general. Ordinary things we used to enjoy before this time of the pandemic, e.g., the company of our loved ones and people in general, activities we routinely performed, may now be extraordinary, much desired, and longed for. In addition, there are ongoing unsuspected changes and developments in nature that make us all experience shifting climates around the globe, making us realize the smallness of what used to be big and the greatness of what used to be small figuratively and literally as a way of speaking.

We rediscover a basic fact that as human beings, we’re social by nature, we are all interdependent in one way or the other, and that we all ultimately seek to be happy. So, whether we realize it or not, we need to be humanly connected to be happy and fulfilled. We are grateful for the ingenuity behind new technologies today that enable us to continue to be connected with people and, most importantly, our loved ones. Yet, we need authentic and lasting mutually beneficial human relationships to flourish more than just being connected.

On the other hand, various forms of isolation, significantly when prolonged, can diminish our possibility of developing human relationships, where we run the risk of suffering desolation.

In various contexts in life, agreeing on shared and mutually beneficial values facilitates trust-building in forming mutually beneficial human relationships, e.g., family, friendship, business and work relationships, national and international relations. Hence, successful teams, organizations, governments, and international conventions all have well-defined and cascaded shared values as a platform for healthy dialogue and meaningful cooperation. From all sides of the relationship, this requires a proper understanding of stakeholders’ local and global environment, and implementors need the sensitivity drawn from shared values to engage and draw commitment from the community towards achieving a common goal. The success of values-driven initiatives greatly depends on values-inspired plans every step of the way from conceptualization to post-implementation review, and effective and transparent communication at every level and stage of implementation is indispensable. In this light, the world has witnessed how countries like New Zealand and Singapore, through values-driven leadership, have applied such strategies, reaping favorable results in their battle against the Covid 19 pandemic.  

On a personal level, where everything starts, adopting values is an exercise of personal will and a product of intellectual assent. Well assimilated values bring harmony within a person; a person develops an integral connectedness within oneself. When values are practiced in relating with others, it calls for mutual understanding, respect, and learning between and among peoples. People discover and deepen personal values as part of identity clarification, an inherent phase in human maturation, creating an enabling capacity to appreciate and genuinely respect other people and their identified values. This relational connection is a necessary foundation for favorable relationships.  Therefore, well-designed development initiatives need the effective execution of values clarification. 

There are human values that are fundamental in life and are shared across cultures and beliefs, e.g., love, freedom, justice, and truth. These are vital elements in building a humane society as these rest on principles that govern human life or the principles of life. Among these principles is the reality about the equal dignity of all human persons and that truth is a common good. While these human values and life principles may sound all too evident to many people, knowing how these broad values apply and practicing these in goal-setting and day-to-day decisions set the values-driven persons and organizations apart from their counterparts who are not.

Values vary from person to person, given people’s unique perspectives and mindsets, experiences, learning, and ways of being, all of which influence one’s lens for selecting and weighing the importance of a range of human values.

Setting off on a values-driven life journey brings a person through a process of self-discovery, careful reflection of life values, and a courageous commitment to live by these values. It takes disciplined effort to learn and practice the human values in a way that leads to personal development in virtue, the development of others, and eventually contributes to the development of the world. The principles of life, the lighthouse of human values, are timeless and unchanging. On the other hand, the world is dynamic and in constant change. It follows that the application of timeless principles in evolving and uniquely developing circumstances will ever be new. People’s orientation on values may shift in time as the scale of importance of a range of values change according to the needs of the times or place. The weight of importance assigned by persons to selected values may shift, moreover, according to how people personally change. We observe that various noble advocacies are born from human experiences where a dearth or deprivation of selected values existed at some point in time. 

Values, per se, rooted in unchanging human nature or life principles are not subject to change. It takes an indomitable spirit to live by life values consistently, tenaciously, and integrally against all odds. Such is a feature of a values-driven life, a way to a happy life. 

In this time of uncertainty, there is a hidden blessing of opportunities for people to develop resiliency, work on shared values and collaborate in solidarity with greater vigor to achieve a better world. Where people took time to reflect on the essential values in life, in their lifetime or spurred by this extraordinary time of the pandemic, we find edifying acts of heroism and generosity, new socially relevant ventures, and highly creative technological developments in the service of humanity. While there may be quarters with opposing forces and conflicts in values, for a mix of reasons, which continue to slow down our collective pace for realizing authentic societal development, our true hope is in continuously probing the intrinsic nature of the life values that connect us all as human beings. Such anchor, when embraced and lived out on a personal level and as a community, inspired by values-driven leadership and governance, is empowering for resolving deep-rooted problems and innovating a future that projects an all-inclusive and human-centered world development and progress.

 About The Author 

Patricia Berba is an Organization Development Consultant specializing in Integrity Development through the design and facilitation of Leadership and Team Development programs. With a holistic view on Human Capital Development, Patricia advocates a family-friendly and performance excellence culture through Systems-Thinking-designed interventions and implementing Strategic Human Resource Management practices anchored on work ethics and Total Quality Management principles.

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