What Values are in the Why?

Every decision that has ever been made, began with a Why.

Every action that has ever been taken, began with a Why.

PDF: What Values are in the Why

Audio of this post:

Sometimes we are unaware of the Why.
Sometimes we misunderstand the motivating Why.
Sometimes we deny the real Why.

Yet, there is always a Why.

To be more clear, there are always Whys. Seldom is there a single Why.

Whys can be either simple or complex.

Example of a Simple Why:

I shave in the evening. Why? I want my wife to snuggle with me. It’s gonna be dark, she won’t see my face. By morning my beard will have sprouted again. What’s the use? Snuggle is more likely when I have a clean-shaved face.

Example of a Complex Why:

I’m writing this article/post. Why? I have made a decision to operate a blog. I can’t have a blog unless I write posts.

After reading and studying, and trying different frequencies of writing, I chose a once-weekly schedule – Tuesday mornings.

In order to have time for research, reviewing, editing, finding or creating a photo companion that fits the post, uploading to my website, check of appearance, SEO, scheduling for publication – even Thursday is late.

I’m home-alone on Thursday mornings. Perfect writing opportunity.

If I run into obstacles, I still have the week-end. If I wait until Monday, whatever I have will have to be used.

I’ve made a public commitment to my readers, my family, myself, my former students, my Facebook Friends – myself.

I know, I already listed me. But a personal promise is weightier than some others. True to myself is BIG.

This endeavor is my opportunity to pass on to another generation, to another audience, to my legacy – what I have learned, how I have learned, from what I have learned – my life speaking from the podium of a technological classroom, pulpit, stage, radio broadcast.

What if – unknown to me – somewhere, someone is in desperate need of the ideas, instruction, promises – hope that I create with my life and my efforts. I may never know. But I can dream. I can create. I can offer my 70 years of partnering with life. Listening, watching, experiencing, continuing to run the race, falling, stumbling, standing up again, gaining knowledge and understanding and wisdom. Elder Wisdom.

If it is not shared, if it is hoarded, if it remains silent, it is gone when I am gone.

Why used to be straight-forward.

“That’s the way the Roberts men do.”
“That’s the way it’s always been done.”
“Because I said so.”
“So you can eat supper.”

And the thing gets done.

Hoe 5 acres of corn.
Harvest 5 acres of cucumbers for the pickle factory.
Walk 3 miles to school.

Because it had to be done.

Tired? Of course!
Hungry? You bet!
Did that matter? No!

Sometimes it was about what not to do.
“Don’t touch my radio!”
I didn’t. Why? Because Dad said not to.

Some decisions are made because it is the most practical option.
Some Whys satisfy an emotional need.
Some Whys gratify an ambition.
Some Whys are directly connected to a talent or skill that you have developed.

There are good Whys:
Charity, Compassion, Love, Citizenship, to make something better for yourself or someone else, to earn money to meet personal and family needs…

There are bad Whys:
Greed, Selfishness, Revenge, Hate…

Good Whys produce good emotional results.

Whys always come from a value system deep inside a person.

Those values have settled in over the years of growing up and getting educated. Home, school, church, and government combine to promote certain values within society.

Justice, Liberty, the Rule of Law. Those are values at the very core of American society.

Core Values operate best when they are known, when they are spelled out.

But, even when they are not knowingly part of decision-making, they still are present and involved.

There are many websites and services that will assist you to discover your Core Values.

Core Values Link 1 Here.            Core Values Link 2 Here.

Know your Core Values and use them to simplify decision-making.

You probably will have 4 or 5 in your list.

Make a poster of the list and put one in your home and where you work.
You will eventually have them memorized just from frequency of use.

When you have a decision to make, check your Core Values and evaluate the options. Stay true to your values.

After your Core Value list is completed, list your whys for a particular decision or option.
Attach one or more of your Core Values to each Why. Keep a written Journal of this process.

If you are married or have a family, include them in this process.

Knowing your Core Values is still important – maybe more so than in times past.

When you make a decision based on Core Values and someone (like a child) asks Why? You have a concrete answer – your Core Value.

My Core Values are:

Worship – I answer to a Higher Power for the use of my talents and opportunities.
Excellence – Do it to the best of my ability or don’t do it at all.
Integrity – Live the principles I profess. Do what I say I will do.
Respect – Treat others as I wish to be treated. Value life. Be compassionate.
Teamwork – Be an active member of the team; recognize the team’s accomplishments.
Innovation – Find and use new ways, new ideas, new knowledge.
Joy – Life is good, embrace it; focus on the good, the beautiful.
Service – Do for others who need help.

I applied my Core Values in the decisions I made in the Complex Why narrative above. If you are unsure how each provides guidance in my examples, send me a Comment or email.


Let me know if this article makes you think.

Do you think it is important to know your personal core values?

What impact would it have on a business if its core values were posted for all customers to see?

Send your list of core values to me. Comment about your experiences in deciding on your list.

Is there a Personal Development topic that you would like for me to research and write about?

Perhaps you would like to guest post on my blog. If so, contact me eldon @ eldonroberts.com

Comment or email me to let me know your response to this post.