Following a certain well-defined set of Principles and Virtues has the effect of shaping our behaviors and our individual code of conduct. It allows us to become consistent in thought, word and deed. By honoring our core values we are also able to experience fulfillment. Knowingly making the choices which are in line with our values is internally rewarding even if not externally beneficial. For example:
You find a wallet at the park. Inside the wallet is several hundred dollars in cash. Also in the wallet is a drivers license identifying the owner of the wallet and the cash. You could easily take the cash and discard the wallet. No one else would know and you could use the money. However, many of your core values demand you return the wallet, with all its contents intact. Honesty, because you know the rightful owner. Honor, requires you to take action to uphold what you know to be true. Compassion, because the person who lost that wallet may be suffering because of it.
Returning the wallet will not bring you external financial gain, but it will bring you the internal fulfillment you experience with personal success. Following our core values is always a win, no matter the external results.
Honoring your core values strengthens your relationships with others. They will know you to be dependable and trustworthy. In our world, trustworthiness is the highest value currency. It’s something nobody else can take from you.
Without a set of core values, our behaviors are more reactive. This leads to erratic decision making that can be self-contradictory. We can live passionately, but should lead thoughtfully.