Do you know how to create value?
Or are you thinking: "I don't make things, so I can't create objects of value"?
Or maybe you work in a paper mill, and think that you don't create the same value as someone who makes jewelry out of precious metals and gems.
How do we define value, anyhow?
Is it cash value? Is it emotional value? Is it something else?
For most of us, value depends on our perspective.
What if I were to tell you that it is the value you see in the world around you that motivates you; that it is the value you place on being smarter, or getting healthier that keeps you engaged in learning or working out at the gym or with your personal trainer. Or maybe, when you were a kid, it was the value of not being punished that encouraged you to do your homework, or clean up your room. Your best friend may be working hard to achieve a promotion because she sees the value her ego will derive from the recognition the change in title will bring, while your cousin wants his promotion because he sees value in what the pay raise will allow him to buy.
You will act in accordance with what you believe will bring you value. If you promise your spouse or significant other that you will exercise every day, but deep in your soul, you do not see the value in it, or you value more the extra half hour you can spend in bed in the morning, then it is unlikely that you will ACTUALLY do what you said you would do. This explains why so many of us make New Year's resolutions that fail. We simply don't see and feel the value in them. We chose them because we felt we should......lose 10 pounds, get healthier, achieve work-life balance, save money, and so on. [The whole concept of the word should will be the topic of another post....]
So, why did I use the photo of a newborn infant in a post about value? Because, according to the science of Formal Axiology, a baby represents infinite value. This baby, to me, has even more value than a generic baby because it is a photo of one of my grandsons. When I look at the photo, I feel the warmth of unconditional love, and I smile. Not just one of those perfunctory smiles, but a real, open, honest, true smile that you can see in my eyes and my body.
Even though I studied philosophy in college, I had never heard of Formal Axiology, nor its creator, Robert S. Hartman, until this past spring. Hartman was a philosopher, mathematician and lawyer who applied scientific/mathematical principles to the philosophy of value assessment and value creation. He discovered the universal laws of axiology, and what is now known as the Hartman Value Profile (HVP) which can assess how closely a person's valuations match the universal laws. He did this through a sequence of mathematical equations that I am not going to describe here (because I could never do them justice). His efforts were recognized throughout the 1960's and he was nominated for the 1972 Nobel Peace Prize because of this work. Unfortunately, he died in 1973. His work has been adopted in many professional settings; initially in psychology and sociology, and more recently in coaching.
Wait a minute!! Are you confused?
You are not alone. Even though I started this post by talking about how we may each see different value in the same thing (like a promotion, for instance), now I am saying that there are universal laws governing what has more value than something else. How can that be?? And, more importantly, what difference does it make?
Well, here is the secret. While we may perceive value differently from our best friend, cousin, boss, spouse, or sister, the formal hierarchy of value exists. We are happiest when we act in accordance with that hierarchy. We are less happy when a misperception of value gets in our way, and causes us to think in a biased way. Most of us have developed habits of mind that are related to one or more biased thought patterns. Our mind depends upon its habits, or shortcuts, to work rapidly and efficiently. And at some point in our lives, these biased habits created apparent value for us, but now, they may not reflect reality and so they interfere with our happiness, and the ability to reach our true goals. They may even cause us to misperceive what are goals are.
OK, so how does any of this relate to Creating Value?
Well, ever since I learned about axiology, and the related application of axiology and neuroscience to coaching, which is called Axiogenics (or Neuro-Axiological Cognitive Remodeling Technology [NCRT]), I have been working hard at learning how to create more value in the world. It is relatively simple, but it is NOT easy.
Every day, when I rise, I ask myself what is known as The Central Question:
"What choice can I make, and action can I take, in this moment, to create the greatest net value?"
I also remind myself about what I know of how I perceive value--where do my value perceptions coincide with and where do they diverge from, the universal hierarchy of value, and I focus on ways that I can take actions that will support the creation of the greatest net value.
The term greatest net value means value created in the short- and long-term, for yourself and for others, considering all the positive and negative effects that your action is likely to have.
I am now using a version of the Hartman Value profile, known as the Axiogenics Value Quotient (VQ) assessment to help my clients learn how some of their perceptions may be biased, and, more importantly, to learn how to use areas of strengths (where their perceptions are clear) to help them meet their goals, and live a happier, more value-genic life.
If you would be interested in finding out your own VQ (value judgment quotient), I invite you to take the free assessment here, and then schedule a time to discuss the initial results in a free consultation (a link to my calendar will appear when you submit your assessment). I hope you find as much value in this process as I have.
We have a lot more to talk about over the next few posts, since it is impossible for me to do justice to the entire field of Axiogenics and value creation in one brief post. Let me know if you find this interesting. Let me know what questions you have, and I will do my best to answer them in future posts.