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are the standards for evaluation; they determine the way we respond to that which we value. Values are the objects of action. Beliefs are the standards that allow us to experience values in a particular way.

For example, suppose two people both value money; that is, both want to make a lot of money. One person has a healthy view toward money, seeing it as a means to many desirable ends. The other person, however, holds the subconscious belief that "money is the root of all evil." If both people make a lot of money, the first would be more likely to enjoy it, spending it for a nice house, that dream vacation, and so on. The second person, however, may find it impossible to truly enjoy his wealth. He may feel a vague uneasiness when spending it, or may be inexplicably guilt-ridden when booking that dream vacation.

Your overall ethical structure-your values and your beliefs-determine character; it determines what you do. Beliefs determine personality; they determine how you do things and how you experience them. Understanding our values and beliefs and the distinctions between them is so important that I need to discuss each of them in more detail.


Other than your unique physical characteristics, what makes you truly individual are your character and personality. Your character is set by what you value, what you strive for. Your personality is set by how you do it. As we have already established,

what you do depends on what you value. How you do something depends on the unique set of rules or standards that you operate by-your beliefs. Let me talk first about values.

There are two basic types of values: means values and ends values. Do you remember the definition of economics that I gave in Part I? It is the study of the means applied for the attainment of ends chosen. Means values are the things that carry us forward in life, such as money, career, personal relationships, health, and cars. Ends values are states of emotional pleasure we want to attain, such as love, success, happiness, contentment, comfort, security, and excitement. It is primarily ends values that we are concerned with in this context; it is ends values that are the drivers in life.

Every ends value we hold has a negative emotional counterpart; lets call it a disvalue. Disvalues are states of emotional pain that we act to avoid, such as rejection, failure, frustration, anguish, anger, humiliation, and depression. We are motivated by the desire for pleasure and/or the need to avoid pain, and it is our ends values and disvalues that are the motivators.

One way to identify what your ends values and disvalues are is to ask yourself the following two simple questions:

What is the most important thing in my ?

What are the things in my that I would do almost anjihing to avoid?

Fill in the blanks first with "life" and later with particulars such as career, relationships, or any other aspect of your life you want to consider. When you write down the answers, do so rapidly, never letting your pen or pencil stop until you run out of answers. For example, you might come up with something like:

The most important thing in my life is

love security

success fulfillment

passion contentment

adventure and excitement compassion

ecstasy having a full head of hair

The things in life that I would do almost anything to avoid are

rejection physical danger failure anger

humiliation depression

embarrassment being bald

When you do this exercise, be careful not to glorify yourself in the process, which is something I will talk about in the next chapter. Try to dig deep inside and answer these questions truthfully. After you answer them, place both the values and the disvalues in their order of importance to you. This will give you insight

into the hierarchy, or order of importance, of your values. Now examine both lists carefully, looking for consistencies, contradictions, limiting values, and positive ones. You will probably be amazed at the results.

For example, if love is at the top of your values list and rejection is at the top of your disvalues list, then how likely is it that you will find love? Do you think it is possible to find love without fac ing some rejection? Certainly not, and remember, the need to avoid pain will usually override the desire to attain pleasure, and the opposite of desire is fear.

If you analyze your lists, you should be able to determine why you do many of the things you do. For example, if success is at the top of your list and love is second or third, then it shouldnt be surprising if you are the type that stays late at the office even at the expense of incurring the wrath of your spouse or close companion. If at the top of your disvalues list is embarrassment, then it shouldnt surprise you that you are often afraid to speak out or try new things in social settings. What your values and disvalues are determines your character. How you act to obtain them, your behavior, determines your personality.

If you are like most people, your character is something that has been defined, not in a planned and organized way, but rather through a process of osmosis. You have absorbed values and disvalues throughout your life from the outside in as a result of your upbringing, environment, education, social contacts, and all the choices you have made along the way. Your values may be disorganized, confused, and even contradictory.

Or you may have well-organized and structured values, but find yourself operating according to a mixed set of disvalues. Either way, if you want to take control of your life, then it is essential to understand the structure of your character so you can start making the changes that you want to make.

So I urge you to sit down and go through the exercise I described above and engage in the adventure of self-discovery in as many areas of your life as you can. You may be surprised just how unknown the frontier of your own mind is to you.


Most people have similar ends values and disvalues, but each of us experiences them differently. This is because of the differences, both major and subtle, in our beliefs. Beliefs take two forms: broad generalizations about life, people, and things: and rules we use to measure the worth of our own and others actions.

The broad generalizations, often called global beliefs, reflect our view of the world, other people, and ourselves. Consequently, global belief statements usually take the form of the verb "to be," such as "Life is, people are, I am

Rules are more particular, and determine in our minds things and events which must happen in order to experience results in a particular way. They usually take

the form of "If, then" statements, such as "If I make a million dollars, then Ill be happy. If you love me, then you will spend every free moment of your life with me. If I make a mistake, then Ill leam something from it." All of us have our own unique set of global beliefs and mles, and it is this uni que set that gives each of us a distinctive personality.

Consider, for example, the beliefs that give rise to one of the attributes I listed in the last chapter as a prerequisite for success: self-confidence. Feeling self confident comes from recognizing our personal worth and efficacy. How you feel about yourself depends not so much on what you actually do, but how you judge what you do, and how you judge what you do depends on your standards for judgment-your beliefs about what it takes to be a worthwhile person.

For example, suppose a talented and profitable young trader holds the following set of beliefs for judging his success or failure:

If I am a good trader, I will be right on 90% of my trades.

If I am a good trader, I have to make more money than any other trader in the world-If I am a good trader, I should be able to trade any market better than anyone else in the world.

Ambitious fellow! But he is dooming himself to frustration and personal insecurity. These are impossible standards that would allow no one to establish a steadfast self confidence.

To gain self-confidence, you have to establish standards that make self-confidence possible. That may sound circular, but its really not. For example, my standard of being successful as a businessman is to cover overhead and make a profit each month. Suppose instead that I set my standard at netting $1 million each month. It would be hard to be self-confident under those circumstances.

A standard is different from a goal. A goal is something you striv e for; a standard is the reference point you use to judge your actions. I would love to net one million dollars a month, and I think it is possible (although it actually isnt one of my goals), but to set that as my standard for success and self-worth is totally unrealistic. On the one hand, I believe that to be successful you have to demand more of yourself than anyone else could possibly expect-the higher you set your goals the more you will attain. But on the other hand, I think it pays to be easy on you rself in terms of the standards you set for evaluating your self-worth.

Limiting beliefs are at the core of most failure,, including the inability to experience life as a joyous process. Here are some classic examples of limiting global beliefs:

I am not intelligent enough. I am not confident enough. I am too young. I am too old.

I am too ignorant.

I am undeserving.

I will never be wealthy.

I cant change what I am.

Life is a bitch.

Life is absurd.

Life "is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.";

Life is out of my control.

People are cruel

People are stupid.

People are lazy.

People are by nature evil.

People will use you for what they can get and then dump you.

If you hold these kinds of beliefs, or anything similar to them, then how do you suppose that you can achieve the values you seek?

If you value love, for example, but hold the belief that people will use you for what they can get and then dump you, then it is likely that anytime you feel the stirrings of love, you will also feel cautious, suspicious, and fearful of being used.

If you hold the core belief that you are not intelligent enough, then no matter how much you study.

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