Generating a Core Values List

I recently bought some books on journaling looking for ideas on things to write about in my electronic journal. Journaling is something I do when I have a spare moment between full time grad school and a weekend job. It was also once a useful trick when I worked as a substitute teacher because when a day was slow with nothing to do, I could write a journal entry in class and the students would assume that I was writing a report for the teacher (mostly this worked for days when all the classes were watching videos for the day, or had individual assignments to work on quietly).

A recommendation from Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner is to generate a “core values list” and narrow it down as much as possible. This is good advice, and I decided to share it with my blog. If you already journal, or you’re looking to start, I think a good topic to begin with would be to create a list of core values that you hope to practice to the best of your abilities. It doesn’t mean that you will always succeed, but it does create a sense of what’s important to you and helps you identify who it is that you want to be in life.

I will provide a list of some of my core values because I had fun doing this.

Tao of the Sage

  1. Accept every person as they are: travelers on their own journey.
  2. Treat everyone with respect and kindness, no exceptions.
  3. Have gratitude for all that you have, and for all the people who have supported you and been your friend.
  4. Accept your mortality as a fact of life, and live each day with no presumed promise of the next.
  5. Forgive those who wrong you or speak ill of you, for your sake if not for theirs.
  6. Accept uncertainty and doubt as a basic component of all beliefs, but to seek to understand the world, other people, and your own beliefs as best as you can.
  7. Accept that there may be a pantheistic, Einsteinian God, while having awareness that there might not be any higher intelligence to the universe, and live life with this realization in mind.
  8. Know that everyone, even yourself, is capable of great heroism and horrific cruelty in every moment of his or her existence, and all other actions in the continuum between the two.

Most Importantly:

Nemo mortalum omnibus horis sabit.  “No mortal is wise at all times.”

Put simply: always do your best; expect to fail, but never surrender.

When you complete your list, narrow it down to your best items (my original list had 16 items), and print them out in order to post them somewhere in your home.  I recently purchased an 8″ by 11″ frame so that I could post mine in my apartment.
This is the final printout.  It's already framed but already I need to re-print because I'm tweaking the phrasing.  You'll spot some slight differences between the list in the blog versus this pic.  That's because I believe very much in precision of language (except not in the sense of the term used in "The Giver).

This is the final printout. It’s already framed but already I need to re-print because I’m tweaking the phrasing. You’ll spot some slight differences between the list in the blog versus this pic. That’s because I believe very much in precision of language (except not in the sense of the term used in “The Giver).

This is where my Core Values list is currently displayed.  Pictured here is my guitar and a picture of my father, circa 1973.

This is where my Core Values list is currently displayed. Pictured here is my guitar and a picture of my father, circa 1973.

© David Metcalf