From achievement and adventure to wisdom and wonder, not to mention kindness, innovation, and professionalism, values are those things you deem important in life. Expressions of what you care about, they profoundly inform what you pursue day to day, year to year. In so doing, they fundamentally shape the trajectory of your whole life.
Whatever values you subscribe to, it’s important to know that valuing is a uniquely human endeavor. And values are a reflection of your moral compass. Your moral compass is a reflection of your spiritual reality, (who God is to you), and the value you ascribe to that Deity.
Values are an inexhaustible source of motivation—inexhaustible because they are qualities intrinsic to being and doing. They are visible only through their enactments. They’re adverbs, or adjectives, or verbs: “I did something lovingly.” Because they are chosen qualities of actions, they can never be fully achieved, only embraced and shown. Nevertheless, they give life direction, help us persist through difficulties. They nudge us, invite us, and draw us forward. They provide constant soft encouragement.
They then arise from our capability for symbolic expression. There’s no domain, no age, no situation to which values do not contribute. You don’t “find” them. You choose them. When you choose values, you allow them to become a part of who you are; they become virtues. You have to do the work of exploring and looking and selecting and owning. They exist already, but you will always be the determining factor as to whether or not you will be a conduit of these values/virtues to the world around you as an expression of who you are.