Invest In Yourself
About Lesson

I Just Want To Be A Good Person

I want to be a good person. What does that mean? 


That all depends on your specific definition of good. And, if you were to describe to me what your definition of good is it might differ from mine, whether slightly or wildly. The reason for this is that good is a reflection of your values. 

If someone values their family above all else, then their idea of being a good person will revolve around building that family and spending time with them. If someone values money over everything else, then their idea of being a good person might be building their wealth. The point is that we all see things differently because our experiences shape us and determine the values, we hold dear. 


It is impossible to have a conversation about self-improvement and self-investment without first discussing values. You can’t just hope to grow or aim to be a better person. You have to first define for yourself what growth looks like and what it means to be a better person. How do you personally define a good or better person? Getting to the bottom of that will help you determine the direction in which you wish to grow. If you don’t do that first… well, you’re in trouble.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize just how important their values are, overall or to the self-improvement process. A lot of people instead focus obsessively on feeling good or finding happiness. What they fail to recognize is feeling good won’t mean a thing if their values aren’t in order. If your biggest value is using a swirly straw to drink through a bottle of wine every night, then you will feel better temporarily and make your life worse as a result. 

The wrong values mean you’re living the wrong life. I’m not here to tell you which values good or which values are bad. I’m not here to tell you which values will work for you and which values won’t. By doing that I might unconsciously try to push my personal values onto you. 


That is the opposite of what should be happening here. You need to get honest with yourself to determine your values. It isn’t just about what values are, but it’s about how you find out what your values are, why they’re important to you, and what the consequences are for ignoring them. 

If you want to live the right life for you, then you need to know your values. It’s as simple as that. 

You Live By Your Values

Whether you realize it or not, you constantly make decisions from moment to moment every single day of your life. You choose how to spend your time, what to put in your mouth, what comes out of your mouth, what you should pay attention to, where your energy will go, and even the thoughts that run through your mind. You also make a conscious decision to read this lesson. 

There are countless other things you could be doing with your time, but you chose to focus on this. Maybe you’ll be interrupted thirty seconds from now when your phone chirps with a notification, maybe you’ll decide you need something to drink and stop reading to wander to the kitchen.


When distractions arise, you make a simple decision laden in values. You decide that notification is of more importance than the information in this lesson. You choose to prioritize a beverage instead. 

Your values are reflected constantly by the way you behave. 

This is important because it’s easy to say you think this and value that, but we often fail to back that up through our actions. 

I can tell you until my face turns blue that I am passionate about climate change, but if you see me driving around town in a Hummer it’s not going to have any impact on your climate change opinions. 


I can swear down dead that social media is killing us, but if I only use social media to put that message out and I constantly scroll my newsfeed and update my accounts constantly, my actions are telling an entirely different story. 

I can tell you that I value honesty, but if I tell lies than I am hypocrite. 

You believe you want that job, but when it comes right down to it you have never felt more relieved about no one getting back to you. 

You tell your partner you miss them desperately and can’t wait to see them, but you choose dinner with your friends instead of dinner with them. 


Your actions do not tell lies.

The Disconnect

A  lot of people are guilty of stating particular values to cover up their true values. We worry about others judging our actual values and make up those that sound far greater or more purposeful. It sounds innocent enough, but by doing this it becomes a way to avoid rather than face up to who we are. You lose yourself by chasing an idealized version of you that you’re not even really sure you want to become. 

To put it another way, you lie to yourself because you don’t feel comfortable with some of your values and therefore, you dislike parts of yourself. There’s a disconnect between reality and self-perception and that’s often when trouble knocks on your door. 

Your values are essentially an extension of who you are. They define you. When something great happens to a thing or person that you value, you feel good about it. Like, when the team you follow wins the championship, or your dad finally retires, or your partner gets a promotion. Even though they didn’t happen to you, the fact that these positive things happened to people or things you valued, they feel great for you too. 


The opposite can also be true. It feels good when something bad happens to things or people you don’t value. For example, many British people threw parties and celebrated with champagne when Margaret Thatcher died. 

It may have seemed extreme to others, but these are people who lived through her terrible policies. If there’s a rival team that loses a big game, it feels good even though it has no impact on your life. It might seem evil or immoral to someone else, but for many, those are moral victories to celebrate. 

So, when you are disconnected from your values… 

Like, you claim to value hard work and ambition, but you spend your days off playing video games online. There’s a disconnect between those emotions and your actions. The only way to bridge that gap is to change or to remain delusion about the world/yourself. 


In the examples above you can see values and devalues in action. The same can be true of yourself. You can value yourself, but you can also devalue yourself. And, if you start to hate yourself with the same intensity as others hated Margaret Thatcher, then you may just be prepared to celebrate your self-destruction. This is why people who don’t fall into self-loathing cannot understand those who do. It’s the insidious idea that there is some part of self-sabotage and self-destruction that feels good, even if it is only in the darkest way. The person wallowing in self-loathing believes they deserve it when awful things happen to them because they feel morally inferior. They believe it’s a form of punishment. Karmic retribution. An ugly part of them seeks out the destruction in a bid to justify any misery they feel. 

We had massive self-esteem movements during the 70s and 80s and those were all about leaving self-loathing behind to instead embrace self-loving. People who truly love themselves don’t gain any satisfaction from sabotaging themselves. 

They get their satisfaction from practicing self-care, investing in themselves, and living their values. That’s what I want for you. Self-love is so important, but it isn’t enough on its own. But by practicing self-love and rooting yourself in your values, you make it much easier to love others too. 

You Are Your Values      

Eat, Pray, Love ignited a trend of women taking off to retreats all over the world to find themselves. The idea certainly wasn’t new. It’s something that has been happening for decades. That middle-class person who got a great job after getting a decent education and reaches mid-life and starts to panic about what their life has become. They take off for a week, a month, even a year, cutting off contact with the outside world to try and find themselves. 


Whether you have had the experience yourself, know someone, or just wished you could afford such an escape… I think we can all relate. At least, you should because what they’re really talking about, what they’re actually chasing is their values. They have realized that something isn’t right, that something doesn’t fit, and want to find new values or a new identity, which stems from values anyway. 

For the people who can afford to run away to do so, this is how the situation unfolds. 

They feel under pressure in their daily life. They are under large amounts of stress. Due to that, they feel as though they have lost control over their lives or the direction of their lives. They feel as though they don’t know why they do the things they do or even know what they’re doing at all. They start to feel like their decisions don’t matter or that their desires don’t count. 

They start to think they’d rather learn how to play the theremin and drink margaritas of an evening, but they can’t do that because the demands of work/family/romance/family, etc. are just too great. There’s an obstacle to them fueling their desires. 

So, they feel as though they have lost themselves. They feel they’re no longer navigating. They’re just being blown around the sea, directionless and out of control. So, the idea behind an escape is to remove themselves from the stress and pressure to recover and find themselves. 


It’s about gaining a sense of control back because once the stress and pressure are removed from the equation, they can call the daily shots without worrying about everything or everyone else. 

That sounds good, doesn’t it? By separating yourself from the force of daily life you also have an opportunity to gain perspective on the way life has been unfolding. You can look at your life and ask whether that is truly who you are, if that’s what you care about, if this way of living aligns with what you know of yourself. You see things that require change. You realize there are things you believe in and forgot to think about. You recognize that there are things you do that don’t positively contribute to your life. You start to build a new you. The new you isn’t really new at all, it’s simply you getting back in touch with who you are to construct the true you. 

When it comes time to return to civilization and live those values you have to be ready. It doesn’t matter where you go through the process, though! You can do it on an island, in the bed of your truck looking at the stars, in your bedroom, office, or at the dining room table. You don’t have to escape to a fancy retreat to adjust your values. All you need is perspective. 

Your values are fundamental to your identity. You define yourself by what you choose to classify as important. You define yourself by what you prioritize. When money matters above all, then money will define you. If you feel like crap about yourself and you constantly put yourself down because you don’t believe you deserve success or love, then that will define you as you are. Your words, decisions, and actions are what define you and those words, decisions, and actions stem from what you value. 

Any time you decide to change yourself what you are doing is reconfiguring your values. When you experience tragedy, it is devastating. Not just because you feel hurt and sad, but also because you lost something of value. When you lose enough things or people you value, you start to value life itself. Whether it’s after a string of breakups or your spouse died suddenly. 


Either way, that was a person and a relationship you valued and now both are gone. It’s crushing. And it makes you question everything about life, about who you are, about your own value, and about what you understand about the world. It creates the storm of an existential crisis and you no longer know what to think, feel, do, or believe. 

This doesn’t just happen after traumatic experiences. It is also true after positive events. There isn’t just the joy of achievement, there’s a question of what comes next. 

Why Some Values Are More Positive

I told you I wouldn’t tell you which values were bad or which ones were good, but I would still like to highlight why some values are most positive than others. How I plan to do that is by highlight what makes a value a good value. Because what is a good value for you might not be a good value for me and vice versa.

A good value is…

  • Constructive 
  • Evidence-based
  • Controllable

A bad value is…

  • Destructive 
  • Emotion-based 
  • Uncontrollable

So, when you are reviewing values you should use those points as guidance to determine whether it’s good for you or not. 

1| Evidence Versus Emotion 

Your emotions are valid. They are a natural response to the situations you experience. While they are valid and natural, they are not always factual. Your emotions are not rooted in truth. They’re simply a reaction. If you heavily rely on your emotions you are trusting in an unreliable source and it can be damaging. A lot of us rely on emotions far more than we realize.

We often make decisions and take actions based on our emotions rather than based on information, facts, or knowledge. In doing so, we center ourselves and often trade long-term benefits in exchange for short-term gain. 

When you’re caught up in this cycle you are effectively stuck on a treadmill where you need more constantly. The only way to jump off the treadmill is to consider the facts rather than your feelings. 

2| Constructive Versus Destructive 

This shouldn’t be too difficult to discern. The things you value should not harm you nor should they harm others. The things you value should enhance you, your life, and benefit others. The complicated part is understanding what spurs you to growth and what harms you. For example, you can take MDMA and claim it is improving your emotional growth. 


You could make that argument stick. But you shouldn’t need to take a drug to improve your emotional growth and by doing so you’re actively harming your body. Likewise, you can work hard at the gym to improve your body, but if you overdo it and become obsessive about it, it can harm you. Sex can be great for building your confidence, but if you embrace casual sex as a means to avoid relationships and intimacy it’s harming you. 

Unfortunately, the line between harm and growth can be blurry at times. Sometimes it isn’t about the value itself, but the reason why you value that value. For example, if you value karate because you like to hurt others with it, it’s a bad value. 

However, if you value karate because you want to practice self-defense, it’s a good value. It’s the exact same exercise, but the value is different. Sometimes, values are all about intentions and those intentions will determine whether a value falls into constructive or destructive. 

3| Controllable Versus Uncontrollable

If you value something outside of your control it becomes very easy to give everything up for it. Money is probably the easiest or biggest example. While you may have some control over the income you make, you don’t have total control over it. The economy can collapse. 

Your company could go under. You could be laid off due to budget gets. Your job could be erased by technology. If everything that you do is all for the sake of money you can love what you perceive to be your purpose for living when tragedy strikes and consumes that money. 


Money is a bad value because you cannot control money. What you can control, that still relates to  money, is your work ethic, industriousness, ambition, or creativity. Those are good values because you control them. Money is a side effect of living out those values. 

Healthy, controllable values include vulnerability, honesty, self-respect, humility, standing up for what you believe in, and curiosity. 

Unhealthy, uncontrollable values include manipulation, violence, self-centeredness, the desire to be liked by everyone, and money.

Find Yourself

Have you ever noticed how there are things your body does automatically until you pay attention to them suddenly? You breathe without a second thought until you’re focused on it. You automatically blink, swallow, and your heart does not need a reminder to beat. You don’t generally pay much attention to your values until someone starts talking about values. 

While some people may run away to find themselves, the majority of us remain trapped on the treadmill, forever running, never thinking about why you bother. There are questions to ask yourself that will help you find yourself and define your values. 


Your personal values should serve as a measuring stick. The measuring stick you use to determine what a successful, meaningful life looks like. 

1| What I Believe A Meaningful, Successful Life Looks Like

When you close your eyes, do you see yourself with a house filled in children and friends? Do you see yourself sashaying down a red card answering media questions? Do you see yourself piloting a helicopter? Do you see yourself contributing to your community? How would you define a successful, meaningful life? 

Do not judge yourself for the vision you create or how you answer the question. There will be time for that later. Just take it as it is and know it’s important that you allow yourself the vision of what you genuinely desire. When your vision is clear you can move on to the next question. 

2| From That Life I Imagined, What Is It That Appeals To Me? What Is It That I Want?

Are you drawn to sashaying a red carpet because it would make you look cool or because it provides a good paycheck? Or are you simply interested in the attention that comes with it? When you ask yourself why you want the things you want it helps you identify the underlying values. You recognize you want to walk red carpets but dig deeper to determine what value is driving that want.

Now you can judge by asking whether the values you defined are bad or good. Now you can ask whether the values you defined are uncontrollable or controllable. Now you can question whether the values you defined are destructive or constructive. Now you can tease those values to determine whether they are emotion-based or evidence-based. 


Would you happy to allow those values to guide you for the rest of your life? From here on out? If the answer is yes, then that’s great. If the answer is no, you have to hammer out some new values. 

If you have been fully honest in answering the questions above, then you should have uncovered your values. But, if there’s one thing we can know for certain is that we are adept at telling ourselves the stories that we want to hear rather than the stories we need to hear or stories that are true. You might say you want to walk red carpets. You might even be able to vividly picture yourself in designer wear, squinting at the flush bulbs of hundreds of cameras. But, if you spend the last decade or two of your life climbing the business ladder, your actions are in direct contradiction of your words. There is a disconnect. 

The key thing to remember about values is your behavior is a constant reflection of them. Your values matter far more than the words you choose to say. 

You can say you want a home filled with children, you can scream it from the rooftops that you value your family above everything else. However, if you find excuses to avoid serious relationships, then a family is not what you value. 

So, ask those questions, and when you answer them be prepared to do a reality check. Do your stated values match with your actions? If there is a disconnect then ask yourself what you truly value. 


Views of the World

Relationship To Self/Others

































































Responsibility To Self/Others












Human rights

Being Present











Financial Success


Inspiring Others


Hierarchical Ability
















Rule of Law

Personal Growth







Rational Awareness




Defining Your Values 

Values are experience-based. So, just as you can’t argue someone else out of their values, neither can they argue yours out of yours. Trying to make people defensive and more resistant to change. When challenging values, one must do so with empathy, whether you’re challenging yourself or someone else. The only way to let go of values that are failing you is to contradict them with evidence. 


When you experience a value failure it can be scary and you must allow yourself space to grieve. Your value contributes to the shaping of your identity and when a value is tumbled it can shake your understanding of who you are. It’s almost like losing a piece of yourself. We feel compelled to resist a value failure by denying it or finding a way to explain it. We rationalize and we justify. 

For example, you have spent two decades chasing money, and when you finally accumulated what you deemed to be enough you don’t feel happy. In fact, you’re more stressed out now because now you need to figure out how to spend it, where to invest it, and there are taxes to pay, and people who are always coming to you for handouts. 

Rather than questioning the value that spurred you into accumulating the money you blame the government for punishing the wealthy, people for being lazy moochers, or the stock market. Ridiculous, right? The problem isn’t everyone else, it’s a bad value. 

Question your values and brainstorm which values would do a better job for you. Replace money as a value with freedom. Money does tie into that freedom, but it isn’t everything. Rather than setting a value of being liked, you could instead choose the value of intimacy by deepening your bonds with those closest to you. Instead of choosing the value of winning, you could choose the value of putting your best effort in always. Remember, values have to be controllable. 

It’s all well and good to sit around thinking about better values. However, nothing will solidify it like choosing that value and going out to embody it. If you want to know whether a value truly works for you, then you have to win or lose it through experience. 


Forget your feelings, forget logic, and forget beliefs. Go and live those values. It might hurt at first, to live in opposition of old values, but you can. A little bit of fear is good and it takes courage to act in the face of it. Is courage one of your values? Look at you, branching out already! 

A Guide To Living Your Values

Choose a value, whether it’s a brand new value or an existing one you have decided to hold onto. 

  • Always choose goals that align with the value. 
  • Make your choices with your goals in mind. Every decision you make should edge you closer to achieving your goal. 
  • Draw on the physical and emotional benefits of your value and allow them to inspire you to continue pursuing that value. 
  • You did it, but now it’s time to choose your next value and repeat the three steps above. 

The steps are simple enough, but that doesn’t mean they are easy. To do this you will have to step well outside your comfort zone, try things you have never done before, ditch a career you have invested half of your life in, or even upset some of the people you care about. 

If you don’t, then what’s the point in uncovering your values to reinvent yourself? The alternative is remaining on autopilot and chasing a happiness you will never find because that happiness you’re chasing isn’t real. It’s not what you want, it’s what you have convinced will suffice. Is that what life is about?