T Nation

Core Values


Today I'm taking a little time to contemplate my core values. I'm trying to work it out with myself right now and I thought that getting the input, ideas, and humor from T-Men and T-Vixens might be a good idea.

After writing down my values and trying to narrow them down to 5 core values, I'm not sure I have it right. So far I have (in order of importance):

1) Family (including Marriage)
2) Discipline
3) Education
4) Health and Fitness
5) Service

It is really hard to narrow these down and cut away things that I also think are important, like: community, compassion, open-mindedness, progress, hope, success, and especially wisdom (although I'm not sure if wisdom is a "value" or just something that comes with time, experience, and/or Grace).

Anyway, I hope this can start a good thread. What do YOU think? What are your core values?

PS Somewhat randomly, I found myself with more time than I had anticipated for the next 3 weeks or so. Having a little extra time, I decided to try to do something more useful than watching "Orange is the New Black" or reading another WEB Griffin book. So I found The Art of Manliness' "30 Days to a Better Man" series. This task was the first article in the series. I plan to follow this along with Shugart's "28days, 14 missions". Anyway, that's where this is coming from.


Here is a list of values from the art of manliness site:

Financial Security
Peace of mind


I believe there is only one true core value a man needs and that is Integrity. It is the foundation of life, imo.

  1. God includes Faith to me.
  2. Marriage
  3. Family (Children then immediate Family)
  4. Balance (Work and Play)
  5. Freedom

Gambit a lot of the topics on the List are pretty good.

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Community (Service to and growth of, charity, my business as service)
  4. Personal Growth and Education
  5. Health and Fitness
  6. Fun

Really hard to order, as every value is inextricably connected to every other, but God must come first, or there is no foundation upon which to rest all other values. I did not put Business as it's own category because I added it into the Community category. However, there's almost no way to separate Business from Family, as my business provides for my family, and my family is my business, in that my wife and I work together and spend almost every moment together. Number four and number five are also extremely difficult to separate from one another. Six is probably in its appropriate place, but if you're doing all of the other ones the right way, then life IS fun, and you don't even need to have it as a value of its own.

Good thread, as usual, GL. Thanks.


What do you mean by this? Are you talking about "be true to yourself" type of thing?


If you always do exactly what you say you will do, all values fall into place naturally.

Unless you are Ming the Merciless.



Darn, that's another good one that didn't make my list and probably should (somehow) be on there. Maybe it's not because I'm so poor at balancing things in general. hmmm... I want to think some more about it...

Good insights Cortes. You managed to get in "Fun"/balance as well... hmmm... I like your insights about it too. Perhaps that's how I should htink about it.

For me "disciple" is one of the hardest ideas to put into a word. I almost wrote "industry" and I think it's more-or-less interchangeable to what I mean. I have a strong value on using time wisely and not wasting it. I really beat myself up when I find myself wasting time. I don't necessarily mean "rest" as that is a part of life... but... hmmm... I'm not sure I'm getting across what I mean. I guess for me it's hard to know when I'm appropriately resting and when I'm just wasting time. I guess lining these things up might provide some answers. Really it gets back to "balance"... hmm...maybe if I add "education" to "discipline"... although that might be cheating a bit...


TC's take: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sex_news_sports_funny_grok/the_7_cowboy_values


I was going to say this as well. Nothing in life has any value if it wasn't earned with honor and integrity. Don't make yourself the hardest person in the world to live with.


It's something I feel strongly about, but it's hard for me to put into words. I'll try.

To me everything relies on integrity, which to me is defined as doing the right thing, for the right reasons, no matter who is watching, not watching, or what the consequences will be. Integrity = truth. Truth in a broad sense not just, "Oh it was me I did it," but internal truth almost akin to personal enlightenment. It's not always or often easy and it's both internal and external.

For example, you want to lose fat. Most people probably don't think about it, but you have to have integrity to do this. First you have to be honest with yourself, where you want to go, how to get there, your limitations, etc... You have to hold yourself to a certain standard, which relies even more on personal integrity.

Another example is living an honorable life. This one is easy. You can live like a gallant white knight saving damsels in distress all day/night long, but if you bed one of those damsels and your married, you have no honor. Cheating = breaking of vows = lying.

Everything in it's most basic form boils down to, "is it right," or, "is it wrong." If you live a life striving to be one integrity you will answer this question the right way, at least as best we very fallible creatures can.


Well said I would have to agree and say integrity is at the top of mg list


always appear good but know how to put a blade in someones back if it means you get closer to where you wanna be.

Only core value i have..misdirection


I thought it was SIIHP...


Integrity is the key. I did something good for the human race and not myself the other day, Mentally I feel good for it, physically i could you know bowchikawoowow and felt like an ass for ever. USMC has knowledge for sure.

  1. Honesty
  2. Loyalty
  3. Health
  4. Scientific Reasoning(Atheism)
  5. Human Progression
  6. Family and Friends

I agree Integrity is great value which I wish everyone would have.


Yep, integrity pretty much covers it. All the other values that get listed (important as they are) are meaningless without the integrity to hold true to them and follow through day in, day out.

If integrity is in place, the rest will follow.


I think my core values really boil down to the essence of what Nietzsche termed "master morality" vs. "slave morality".

I'm into master morality these days. Humility exists in people because it was forced onto them by those who are stronger. Humility then becomes a virtue in those who are forced to be humble because they have no source of pride, not because it is actually moral. My morality derives from results and consequences, not intent. If it is good for me, then it is good. If it is bad for me, then it is bad. If it is useful to society in general it is not necessarily moral. If it is bad for society in general, it is not necessarily immoral. I create my own morality and that which is immoral is simply the opposite of those values. So my core values are whatever advances my own cause, namely myself.

Life is a zero sum game. There are winners and there are losers, and the winners win to the direct detriment to the losers. That's just the way life is. Not everyone can be a winner since there have to be losers. So that which causes losers to exist and that which perpetuates them is not immoral at all. Rather than find sympathy or show pity for the losers in the world I'd rather do whatever it takes to avoid their plight. Whatever accomplishes this for me is moral and therefore the epitome of my core values.

Of course, tomorrow something really bad will probably happen to me and then I'll really be into the whole slave morality thing.


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John 3:16. Once we accept this and make it the most important point in our lives the rest will follow.