You watch an ant on the dining table. It will go down the leg of the table, cross the kitchen floor, climb up a vertical wall, crawl across the bench top to get to a drop of honey you accidentally missed when you cleaned the kitchen this morning. In equivalent terms, this is like one of us running a marathon for dinner tonight. It’s a miracle of nature. So far for what appears to be so little. But the ant has no choice, honey (sugar) is its highest value and it will do everything and anything to go get it. Including putting itself in danger.
We humans are just big ants, following our values too. We’ll do anything to fulfil them and we’ll do anything if we think we are not fulfilling them. Including sabotage. We sabotage anything we cannot link to our values, even if we never ever ever overtly learn what they are.
Our values cause our personality. When we’re born we don’t have an ego but after a few years we learn what gets us what we want and what doesn’t. We develop a personality, an identity based on getting what we want. Which is, our values met.
All human values are built out of an antidote to fear. We fear stuff, we fear too much of something or too little of something else. It’s spooky when we first arrive on the planet. All we know is somebody feels things, we can’t tell if it’s us or them, but there are fears and worries. Like a nervous mother on a flight will always end up with a crying babe on the flight. Some mums and dads fear their babe is going to cry on the flight. And the babe knows that. And does. It feels the fear.
So, we attach things to those values. For example: we might want to be safe. We might attach money to that value, or a partner, or success, or a home. Ultimately, we just value safe and we will give it to get it. Therefore, to know a person’s values, grab a camera and watch their behaviour for an hour. They’ll give what the want to get. That’s their dominant value. They might give people a hard time if they don’t get it right, so, that person’s values are self perfection and they want to be criticised, punished in a way, if they don’t get it perfect, which of course, they never do.
As the ant crawls up the wall to the honey, we crawl up people’s legs, for the money if we value the connection between money and our highest value. And we will sabotage a good job if we think it’s not paying us (highest value attachment) all to prevent feeling fear.
If a person is overweight, they don’t value food per se, they value what food does, what it gives them. And this is where it gets interesting. Our perception of what things give us is a pavlovian response, a habit that’s hard to break.
Let’s say a person drinks allot of alcohol. They think they have an alcohol problem. But that’s not exactly true. They are an ant, heading for the honey. Remember what I mentioned earlier, people sabotage anything that can’t link to their value. Alcohol is not the sabotage, very rarely, it’s the reconnection to authenticity. It’s the life they live sober that’s being sabotaged, they are being inauthentic in their daily grind and authentic with the alcohol. Upside down to what most people think. But that’s the ant.
I value love. Understandable given the loss of my mum within the first 30 months of my life. I have linked incredibly strange things to love, like sport and business, wealth and of course relationships. I sabotaged anything that didn’t bring love. It was a give to get dynamic. Even in sport.
Eventually, at the right time in life we learn a more evolved way of living our values. We learn how to connect anything and everything to our highest value. At that point in life instead of giving to get, we give to ourselves and give to others unconditionally. It’s a much smarter process but one has to be ready for it. And that readiness is well outside our own control.
Knowing your values remains a landmark exercise in personal development. Almost, the single most important awareness. It immediately gives you access to so many miraculous skills in the real world.