A FRESH LOOK AT YOUR PERSONAL VALUES

by Lars-Erik Wiberg,
Vice President, The Uses Trust Ltd.

NOTE: The eight personal values which follow comprise the family of interests which can be dominant, that is of greatest strength, in various individuals. Usually one or two, less often more, will be stronger than the others in a specific person. The terminology used here differs somewhat from the prevailing use of the term "values" (often confused with "virtues") in that it relates to personal interests rather than behavioral standards, in other words what individuals value most highly and not how virtuously they conduct themselves. Each and every value is of equal intrinsic worth in respect to the others in the sense that each is demonstrably useful and fulfills its own unique and constructive role in civilized society. Note also that all values can be learned and adopted to some degree, whatever the reason. The values described here are based on the WISTŪ system for identifying occupational compatibilities and are, as a result, natural to respondents in that they correspond to occupational strengths that have been identified. They may be considered basic values inasmuch as they are, like WIST, derived directly from basic principles.

Value 1 --- The THEORETICAL SCIENCE VALUE Refer to WIST Basic Profile A

There is a strong attraction toward forward looking theories and relationships and ways of thinking. It makes no difference whether these seemingly prescient thrusts toward the forefront of speculative thought can be put to immediate use; they are attractive for their own sake. Possible uses, however remote, are ample reason for interest and a potent stimulus for much effort. This value is, above all others, intellectually comfortable (and concerned) with the future and willing to invest considerable time in speculation on it. One observes many seemingly diverse interests which are to be expected in view of a fundamental knack for integrating apparently unrelated knowledge and information. As we see in WIST, this is a blue sky area of thinking which tends to generate principles and in which hunch-playing is such a strong ingredient as to merit encouragement. Intuition is thus a key component. One potential problem inherent here (although it creates abundant activity for others) is that this sort of insight produces wide conceptual gaps the filling of which is of no particular interest to those who share this value.

Value 2 --- The APPLIED SCIENCE VALUE Refer to WIST Basic Profile B

The accent is on scientific inquiry and objective experimentation, usually with a fairly specific end in view which may or may not have withstood the test of practicality. However, there is a reasonably clear intellectual purpose or prospective application in mind. Obviously, this is the more applied aspect of speculative thought; nevertheless, it retains a strong theoretical component. It includes design and, usually, construction of esoteric experimental apparatus. There is a strong emphasis on and interest in analysis and a sort of reining-in of intuitive hunch-playing. Interests are still characteristically inductive and diverse. However, they are followed up with increasing care because of the applied ends in view and the resultant need to sift and discard certain areas of investigation which, although intriguing, miss the sought-for mark. Wherever theoretical values produce conceptual gaps, applied values help to fill them largely through experiments that lend themselves to replication. It appears that a complete scientific research package can not be produced without contributions from both value orientations. This applied-value type of thinking is strongly strategic and oriented toward future planning, a frame of mind that is essential for the design (if not the actual construction) of sophisticated experiments and objectives both of which share the characteristic of having to be thought all the way through with great care.

Both the Theoretical Science Value and the Applied Science Value may be thought of as being "Insightful". As sources of invention they produce things that never existed before in any form. They also produce new ways of seeing how the universe works or, what is the same, describe and interpret it by means of highly confirmed theories.

Value 3 --- The ENGINEERING VALUE Refer to WIST Basic Profile C

Here rigorous, logical, methodologies are applied to practical ends and uses by means of proven knowledges and techniques. Whereas the prior values were inductive, and the outcome somewhat vague, we see now the domain of deduction and analysis with a concrete, realistic goal clearly in mind. If the values of applied science (and they include research applied to problems in engineering) are to bring into existence things hitherto unrealized, the values of engineering are to create ever better examples of things with we which we are already familiar to at least some extent. Such things can include not only physical entities such as bridges and dams but also ways of doing things such as systems and laws. The main ingredients of the value always involve sophisticated practicality achieving realistic ends and uses with admirable efficiency. This value provides the underpinning for much technology and business in which proven approaches are chosen with care to accomplish concrete objectives. Thorough, logical analysis and informed selectivity are crucial in an environment where potential techniques or methods have become numerous enough that failure to comprehend subtle distinctions can be disastrous. The style of thinking inherent in this value is characteristically tactical. It is an outlook that determines what to do next, and with precision, in a world packed with ambiguity and equivocation.

Value 4 --- The ECONOMIC VALUE Refer to WIST Basic Profile D

This value stresses practicality supported by strong intellect and is especially well-suited to interests and activities that accent productivity and profit. Thus both the administration and the accumulation of financial wealth are particularly favored and of special interest. Here, the focus is notably strong on businesslike interests in general in which impersonal analysis and logical processes are applied to well-structured enterprises. There is no blue sky here! Matters are considered in a realistic, down-to- earth way in which the facts and figures hold center stage. This value is operation, production, and troubleshooting oriented. The capacity and willingness to be timely and dependable, the ability both to set and to stick with precise schedules, and a high level of comfort with efficient organization are all of great importance. Measurements of success carry much weight; they should be conferred as promptly as possible; and they should consist of tangibles of which money is an apt example. There is room for this value to flourish in organizations of widely varying size from the largest of corporations down to the smallest of entrepreneurial enterprises of the sort which, however, have some technological content.

Taken together, the Engineering Value and the Economic Value may be thought of as being "Systematic" and "Analytical" and of encouraging a high level of organization. The thinking is so logical and the practicality so concrete that, in combination, these values combine in a keen and thorough mindset that is responsible for much improvement and innovation among things that already exist in some form.

Value 5 --- THE INFLUENTIAL VALUE Refer to WIST Basic Profile E

Here we depart from the domain of Thought and its cool logic and enter that of Will and its warm feeling. Practicality remains uppermost, but now it focuses on individuals and such things as are important to them from the standpoint of their characters, desires and convictions. The Influential Value seeks to affect others based on depth of talent, quality of authority, or persuasive skills. This influence has as its primary objective some benefit for the person affected. It can be seen from the recipient's perspective in having been taught, coached, sold, informed, or even entertained. To be successful, this value must employ inducements that are expressed through effective presentation and deft performance. Anything less produces no influence! Getting something across to others which they will sense is of real benefit or help to them, and which is in no way inimical to their personal interests or exercise of free will, is at the heart of this value. There is much down-to-earth enjoyment, conviviality, collegiality, even epicurean delight, that is sparked here not only by an environment that includes learning, information, and fun, but also by respect for those who provide such benefits.

Value 6 --- The HUMANITARIAN VALUE Refer to WIST Basic Profile F

A deep interest in the welfare of others characterizes this value which emphasizes caring in a practical way. This is still a down- to-earth value, but unlike the Influential Value which placed practical persuasion first, this value relies on it to a limited extent while emphasizing strong personal convictions and a need to express goodness. Whereas Influential Values sought to benefit others, Humanitarian Values are more concerned with their betterment. Ready examples of this are seen in such hands-on techniques as the therapies. Other less intensely personal examples, although profoundly felt, exist in providing others with tangible products as well as personal services that display characteristics of good design or style as well as craftsmanship. This value couples an interest in improving the lot in life of others with the skill of the adept artisan. Knowledges and proficiencies that have a realistic foundation are directed toward both the personal development and the enrichment of others, and an overall improvement in their societal situation or physical condition or both.

As a pair, Values 5 & 6 can be considered "Social", including familial. They help to make society fit to live in through practical efforts that have a characteristic air of social or family responsibility. There is much nurture, interpersonal support and benevolence evident throughout. People care for and about one another comfortably and enjoy each other's company.

Value 7 --- The AESTHETIC VALUE Refer to WIST Basic Profile G

Imagination now starts to play an important role. Its effect, in a movement away from practicality, is still to produce a kind of concern with the human condition, but to satisfy it primarily through inspiration. The emphasis of the previous value on practical betterment is now shifted in this value to a less utilitarian and more abstract product. Humanity is still to be served; however, this type of service will involve grace and beauty, and will embrace art in all its forms. There is great concern here with the meaning of it all, to the extent that it admits of being disclosed in a reasonably palpable fashion. Putting it another way, there is less of the quality of numinosity here than in the following value, although the presence of such a quality is sure to be detected in some degree. In the striving for meaning and grace and beauty, and ways to express them, there is not only the element of hands-on production, but also that of criticism and arbitration of taste. This does not mean that good taste is confined to this value because, generally speaking, it is not peculiar to any of the values. Indeed, this value produces much that can be considered to be in poor taste. When Emile Zola instructed us that, "Art is life seen through a temperament" he -- wisely perhaps -- omitted any reference to the worthiness of the temperament involved.

Value 8 --- The RELIGIOUS VALUE Refer to WIST Basic Profile H

This realm of ardently felt intangibles, of intuition supported by desires and convictions, produces theological and philosophical frames of mind. These can take effect within the individual as strong impulses, quite apart from anything even faintly resembling logical processes, toward this or that motivation, action, or belief. External evidence of this value is abundantly displayed in doctrines and creeds and non-scientific laws. Further evidence abounds in the questioning of such dogma by adherents in other persuasions. Personal spiritual experiences are natural to this value which, together with the Aesthetic to some extent, are most likely their chief source. Within this value, aesthetic pursuits can be elevated to near religious stature. There is an enormous amount of glorious painting, sculpture, music, literature, and architecture that attests to this. The Religious value, with its intuitive basis and wealth of feeling, produces great numinosity, especially when conjoined with the artistic strengths of the Aesthetic Value. Of course such powerful feeling arises spontaneously from religious experience, as for example in meditation, whether or not such experience is mediated by the arts. Individuals of any dominant value can be either religious or philosophical or both, depending upon their capabilities and circumstances. However, individuals in whom the Religious Value dominates can not escape its profound influence. They will almost certainly, at some time or another, adopt a clearly discernible standpoint that allows this value to shine forth, if not in religious terms, then philosophically. Take atheism as an example; it is hardly a religion but is surely a philosophy.

Taken together, Aesthetic and Religious Values may be thought of as "Inspirational". They have an unmistakable spiritual component. They display enormous power and uncanny, pervasive influence. These values are based in the most deeply rooted aspect of one's self; they are hard to grasp even by those for whom they are easy to feel. Out of their influence come products of great originality and timeless beauty that help to give purpose and meaning to life.

IN CONCLUSION

Each member of this family of eight basic values hews closely to its parent Sector from A through H. You will, of course, observe in practice that nobody espouses one value to the exclusion of all the others. We are all a mix of values, and that we are can be seen in our WIST Profiles which are themselves a mix of strengths each of which favors its specific value in accordance with its influence. Although we will all personally favor one or two values more greatly, we will not be immune to the desirability of the other values. We may even learn to appreciate with some felicity those which neighbor the ones we call our own. The merits of each value can be perceived by anyone for the reason that they are all so observably human. However, none of us can really take to heart those that are too far removed from our own WIST Profiles.

Copyright © 2009, Lars-Erik Wiberg