What Value Are Values, If Not For You?

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Are your “values” important? Are others’ values important? Most likely, everyone would answer yes to the previous questions. Let’s concentrate on the values of others and how important it is for us to know them.

When I was a teacher, I often would focus on what each individual student’s values were. You see, by knowing what my students valued, I was able to relate my lessons to what they deemed important and were willing to work for. Many of my students, for example, valued their parents’ favor. Other students valued their work for God. And others, valued education as their “ticket” out of poverty. I believe it is important to know the values of those we wish to motivate.

There is no way that I could motivate all of my students based on what each valued, but I could respect and honor each student for their own individual value(s). Ultimately, it is their value(s) that motivate(s) them to do well. As a teacher, boss, parent, etc., we must allow those we are responsible for, to use their values to motivate themselves. Our purpose, metaphorically,  is to “build that bridge so they can get to the other side, then cheerfully collapse so they build their own bridges in the future.”

OK, so in order to motivate, it is important to know what the “motivatees” value. How do we find that out? I think by listening and asking. Don’t talk about what you value, but instead, ask what they value. Don’t watch what you do, but instead, watch what they do. Don’t read about what you like, but instead, what they like. Don’t watch what you necessarily are interested in, but instead, watch what they are interested in. I’m sure by now, you see what I’m getting at. In order to motivate someone, you must “build that bridge” from where that person’s interests are, to where you are motivating them to. The start of the bridge is where their interest(s) is/are, and the end of the bridge is “the goal of your motivation.”

Yes, in order to motivate there must be a goal – at least that is what I think. In order to have a goal that the “motivatees” will “buy into,” we need to appeal to their values.  So what value are values? One important value of values is to help with motivation. This is true when someone is trying to motivate another, or self-motivation. When we base what we are doing on good solid values, we, as humans, find it easier to pursue goals. Pursuing goals is easier when we are motivated to do so. We are motivated when we feel what we are working toward, is in sync with our values.

If you want to motivate your children, a team, your employees, etc., then you should present the motivation in terms of something they find meaning in, and not, necessarily, what is meaningful to you. You must know, not only what you value, but also, what they value.

Evaluate, then Motivate!  :-)

I value your comment(s).

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