Here are a few excerpts from a great article about values. (Personal Growth, Your Values, Your Life by by Jim Taylor Ph.D.)
One of the most powerful ways in which this “value” was impressed on you was in how you learned to define success. Popular culture typically defines success winning, wealth, status, physical appearance, and popularity—the more money and power you have and the more attractive and popular you are, the more successful you would be. Growing up with these definitions, success was largely unattainable for most people. At the same time, our culture made losing even more intolerable to contemplate—being poor, powerless, unattractive, and unpopular is simply unacceptable. With these restrictive definitions, you may have believed, like so many others, that you were caught in the untenable situation of having little opportunity for success and great chance for failure.
Blindly having accepted society’s narrow definitions of success and failure takes away your power to decide how you wish to define them. By buying into popular culture’s limiting definitions of success and failure rather than choosing definitions based on your own values, you can’t become truly successful and happy because you are forced down a path that is, for most people, impossible to attain and that is not truly yours. You may become successful in the eyes of society, but you probably won’t feel like a success yourself. And this path certainly won’t bring you meaning, happiness, or real success in your life.
By understanding where your values come from you are empowered to make your own values choices. You decide which value or set of values you want to employ in your life. The Mentors Books series was created to help you construct a set of values that you choose for your own life.