We must have a healthy relationship with our external world – the people around us and the expectations set for ourselves and others in life – in order to embark on this process of growth. Looking to, admiring, and sponsoring the strengths of others is incredibly important in our own journey towards self-improvement. This is because not only should we want to help others be the best that they can be. Using our strengths for the benefit of those around us helps us learn about the values and behaviours we admire in them, as well as the values and behaviours we appreciate in ourselves. It's an integral component of the journey towards becoming a good person.
Development and mastery of our values is, therefore, a process of lifelong learning. This is because as much as we need to learn to believe in our strengths, we also need to learn to believe in our ability to develop ourselves, and we need to do this by learning to build on the existing framework of who we are today in order to become who we want to be tomorrow. Our weaknesses are our weaknesses. They exist and we should not punish ourselves for this reason. We should build new tactics and techniques to turn our weaknesses into strengths and employ them for the benefit of all.
We must know ourselves, we must work for others, and we must believe in our ability to improve. The specific tool to use in the attainment of each of these is goal setting. Once we understand our values and beliefs and where we have reached on our journey of becoming, we can then set tangible goals for ourselves that align with our desired areas of development. We can learn who we are. We can learn to live for others. And we can learn that we can always be better at what we do. By setting aside time and developing habits that work towards each of these, we will strengthen our understanding of what needs to happen next and how this might be put into action in a manner that reflects what we believe is good and right.
We can contemplate our Values in Action by considering the following questions:
- Can I identify my best character strengths – those character skills and habits that contribute most to my success and wellbeing and that I rely on most often and effectively?
- Do I often see character strengths in others that I admire and wish I could have too? Is it important for me to live with purpose and integrity?
- Do I take the view that with focus and effort I can work on my character strengths and develop new ones, rather than seeing them as fixed and immutable?
- Is it important to me that my character strengths contribute to the success and wellbeing of others, not just myself?
- Am I becoming competent in reflecting on my “character” setting personal resolutions and goals for growth?