Week 12: Vol. 12. Placing Value On Values

27 Mar

VOL. 12

"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values."


-- Ayn Rand

flow dimension shaded. philosophical

Ponder for a moment the following scenario: You have been asked to make a list of your top 10 values. You are then flown to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and taken by taxi to the Petronas Towers. It’s a curious day for sure…

Standing at 1483 feet tall, these are the tallest conjoined towers in the world. The express elevator takes you to the tallest point. You are escorted to an open-air veranda where an 18 inch wide steel beam connects the two buildings...

There is no wind. It is a sunny and beautiful day. You have seen this type of steel beam before, and recognizing that it is at least 18 inches wide, you know that when lying on the ground, it is very easy to cross without stepping off. However, now you are more than 1,000 feet off the ground and the stakes are high. With less than 100 feet to cross from tower to tower, your best friend stands across from you at tower 2 with a copy of your values list.

He or she reads off your list. You are asked to cross or to stay. Which values would you cross for? Which on your list would you stay-put? These are not easy decisions… significant introspection, sorting, real truth telling is stirring you up—and rightly so.

You then take the elevator down to the 2nd floor, just 15 feet off the ground. The same type of beam and conditions exist. At this height you will most likely not perish in your attempt, but you will most likely break a leg if you fall. Your best friend is once again facing you from a little more than 100 feet across. Again, for which secondary values would you cross?

So what’s left on your list? Everything else represents the values that you care for but not that much. Taken together, these represent your primary, secondary, and third tier lists of values.

So, why the mental exercise to solidify your values? What do values have to do with finding your flow? The answer lies once again in building your capacity to focus in a clearly defined space and time on things that matter most.

Without a clarification of values, implicitly and explicitly, your mind knows not where to place its resources and for how long. With a clarification of values (both deep and at the surface) you are dialing in your consciousness and “spending” your physical, emotional, mental, philosophical—even your spiritual resources on the things that you truly value. You are fully engaged and knowingly giving yourself in the pursuit of your missions, vision, and goals.

Perhaps you have come across very talented colleagues or friends who seemed to have all of the capacities and skills to excel at something only to fail because their heart and soul just weren’t “in it”. In such a circumstance if everything is in place except value, then all internal and external resources are being misused, the performer is not compelled to “invest” in the arena, so total engagement and deep focus are put aside until true value is discerned.

The long and the short of it: finding your flow is directly connected to what you value most.

Think about the MLA’s that you seek to find more flow and peak performance within and ask yourself some very simple questions. To help you in this effort, I’m attaching an exercise I like to call the “Values Connect” exercise.

Take just a few minutes this week and make a short list describing the values that compel you to focus your resources within a given arena. By clearly connecting these values to the arenas you will find deeper levels of engagement and a greater capacity to focus your resources to gain maximum results.

Remember, if cannot tap into your core values, you will not be able to access your deepest resources and commit fully to any arena where you seek to give yourself fully.


  • Values Connect exercise
  • Look at your three most important MLA's and draw a clear connection between your primary and secondary values and the resources you will need to be fully engaged
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