Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do. – Elvis Presley
What does that mean?
Think what you will of the King of Rock and Roll, but he did have a way of turning a phrase. We leave a little bit of ourselves in or on everything we do. These fingerprints are tied back to our choices, motives, desires, actions, and driving all of those, our values.
Everything Ebenezer Scrooge did bore his fingerprints, the fingerprints of greed. Everything that Bob Cratchit did left his fingerprints as well. But they were fingerprints of compassion and duty. Every story has people with values, and their actions show their values as uniquely as a set of fingerprints.
We each have our own fingerprints, and they are unique. The same is true for our values. I might value one thing a little more than you do, but value something else a little less than you do. And those values will show in our choices, our motives, our desires, and our actions; as our fingerprints.
Why is are our values important?
Our values define us, guide us, and provide us with meaning in our daily lives. They define us and help guide us in our daily decisions. Those things which you value, you will protect and work towards preserving and promoting, right?
Those things which you don’t value, you won’t put any effort into protecting or preserving. In fact, you might actively work against things that go against your values. These acts are also part of our fingerprints, part of what we leave on all we touch.
And that is why I believe it is important to have values you have taken the time to consider and thoroughly think through. But most of us are a hodge-podge of thoughts and ideas, values drawn from different places and times, and full of contradictions.
Where can I apply this in my life?
The good news is that you already do apply your values to your decision process every day. The not so good news is you probably haven’t ever put a lot of thought into it, so it might not result in the best possible decisions, for you, or your future.
If you strongly value honesty, will you easily tell a lie? Not unless you also have a belief or value that says a certain person or group can be lied to without any remorse. That could lead to a little internal conflict, and some contradictory fingerprints.
Some of them say “honest to a fault” and others shout out “LIAR!” Which set of prints will people believe? That will probably depend on how often they see which set of fingerprints, and whether they belong to the group of people you feel free to lie to without remorse.
That was a fairly extreme example, but we are rife with beliefs and values that are in contradiction with each-other. How many people who are against the death penalty are willing to pay more to house and care for the prisoners? Some are, but most that I have met are not. What then should we do? Their compassion only goes so far, it appears.
While I nominally support the death penalty, I know I could not vote on a jury to sentence someone to death, as I also have a very strong belief in favor of life. I also know that, for the same reason, I couldn’t be a witness or have anything to do with an execution. Yeah, I’m pretty messed up, how about you?
There are plenty of other examples we could dig into, but I think I’ve made my point. What I think would be a good use of our time is to consider what are the big issues in our lives. What will we absolutely do or not do? For what are you willing to lay down your life, like the teachers in Connecticut?
These, to me, are the big loops, whorls and arches in our value-based fingerprints. The lesser values fill in the spaces between, and help make us each unique. However, unlike real fingerprints, our values fingerprints can be changed, as we revisit our values.
What of your contradictions have you resolved to adjust in the coming weeks? What are you going to do to make the fingerprints you leave reflect the real you, and not just the hodge-podge of things you’ve accumulated over the years?
It’s your life, your choices, your values. Make them something you are proud of, since you’re leaving your prints on everything you touch, and on every life you touch.
This quote comes to us from a reader of the blog, mosby504. Thanks for the heads-up! Do any of the rest of you have a favorite quote? I can’t guarantee I’ll get to it anytime soon, if ever, but if you don’t ask, I probably won’t get to it just by chance. Let me know!
confirmed at : here, quote #3
Photo by Vince Alongi