Behaviors speak louder than values

By MG John Gronski, USA Retired

Behaviors speak louder than values

It is essential for one to identify their core values. Core values should number between about three to seven values. If everything is a core value, then nothing is a core value. It is important to go on an introspective journey and really gain an understanding of what one stands for in good times and in bad.

It is a good practice to factor our values into the personal decisions we make. If one does not know what their core values are it is impossible to factor values into the decision-making process.

Behaviors unveil values

Values are really something internal to our being. They are generally hidden from others. What makes our values transparent to everyone is our behavior. How we behave is really the litmus test of what our values are and what we stand for.

For example, is one identifies “service to others” as a core value and yet never volunteers in their community or goes out of their way to assist others in need, then service to others is probably not really a value. If “respect” is identified as a core value, yet that person is constantly speaking down to people and using sarcasm, then that type of behavior clearly represents a person who values “arrogance” and “disrespect” rather than respect for others.

Behaviors cannot hide

Behaviors cannot hide. They are seen by everyone. Our behaviors identify what we really stand for and what we really believe. Our values factor into our decisions which shape our actions. The proof of our values is really in how we behave.

I recommend taking an additional step after one identifies their core values. Take the time to write down what behaviors are associated with each value. This is a great way to help guide us in living a values-based life and it can help us self-assess.


Spend some time every week or so to look back and assess if through the interactions and experiences you have encountered your behaviors were consistent with the values they were supposed to represent. This is a great way to quantify what is otherwise a very qualitative metric. Doing this can help us become better citizens and leaders, something our world has always needed and will continue to need.

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