What are some examples of core values

What are your values · Life balance

This post revolves around tricky questions that should be answered as clearly as possible. Questions like: What are my values?How can personal values ​​be determined?Which values ​​are important today? The question is tricky, because values ​​are not something we keep on the shelf, take out when necessary and point to it: That there, these are my values. And as it is, with immaterial matters, there are no answers that would satisfy all people equally. The aim of this article is therefore to find an answer to the question of values ​​that suggests a common foundation on the one hand and leaves room for individual peculiarities on the other. | Reading time: 13 min.

Note: This post is available as a video on YouTube.

What are values?

Once again I am referring to the book, among other things The four pillars of life balance. Because that's also about values. More precisely: personal and social values. Such values ​​are defined here as Properties that people find useful or beneficial. But what do you think yours Values? There's a method for this, tested live. The author Marco von Münchhausen lists several identifying features of values ​​in the said book. My top 3 from this list are: Values ​​...

  • pull the Framework for action on
  • demonstrate priorities at
  • to draw role models out

Framework for action, priorities, role models. These are three good keywords that we will come back to in a moment. First of all, a quote from Münchhausen, who writes (p. 172):

As we grow up, our understanding of right and wrong matures, and each person also develops individual ideas about what he rejects and what he thinks is good. This process slows down for many in the course of their lives, and for some it even stops completely.

For current events there is an overview of the corona crisis 20/21 from a philosophical perspective.

Changing values

What is meant are people whose values ​​are unshakable and are no longer questioned. But what else? Change values ​​like winter tires? Münchhausen writes about the Changing values ​​of our time. About the fact that family, church and politics have lost their importance in terms of added value. Disadvantage: Confusion, especially for people looking for guidance or clear guidelines on how to live. Advantage: Freedom, especially for people who would like to write such instructions or guidelines themselves. Whether you wrote it yourself or searched for and found it, it always makes sense to check the answers given to questions about lifestyle every now and then.

With that we come to the methodical part. Let's do a practical exercise. I think out loud, on three points, and you wonder if that makes sense to your feelings. If not: why not? There's a comment function below - tob ’you out.


Point 1 · Framework for action

I think give the framework for action the most important values in front. Which could it be? The philosopher John Rawls names in his work A theory of justice two main human virtues. A virtue can be understood as the moral quality of your actions or a spiritual attitude that has entered your thinking so much that you unconsciously remain true to it. The two main virtues in Rawls are: the virtue of truth with regard to our thoughts, and the virtue of justice with regard to our society.

The core values

You cannot rely on anything without truth. In order to act, you need to be certain that the thoughts on which your decisions are based are true - otherwise your actions will fail to meet your goals. And without justice, you cannot trust anything. In order to pursue your goals and live in freedom, you need the certainty that the people around you are just, otherwise your freedom and your goals are constantly in danger.

The primacy of justice is justified in part on the fact that the interests which would require a violation of justice have no value and therefore cannot override justice.

John Rawls: A theory of justice, P. 50

Honesty and fairness

Values ​​can be derived from virtues. From truth as virtue follows that Honesty as a value in the sense of a property that we perceive as valuable. And from righteousness as virtue it follows Fairness as a value. I think these two values ​​provide a good framework for action.

If I accept this framework, then I act as an honest and fair person to the best of my knowledge and belief. Honest to myself and others, and fair given the differences that some of us prefer and disadvantage others. As an honest person, I will try to separate fact from fiction and neither believe nor spread lies. As a fair person, I want to try to be aware of the coincidences that have brought me into my situation and not to violate the freedom of others with my actions. Okay, the frame is in place.

Freedom as a value

Honesty and fairness are important Freedom as a value ahead, but that doesn't make it any less important for the scope of action. Freedom is the canvas stretched in it, without which there would be nothing to frame. Without a framework there would be no freedom. At least not for everyone equally, but in view of the differences that, as I said, favor some and disadvantage others, the preferred people could take the liberty of depriving the disadvantaged people of their freedom. In doing so, they can use lies and injustices, because there is no framework of values ​​that prevents them from doing so.

Freedom is only promised for everyone with a framework that is determined by honesty and fairness. But what to do with it now? Only freedom enables us to paint our value system further in our own favorite colors. Or, to wipe the metaphor away again: according to the personal one priorities.


Point 2 · priorities

Our priorities give us the values ​​to which we can and would like to orient ourselves within the framework. Which would that be? The author Vera Birkenbihl suggests a thought experiment that Münchhausen included in his life balance book (p. 174). So so:

Imagine having to go for five years on a lonely island pull. Which five people would you like to take with you as a companion?

First of all, criticism: If I take five people with me, it is no lonely island more. Well, let's think twice for the sake of this. People from your circle of acquaintances are allowed, as well as celebrities, deceased or fictional characters.

The island experiment

I leave out family and friends and choose my top 5 When it comes to travel companions from the ranks of fictional characters, very quick: Joy from the Pixar film Everything is upside down, Unity from the series Rick and Morty, Dante Quintana from children's book Aristotle and Dante, Nina Rosario from the musical In the heights - and Sherlock Holmes. The experiment continues:

And now ask yourself why you chose these people. Which properties do these people you liked?

Okay, easy - at least at JoyI would take it with me because of the joy it embodies. Behind this, I think, is the quality of confidence. Check.

Next: Unity is a swarm intelligence that can empathize with other living beings. Unfortunately, it erases personalities and could be accused of slavery - but ultimately it strives for unity and brings parties to the dispute together. At least it seems like that potential There is a property of striving for harmony, which I find good.

Travel companion No. 3: Dante Quintana is a sensitive young man with a penchant for drawing and a love for books. I would want him there because of his considerate quality - and because he would certainly be a good conversationalist.

Five friends on the desert island

That certainly also applies to Nina Rosario. In the musical In the heights (which was recently made into a film - click here for the trailer) she sings about the fact that she wants to give up her studies for lack of confidence. But then she remembers her old Abuela Claudia, who taught Nina everything, and despite her homesickness Nina wants to continue studying. With her I think the quality of devotion expressed in words and song is great.

Last, Sherlock: I can't think of a more mindful person than this guy - which is useful in many cases. For example when there's stress on our island and Joy suddenly lies poisoned on the beach. Then who was it, Dante, Nina or Unity? I don't think so! Sherlock has to deal with that. I would take him with me because of his quality of attention, which I find very valuable.

Values ​​show us priorities, writes Münchhausen. By now I am a travel companion for lonely Island based on preferred properties, I see my priorities in mind: Confidence, harmony, consideration, devotion and attention, these qualities are so important to me that I use them my values would call.

Info: If this experiment is too playful for you, you can simply try a List of values scroll and weigh up what is important. You can find a small catalog with values ​​and virtues below.


Point 3 · Role models

Values ​​create role models, it says in the life balance book - and Role models consolidate values, I would add. Change in values ​​is not just a social phenomenon, but a personal one. Even if you are or become clear about your values, here and now, you remain exposed to other values ​​in the culture in which you live. (Please refer: What is culture)

In order to turn away from the artificial metaphor of a framed picture to a more natural metaphor suitable for the rough reality, I would say: Values ​​are stones on the beach of life that are ground and sometimes washed away with every wave.

Stones on the beach of life

Some values ​​are precious gemstones, others are more suitable for stoning. The sea sometimes has a habit of sorting stones. This can be seen at Chesil Beach in Dorset, England: the stones have been sorted by the sea over dozens of kilometers of beaches and over many centuries. From the size of a pea in West Bay to the size of an orange on the Isle of Portland. Society also shapes us and sometimes sorts us into our own kind.

Yes we do People as value-bearers and those who feel values ​​are not stones themselves, but can move us and act. Action as the main characteristic of specifically human life is discussed in more detail in the excursus on Hannah Arendt (starting with a look at her book Vita activa or From active life). In any case, people have no choice but to encounter other values. This invites you to point to »the others« when the opportunity arises: Here, they are not honest either, they are not fair either. But the mere reference to other possibilities is not an argument, but an excuse not to question or defend one's own values.

From values ​​to strengths

Excuses are the easy way. The stony path is constant questioning and defending. There are hurdles on the stony path, you need strength and endurance. But in this way you can also take something in hand and build it up. There is nothing on the other path that can be done with. What the next article is about only comes into play on the stony path: your strengths. This is a topic that can benefit an important area in the world of values ​​that was not even discussed here: your self-esteem.

End of the practical exercise. Those were a few thoughts and answers to questions about your own values. When asked what yours Are values, you can only give yourself an answer. At best, this post will help you with the method. What good is it to be clear about your values? It helps your Strengthen to give direction and to yourself aims to put.


Examples of values ​​· List

Below a catalog of values or a list of values. This selection does not claim to be complete. About the terms: values ​​(values) in the sense of personal or social values ​​are properties that we consider important. Principles (principles) are principles used to express conviction. Virtues (virtues) are those qualities that we consciously internalize so much that they become a fixed character attribute in the sense of an attitude. Conscious means that we deliberately seek the best middle ground for a property, between the extremes (too little of a property - too much of a property). Synonyms are simply alternative terms.

Core values

The core values ​​include two negative Properties, that is: properties that encourage people to do something Not to do. Those who do not adhere to these values ​​actively cause damage, be it by spreading lies or supporting injustice. Both endanger the freedom of other people.

Honesty honesty

  • Virtue: truth truth
  • Extreme: lying - hurtful
  • Principle: It is important to me not to lie.

Fairness fairness

  • Virtue: justice justice
  • Extreme: unfair - (can too much Give fairness?)
  • Principle: It is important to me not to wrong anyone.

Tip: Adam Smith also wrote about justice as negative action in Theory of Ethical Feelings (1759).

freedom for everyone

The basic values ​​are the prerequisite for Freedom freedom as a quality that makes voluntary appreciation possible in the first place. That means: Only by aligning with the basic values ​​can all people be equally free - and not only those to whom truth and justice are worth nothing.

Social, societal values

Friendliness kindness

  • Virtue: warmth warmness
  • Extreme: emotionally cold - exuberant
  • Principle: It is important to me to treat others kindly.
  • Synonyms: cordiality

Striving for harmony striving for harmony

  • Virtue: peacefulness peacefulness
  • Extreme: argumentative - conflict avoidance
  • Principle: It is important to me to resolve conflicts.

Helpfulness helpfulness

  • Virtue: commitment engagement
  • Extreme: Failure to help - lapse into blind actionism
  • Principle: It is important to me to help others.

Control control

  • Virtue: dominance dominance
  • Extreme: loss of control, powerlessness - compulsion to control, abuse of power
  • Principle: It is important to me to lead other people.
  • Synonym: power

Courage bravery

  • Virtue: bravery courage
  • Extreme: cowardly - cocky
  • Principle: It is important to me to help others in danger.

Respect respectfulness

  • Virtue: decency decency
  • Extreme: disrespectful - awesome
  • Principle: It is important to me to recognize others.
  • Synonyms: courtesy, humanity, tolerance

Consideration · consideration

  • Virtue: patience patience
  • Extreme: reckless - indifferent
  • Principle: It is important to me to consider the differences of others.

Self-control self-control

  • Virtue: obedience submission
  • Extreme: undisciplined - blindly obedient (to people who abuse power)
  • Principle: It is important to me to follow other people and rules.
  • Synonyms: discipline

Charity charity

  • Virtue: charity benevolence
  • Extreme: merciless - selfless
  • Principle: It is important to me to do good to others.
  • Synonyms: mercy, kindness, philanthropy

Reliability reliablitiy

  • Virtue: Loyalty loyalty
  • Extreme: unfaithful, unreliable - blindly devoted (to people who abuse trust)
  • Principle: It is important to me to be trustworthy to others; to earn other people's trust.
  • Synonyms: accuracy, punctuality, diligence, loyalty

Individual, personal values

Attention attention

  • Virtue: Mindfulness mindfulness
  • Extreme: inattentive - "in the tunnel" (no longer receptive to anything else)
  • Principle: It is important to me not to be distracted personally.
  • Synonym: focus, concentration

Ambition ambition

  • Virtue: proficiency efficiency
  • Extreme: lazy - overzealous
  • Principle: It is important to me to achieve a lot personally.
  • Synonym: diligence

Faith · belief

  • Virtue: conviction conviction
  • Extreme: pessimistic - optimistic
  • Principle: It is important to me to hope.

Dedication · commitment

  • Virtue: passion passion
  • Extreme: listless - fanatical
  • Principle: It is important to me to get involved personally.
  • Synonym: energy

Humor humor

  • Virtue: joke wit
  • Extreme: humorless - cynical
  • Principle: It is important to me not to take life too seriously.

Initiative initiative

  • Virtue: willingness to work willingness
  • Extreme: timid - hasty
  • Principle: It is important to me to show personal will.
  • Synonyms: determination

Creativity creativity

  • Virtue: innovation innovation
  • Extreme: unimaginative - manic
  • Principle: It is important to me to create something.
  • Synonyms: ingenuity

Sustainability · sustainability

  • Virtue: moderation temperance
  • Extreme: wasteful - stingy
  • Principle: It is important to me to use resources with foresight.
  • Synonyms: thrift

Attention · caution

  • Virtue: deliberation thoughtfulness
  • Extreme: careless - fearful
  • Principle: I think it's important to consider personal risks.
  • Synonyms: security

Thirst for knowledge curiosity

  • Virtue: wisdom wisdom
  • Extreme: ignorant - arrogant
  • Principle: It is important to me to gain knowledge and understanding.
  • Synonym: curiosity