This area has the potential in being of positive assistance to anyone who wishes to take advantage of the research and tools provided herein.
If you are as convinced as we are of the value of values then please read on...
All of us are faulty
So take heart
"Let him without sin throw the first stone" is a famous biblical statement showing clearly how no human is perfect.
To feel bad over our errors is good, but to allow this to rob us of our self-esteem is unhealthy.
Everyone wants to feel he has value.
And the simple truth is, everyone has!
You have value!
Who are we?
A frightening journey
The first step to self-improvement is to know who you are and where you are so as to plan the way forward.
This can be a daunting task.
Questions we need to ask ourselves may be uncomfortable, but let's keep in mind that there can be no improvement without effort.
It has been said that the definition of insanity is expecting a different outcome by continuing to do the same old things.
To improve is to do things differently.
How much differently is in your control.
Too great a step and the effort will be self-defeating.
The recommendation is to make gradual and small yet sure steps forward. Affirmations are a powerful help. In fact, one must not attempt to "act" values, we need to adopt, as our own, these values, we must feel and be convinced of the rightness of values, before we " pretend" by " people-pleasing" acts.
Know how to implement each step then "jump in and feel the water"
Also we should know why we want to improve!
Perhaps the best way to start is to start.
We will use an example of a ficticious person and follow his steps as he goes through the stages...
Let's call him Pete.
A day of reflection
Pete was sick and tired of his life and the way he always seemed to get the muddy end of the stick.
He started drinking after he was fired from his sixth job, the bosses were all so stupid, they never realised he had problems at home and they should have been more understanding. He took time off to help his sickly mother and he "borrowed" stuff from the company to help buy medicine for her.
He had narrowly escaped going to prison on a technicality because of his habit of taking things that did not belong to him. He was lucky. Or so he thought.
Now he needed money to get alcohol because this was one way to cope with his troubles. He was so desperate that he decided to join a gang of robbers who promised him the good life.
That same day his mother died and he felt the whole world was against him.
He sat at her bedside, she was cold and staring up at the ceiling.
He started to cry uncontrollably, she had always expected him to be a good boy and he had let her down and now it was too late for changes, she would never know how much he tried to help her and be a better person.
Was Pete a bad boy?
Let's be honest...
Do you relate to Pete's good side? He was so focused on helping his sick mom that he chose to do what was wrong. This is better known as a paradox. Pete shows he is a caring person for his mom. Yet he is not showing a caring attitude for his duty to his employer, his only source of income.
Another way to describe Pete's behaviour is he used "selective" empathy. He was empathic when faced with his mom's needs but not so with his company's needs. We could say that his empathy was untrained or skin deep. We see how this self-cheating with a value backfires on you. Or as in the case of Pete and his jobs he was fired.
This scenario is common, and in order to benefit from value-based character we need to train our "inner" values. We must BE the value, not just wear it like a sunday school suit. If Pete had an INNER VALUE-BASED CHARACTER he would have been able to keep his job AND help his mom.
So what does Pete realise?
The first step to self-improvement
Whilst sitting at the bedside of his dead mom, he reflects seriously on his life-course. He sees himself as a loser, drifting from job to job then wanting to become a robber. Looking at his mom he understands that there is no such thing as an elderly robber, he is aware that robbers end up dead like his mom here or they land up in jail, iether way it was not a very good choice. But he does not know how to improve.
(ok here is the first step, be aware of your need to change)
He is unhappy with life and is starting to realise that he is the cause of it all. Everyone of us has a choice, BE value-based, or be shallow! One leads up the road of prosperity, the other down the road of frustration.)
The sooner we come to the realisation that WE are responsible for own lives and that others are not to blame the sooner we can make progress toward a more rewarding life.
Pete climbs aboard
The second step is tricky...
Now that Pete is convinced there is a problem and that he is it, he needs to make a decision.
At this point it is make-or-break!
He can do one of two things, feel sorry for himself and retreat, like he did when he was a sniveling little kid, or he could be manly, courageous and turn his life around for the better by making a decision to improve.
Pete runs his lifestyle through his mind a few times and keeps coming to the same conclusion, it was pathetic, that is why he was always in trouble and losing his jobs.
So Pete does what most courageous men do, he walks over to the phone and dials for help from...
Time for action!
Pete gets his hands dirty
At this point Pete is sitting at his table deep in study over a book on how to develop character, many of the words he does not understand and has to keep referring to a dictionary, but this is part of the improvement process.
In a few weeks Pete finds himself in the company of new friends. One of them is so impressed with the things Pete is learning he asks if he can join Pete on a regular basis. This little group starts to grow into more than 12 guys all who want to improve themselves.
Before long they volunteer to help at a local soup kitchen to help others who are in need.
Pete is truly happy, he is finding that being of service to other people, rather than robbing them is giving him a grand purpose in life.
When Pete walks home now, his neighbours always smile and offer their help to him if he wants it.
Pete cannot believe how pleasant these people are, whereas before they used walk away when they saw him coming, now they want to help him.
It finally dawns on him that this is what the lessons in the books have been teaching all along, people of character are attractive and respected.
In for the long run...
Setting new goals and plans
One of the lessons has been stressing the point to make goals and set a plan.
Pete decides he wants to be a mechanic like his uncle, who always seems to have money and nice things.
His plan is to ask his uncle if he can work in his garage and learn how to fix cars.
With goal set and plan made Pete once more picks up the phone.
"Uncle Charlie, this is Pete, I really want to be a mechanic, I have made up my mind. Can you organise to get me a job there where you work?"
"Sure Pete, I hear your values group is doing real well I am also hearing good reports about you, I am sure my boss will be able to help you out"
Pete then makes a new goal to save enough money to buy his own car and sets a plan to draw up a budget that will allow him to do it.
In the meantime Pete continues to meet with his group of cool values friends every week. This has helped him maintain his determination to be a valuable person in the community and remain happy and prosperous.
What do we get from Pete's story?
In short order...
Every person has good in them, often this is overdone in one area of their lives and lacking in another. Pete was no different!