By: Brian Tracy
Here's a key point. A higher order value always takes precedence over a lower order value. If you place one value higher than another, and you have to choose between doing one thing or doing another, you will always select the action that is consistent with your higher value. Once you are clear about your order of values, decision making becomes much easier. How can you determine what your values really are? Simple. Just observe your behaviors, especially the things you do when you are under pressure. Your values are always expressed in your actions. It is not what you say, or wish, or hope, or intend that expresses your true values. It is only what you do. If you want to know what your values are at this moment, you can examine your recent past and notice the choices you made when you could have gone one way or another. Your choices, and your subsequent actions, demonstrated to yourself and others what was of greatest value and importance to you. Here is an example. Imagine you have two people who have the same three values. The values are family, health and career success. The only difference between these two people is the order of importance that they placed on these values, their priorities. The first person, Bill, says that, "My family comes first, my health is second and career success is third." Tom, on the other hand, has the same values, but he says, "Career success comes first for me, then my family, and then my health." Would there be a difference in character and personality between these two people? Would there be a small difference or a large difference? Which of these two people would you like to get to know and become friends with? Would you be able to tell these two people apart in conversation? Which one do you think you would like and trust more? The answers to these questions are clear. The person with the higher values in a better order of priority will invariably be a better person than the person whose values are in a different order. Your choice of values determines the quality of your character. When you select values such as integrity, love, courage, honesty, excellence or responsibility, and you live your life consistent with those values, every hour of every day, you actually become a superior person. It is your values that determine the kind of person you really are. Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action. First, think about how you behave, how you choose, whenever you are under pressure. Remember, it is only what you do, your actions, that tell who you really are. Second, observe how other people around you behave when they are forced to choose. You will only be compatible with people whose values are similar to yours. What are they?
Brian Tracy is a leading authority on personal and business success. As Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, he is the best-selling author of 17 books and over 300 audio and video learning programs. Copyright 2001 Brian Tracy International. All Rights Reserved. http://www.briantracy.com/