Personal values and the ethical, theoretical frameworks
A value can be defined as a philosophy, belief, principle, or mission that is significant to an individual, group of people, or organization. It is what we regard as significant beneficial or worthy which is to be esteemed highly (Quatro and Sims, 2008, p. 102). Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, each person has a set of personal values that define them, their character, and how they do things. Values can either be the most commonly known aspects such as punctuality and belief in the industry to more psychological aspects such as self-reliance, being purpose-driven, and caring for others.
A close examination of famous persons shows how these people used personal values to emerge at the top, in their fields. Besides individuals, institutions and organizations have values that define their operations (.Information Resources Management Association International Conference, 1992). The scope of this paper is on personal values. Examples of personal values are simplicity, progress, hard work, accountability, discipline, creativity, decisiveness, responsiveness, respect for others, loyalty, reliability, gratitude, faithfulness, generosity, openness, communication, and charity, among numerous others (Posner, 2011, p.1). According to the website- Be the Dream (2011), other personal values include commitment, responsibility, and the ability to keep promises.
There are ethical theories that guide the path taken by personal values. For instance, we have ethical egoism and utilitarian theories. The essence of ethical egoism is to maximize the individual’s outcome on the platform of self-interest. It revolves around that which will be for the individual’s happiness and wellbeing (Hollinger, 2009, p. 25-26). On the other hand, utilitarianism is an ethical theory that emphasizes the community and the effects of actions should maximize the usefulness or utility. It focuses on social relations and is thus the best way of addressing moral theory. My values that are consistent with utilitarianism include concern for others and communication. On the other hand, those that are consistent with ethical egoism include decisiveness and personal growth. This essay will attempt to explain how each of these personal values is consistent with the respective ethical theories.
Personal values consistent with ethical egoism
First, I value decisiveness. This is a truly essential principle since it guides my decision-making process. Life presents us with almost every opportunity, through which a decision, of some sought, ought to be made. I have been making decisions ever since I was at the age of accountability. Making a sound decision requires the decision-maker to see the consequences of making such a decision.
I have had to make decisions regarding who should be my friends, which course to pursue in college, which career to venture into, the places to visit, the time for shopping, movies to watch and those I should not watch, the fashions to be embraced and those the non-useful ones, among many other areas in life. Decision-making is a life-long process. I have always delighted in making decisions that will be of significant benefit to me, those that will not bring me any regrets, and those that will make me grow, as an individual. The decisions I make emanate from my self-interest. They should be those decisions that will make me happy that I made them, several years afterward. This value makes sure that I am happy and enriches my well-being, which is the key basis of ethical egoism.
The second personal value is personal growth. This value helps me invest in personal development by engaging in activities that enhance it. Aspects of personal growth include physical, mental, social, and spiritual growth. To grow in the physical dimension, I engage in physical exercises. This, I do almost daily. I believe, by being physically strong; I will be able to undertake my daily chores, with success. It will also boost my immune system.
The second element of personal growth is the social aspect. Meeting new friends is one of my hobbies. Being acquainted with their cultures and different ways of thinking, always make me develop different means of coexistence. It makes me feel more accepted in society that eventually boosts my self-esteem.
The third aspect of my growth value is that of mental growth. I aspire to grow mentally in the same proportion as my physical, social and spiritual growth. Mental growth does not only result from learning and reading, but also from interacting with people with challenging perspectives. I treasure mental growth because it makes me a skilled problem solver. This is besides keeping me alert and informed all the time. In addition, there is spiritual growth that builds my faith, hope, and character. Engaging in spiritual disciplines helps to inculcate a strong character that adds a lot to my wellbeing.
Personal values consistent with utilitarianism
According to utilitarianism, the best action is one that will benefit most of the people (Kyriacos, et al, 2008, p. 30). My first personal value that is consistent with this theory is a concern for others. Most people like being excessively preoccupied with their selves. Being individualistic is not healthy. Being concerned about oneself makes me happy but I am happiest when I allow myself to be lost in the aspirations, thoughts, and feelings of other people.
Being concerned about other people often requires me to mind their welfare, exercise kindness and tolerance towards them and listen with silence and attention to their own opinion. I try not to be judgmental to them and, in my interactions with them; I try my level best to be open enough and accommodative to their perspectives and lines of argumentation. This requires me to show genuine empathy and concern to them when we meet. Through this, most of them prefer being in my company since it makes them happy, fulfilled, and encouraged. I realize, being mindful of others is one of the best ways to improve their self-worth and make them feel powerful. This is consistent with the utilitarianism ethical theory.
The second personal value in line with utilitarianism is communication. Communication is one of the effective tools to break away from your cocoon and let other people feel appreciated and valuable. According to the Information Resources Management Association, communication helps to create confidence among members of a given organization. As a person, who interacts with several people at school, at home, and in society, communication is among my central values. Communication strengthens my relationship with friends and relatives. This helps solve conflicts (Collins and O’Rourke, 2008, p. 5). It also helps me relate well to authority.
I always purpose to offer both a listening ear and pieces of advice to those who may need it. People go through different situations, some of which could be overwhelming. Not all may show the willingness to be open and share with me what they are going through. It depends on how close I am to them. It is sometimes out of communicating with people in a highly concerned manner that makes them open up. After opening up, they disclose more which can help me figure out a way of advising or encouraging them.
Be the Dream, 2011. ‘Values, Morals and Ethics – Personal Ethics and Life’. Be The Dream: Mould possibilities into reality.
Collins, S. and O’Rourke, J. 2008, Managing Conflict and Workplace Relationships, Amazon: Cengage Learning.
Hollinger, D., 2009. The meaning of sex: Christian Ethics and the moral life. Illinois: Baker Academic.
Information Resources Management Association International Conference, 1992. Emerging information technologies for competitive advantage and economic development: proceedings of 1992 Information Resources Management Association International Conference. Pennsylvania: Idea Group Inc. Print.
Kyriacos, et al., 2008. Fresh Perspectives: Fundamentals of Nursing. Cape Town: South Africa.
Posner, R. 2011. The Power of Personal Values. Web.
Quatro, S. and Sims, R., 2008. Executive ethics: ethical dilemmas and challenges for the C-suite, NY: Information Age Publishing.