Values are different states of intentionality that when activated guide behavior and create meaning. When we practice, actualize, or embody our priority values we experience our lives as meaningful, significant, and important (Frankl, 1955, 1959).
'Meaning', not 'pleasure' is our main motivator. As we go through life, what has meaning brings change.
Values literacy matters because "the core or what has been called motivation is to value something. If we value something, we will go after it. So we do not need a concept of motives and motivation but what we need is a clear concept of values" ( Jaques&Clement, 1991, p.72).
Our Field of Meaning, top 34 values, define our unique developmental journey and potential for change. Values have five key characteristics.
Values as intentions
Values are different states of intentionality that when activated guide behaviour and create meaning. 'Intend-adapt' better describes human experience than 'stimulus-response'. Stimuli do not determine our actions. Our values determine our actions. Values are the different orientations we activate in 'search of' and in 'adapting to' a stimuli.
Values as priorities
When we are able to practice, actualize or embody our priority values, we are able to experience our lives as meaningful, significant and important. The inability to practice our priority values, leads to depression.
Values as dynamic set of choices
Values are formed in a 'rank order relationship' - one higher in importance than the other. The logic behind ranking of values follows rather intuition than deduction.
Values as expressed in language
Values manifest through a verbal and written language. When expressed verbally or in writing, values create an expectation that guides, impels and legitimizes a range of behaviour.
Values as self-awareness
We all use 'values self-awareness' to evaluate the appropriateness of our behaviour as well as other's. Fundamental to our sense of self is our inner dialog. Implicit in this dialog are value words that we use to reconcile our internal-external experience and awareness.