Introduction It is becoming increasingly clear as crystal that those who still live by the age-old values of honesty and integrity, non-violence, of helping others at all times, and being good to others can make a huge difference. In this connection, there are some vital steps that one should take. These steps are a) have big goals for values b) associate with like minded people c) walk the talk d) inspire others through action and e) be always consistent.
Have Big Goals for Values Years ago, when the MSW degree syllabus at the prestigious Loyola College, Chennai, was simply zapping me, a highly disciplined hard-worker told me this: just do two things. One, don't give up. Two, reduce your sleeping hours. He saw my surprise and shock. He did acknowledge that I was already putting in around thirteen hours of work, including the class hours. He simply said, take the bus towards Beach, come back refreshed, have dinner and lock yourself up in your room, working for eight hours at a stretch, with a gap of just fifteen minutes after four hours.
It worked. Though my sleeping hours were so less, I somehow found the enthusiasm to not give up. We did have four drop outs who found the pressure too much. I stayed on. The course structure is like that. After the semester examinations, we had a few days holidays. I took off to my native village to spend all my time in solitude. When we are tough, the toughest times also pass. Subsequently, my association with others helped to frame these goals: (i) never ever harm anybody (ii) avoid short cuts (iii) accept any job (iv) do not give up in any situation and (v) never ever cheat the Government.
To this day, I have tried my best to follow each of these goals. I have paid all taxes and declared every single pie I received.
Associate with like minded people In our value-driven journey, it is vital to associate with like minded people. Such people are those who are selfless and always do that small bit to the society. If we can do our small bit, we can still make the environment a better place to live in. For instance, many voluntary groups have now started humor clubs to simply take the pressure off.
Many voluntary societies constantly donate blood and help poor patients in Government hospitals. Many plant trees on their own. If you start doing any of these activities, you will have traveled a long way in the value seeking journey of life. Please do note, this is always a journey, not a destination.
In other words, it is not enough to say, "I have done it" at any stage. The scope is endless. New forms of making a difference are coming up too. For example, today, there are so many You tube videos on what to eat, what not to eat and the vitamins and proteins of every vegetable and so on. Even this is a huge difference in terms of values.
Similarly, there are a good number of NGOs who are doing excellent work in the area of adult education, awareness about AIDS, helping the local villagers to deepen ponds and likes and spread awareness about rain water harvesting. Even if you associate with any one of these as a volunteer, your journey towards formation and practice of very good values will simply take off. Also remember, you can even simply assist an elderly old man who is illiterate and does not know how to write a letter to his son. In fact, the joy in doing so cannot be described in words. By doing so, you would have developed the value of empathy and kindness. You would have also developed the value of just being human. Of course, you could do it only if you have time and you are on leave for whatever reason. Still, even such small gestures go a long way in making you value-driven, at least to the bare minimum extent. Please do realize, every small drop makes the ocean at any point in time. If you do something and motivate someone else to also do it, you have yourself been a leader in that sense of the word and the work that you had done.
The task of even thinking to do that small little extra does add up to your chunk of values over a period of time. These days, even a little information to the police officials about some anti-social elements indulging in some eve teasing of girls, is a big step in the right direction. This will help you to get the value of caring for very young girl children.
The scope of doing something like this for the society is so large that only collective efforts will make a huge difference to the environment in which we live. You can associate with big organizations and get involved in their social projects that they are now doing, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. For example, the huge organization called WIPRO is doing commendable service to so many Government hospitals and schools. You could also collect some donation from the local people and supplement such efforts. There are some good individuals who have taken a lead. A few computers donated to Government schools through the specific efforts of some individuals has helped the big social organizations like the Lion's Club to also chip in and get things organized in this fashion.
There are some ongoing efforts by many social organizations and if you can take personal interest, you can do your bit too. At the end of it, you would have built a good base for value-driven attitudes and behavior on your part.
Walk the talk All your hard work in making yourself and shaping yourself as a very value driven person will come to naught if you do not walk the talk, that is, practice what you preach. In other words, the whole world should understand and appreciate your efforts and work and acknowledge that you are a value driven person. Yes, this is huge hard work, but the effort is worth it.
You will realize the happiness that comes from small words of appreciation. People always like to interact with good people. If you have values that are well known to others, you will be able to make a huge difference in terms of your image. People will always look up to you for their well being. Your advise will also be sought in a big way. This is exactly what should be done. Just live your life in accordance with the values that you stand for.
Inspire others through action What happens when your actions match your values? For example, helping others and reaching out to poor people in whatever little ways you can? People will acknowledge you and you will become famous. People will be inspired by whatever you do and the rub off effect on all others will help you understand that the world is just not about merely making money. Others will also follow you in getting something done. For instance, many voluntary groups are also doing their bit in cleaning up cities. These efforts are always based on values.
Be always consistent A single slip in your value-driven life is enough to pull you down. For instance, if your rail ticket is still wait listed, go by bus. Travel by even two buses by breaking journey. Never ever compromise on values. This will not only give good lessons for your family members and friends, but will also enable them to understand that you are not the person who will say something but do something different. This consistency will also make you happy.
Conclusion Leading value-driven lives is still possible. We can still make a big difference if we have the determination. Once we are sure about what values we are going to follow, it becomes even more easy to focus. We can do it and we should do it.
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The author has made an honest attempt to evoke goodness and remind people of the quality of life we should all lead. Leading a value-driven life is an individual effort and requires alertness and mindfulness on our part.
The author has discussed certain pointers to lead a value-driven life which we can take a lead from and try to implement such as helping others whenever possible.
In the end, the reality is different from idealism and as correctly put forth by the author, we will require some amount of determination to walk on the path of our chosen values.
Thank you Dipti. I have always tried my best to stick to the kind of values i have talked about. Yes, there are always short cuts. But never ever, for instance, have I bribed my way to get an out of turn railway ticket. I motivated my son to study so well. An ISB MBA is a huge plus. He always flies to the nearest cities. So, I guess we need to make sure we have the correct alternatives. Like my relatives who never ever buy property through unknown builders. They go for the best in class so that everything is pucca. It is well documented. Everything is so costly, but professional. I guess today, we have far more alternatives. I fight against use of plastics to the extent possible. I think I can always do this small bit.