Friday, April 17, 2009

Values

I came across this story the other day and thought I’d share it.

Three brothers had a fun evening together. One of them put a couple of pieces of alder on the fire in the wood stove before they went to bed. A couple of hours later, the fire was out of control. In their groggy state the brothers didn’t know what to do. One panicked and jumped a second story window. Another, with amazing calmness, found his way to the door and got out okay. Later, firefighters discovered the third boy by a bedroom window. He had died of smoke inhalation.

“Didn’t anyone try to get him out?” And the same answer was given, again and again. “We thought someone else would help him!”

In response, an unknown author wrote this about the story.

“This is the story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

After reading this story it reminded me that we act on value, not values, and because of this we have limited our significance as human beings.

The numerical quantity of value has become our main driving force towards defining success and progress. Constantly we are asking ourselves “what is in it for me” when presented with one of life’s challenges. This shallowness of thought has led to our motivation by external returns; always trying to quantify our time as value and our actions as worth. As this process has taken the forefront of our thinking, we have lost sight of our values and no longer have the ability to act on the principles and standards that we should hold ourselves to.

Our values are those beliefs that we personally accept as truths. When understood and practiced, values are our standards by which we lead our lives and base our decisions on. This is what leads us to empowerment and enlightenment because our actions are based on what we will receive internally while giving to others externally.

Because our focus is on what we will receive externally first, we lose the ability to control our moral actions and in turn act on greed and the philosophy of “me”. Without values we lose accountability and blame Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody for what is Our fault. We do this not just because it is easy, but because we never have to admit fault in any action that blurs ethical lines.

Our lives are not quantifiable but qualifiable, and we are not measured by how much we die with but by how we lived. When we allow ourselves to create values within our lives we then define the type of lives we will allow ourselves to live. Through our defining principles and standards, we allow ourselves to see before we achieve, therefore never allowing self interests to interfere between right and wrong. In this we gain the strength necessary to applaud us when we succeed and point the finger at us when we fail. The action of the empowered is progress by exterminating Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody when accountability is at stake.

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