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Motivation Mondays: Universal Values

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“Some values must be universal, like human rights and the equal worth of every human being.”  Bjorn Ulvaeus

Motivation Mondays: Universal Values

Motivation Mondays: What are Universal Values?

I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time. You want to talk about values? Hard work: That’s a value. Looking out for one another: That’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together and I’m my brother’s and sister’s keeper: That’s a value.  US Pres, Barack Obama
Live your days on the positive side of life, in tune with your most treasured values. And in each moment you’ll have much to live for. Ralph Marston


When you think of Universal Values, what comes to your mind?  Recently, I was having a conversation with a dear friend about what we value most. Is it the same for all of us or is it different? Is it culturally or individually based? Are there values that we can all agree on that resonate with each of us regardless of our background and life experiences? As we pondered these philosophical questions and exchanged  ideas on the subject, I decided to investigate the topic a bit more to find out what the great minds of  the past/present had to say about what we value; what, as Isaiah Berlin explained, we all hold in common as dear to our hearts and universal in concept. Even though we come from diverse cultures and regions of the world, most of us would agree that we value the love and lives of our loved ones, and that we value our freedom to be who/what we believe. As I explored the subject further, I was reminded of both Lord Byron’s quote below and S. H. Schwartz‘s research results from a series of studies/surveys he conducted in 1992 of  25,000+ people, in 44 countries, from different cultural backgrounds.  Schwartz’s results determined that:  There are fifty-six specific universal values and ten types of universal value.[7] Schwartz’s ten types of universal value are: power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security.

Essentially, S. H. Schwartz‘s research showed that on any given day, in any given community, the following constructs are universally cherished/valued by people from all walks of life. Do the following breakdowns from his investigation resonate with you? Do they motivate your actions and decisions on a daily basis? What would you keep and what would you let go?  We live in a fractious world with growing areas of conflict and discontent. Could we bring about hope and global change by  shifting our own perspective to respect and value the perspectives of others? It is a tough question and, while you can keep your answer to yourself, it is worth pondering what motivates your daily actions and how those motives impact the lives of others…  After all, we share a planet in common even when we don’t agree on everything.

Here are the 10 value types and their specific related values: Which would you put first and how would you re-organize the value types to match your personal values? On an interesting note, Schwartz tested  spirituality‘, or ‘the goal of finding meaning in life, as an 11th universal value but, he couldn’t find consensus in all the cultures he surveyed.

A Story: What Do You Value?
A Quaker had this sign put up on a vacant piece of land next to his home: THIS LAND WILL BE GIVEN TO ANYONE WHO IS TRULY SATISFIED.
A wealthy farmer who was riding by stopped to read the sign and said to himself, “Since our friend the Quaker is so ready to part with this plot, I might as well claim it before someone else does. I am a rich man and have all I need, so I certainly qualify.”
With that he went up to the door and explained what he was there for. “And are you truly satisfied?” the Quaker asked.
“I am indeed, for I have everything I need.”
“Friend,” said the Quaker, “if you are satisfied, what do you want the land for? All Zen Antics stories via

READ: Shalom H. Schwartz, ‘Basic Human Values: An Overview’


“Always take a stand for yourself, your values. You’re defined by what you stand for.” Oprah Winfrey

Motivation Mondays: Universal Values

Motivation Mondays: What are Universal Values?

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Gandhi
There are only four questions of value in life, Don Octavio: What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for? And what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love. Lord Byron


What about the concept of LOVE as a universal value? Did you notice that it was absent from Schwartz’s results even though some of us might consider love to be a universal value? Why do you think Spirituality didn’t make the cut as a value? Even though we know that billions of people around the world have a belief system that they hold close to their hearts, those beliefs are expressed in myriad ways, and are called by different, tradition based names. So when we gather to discuss the foundation of our beliefs, it opens the door to a deeper discussion on what sets us apart rather than what unites us on the spiritual plain. Given that cultures around the world revere their expression of such beliefs, I was not surprised that this was one area where flexibility was not shown and for whatever reasons that people were holding onto their beliefs, trying to interpret them as a universal construct was met with resistance and perhaps confusion. But what about LOVE? What about Lord Byron’s questions above? Our values are shaped by what we cherish most and what we see as worth living/dying for. What I believe I become… Think about where this fits in your life and how it inspires and motivates you on a daily basis.

A Story: We Are Brothers & Sisters
Rabbi Isadore was a wise teacher. A student asked, “How is one to know the precise time when night ends and day begins?”
One student volunteered, “It is when one can distinguish between a dog and a sheep in the far distance, that is when day begins.”
Another said, “It is when you can tell the difference between a fig tree and a date tree, then night is fully gone.”
“No, it is neither of those things,” said the Rabbi. “It is when you can see your brother or sister in the face of a stranger. Until then, night is still with us.

READ: Kofi Annan, ‘Do We Still Have Universal Values’


The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for August  and September 2016 are:

08/01 –  2 New Moon, 5 Summer Olympics begin in Rio, 07 Friendship Day & Sisters Day, 07 International Forgiveness Day,
08/08 – 08 Peace Festival, 09 Book Lover’s Day, 09 World’s Indigenous Peoples, 12 International-Youth-Day, 13 International Lefthander’s Day, 14 Tisha B’av,
08/15 –  15 Assumption of Mary, 15 National Relaxation Day, 18 Full Moon, 18 Bad Poetry Day, 19 Nat’l Aviation Day &
World Humanitarian Day
08/22 –  22 Be An Angel Day, 22 National Tooth Fairy Day, 26 National Dog Day, 26 Women’s Equality Day, 27 Global Forgiveness Day
08/29 –  29 National Heroes’ Day, 29 More Herbs, Less Salt Day, 30 Toasted Marshmallow Day

09/05 –   Labor Day,  International Day of Charity,  8 International Literacy Day,
09/12 –  15 Day of Democracy Day,  17 Constitution Day
09/19 –  21 International Day of Peace/ World Peace Day, World Rhino Day
09/26 – National Preparedness Month, National Childhood Cancer Awareness, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, National School Success Month, National Childhood Obesity Awareness

Are You Looking for Ways to Stay Creative in 2016?

– Join the Daily Post Post-a-day or Post-a-week Challenge.




— Join the BlogHer Writing Lab


More Below!

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Motivation Mondays: Universal Values

Motivation Mondays: What are Universal Values?

When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier. Roy E. Disney
You have to maintain a culture of transformation and stay true to your values. Jeff Weiner
To overcome adverse circumstances, you have to learn to overcome your own hang-ups, values, and idiosyncrasies in order to value other people, cultures, and ideas. Anne F. Beiler


What does your mind focus on first thing in the morning? Is it of Value to You? What about Intrinsic/Extrinsic values? What do you dwell on last thing at night? Whatever holds us hostage or gets us up in the morning is of great value to us. It becomes the unifying force of our lives, and some of us will live and die for those values…. So on a daily basis, we must check in with ourselves and examine our motives and  see if they are in line with our values. Do we act impulsively for personal gain? Do we go against our values for a moment in the sun?  We must search our hearts and ensure that what we value will not diminish or hurt another.

A Story: We Become What We Believe
“Monks, I will teach you the parable of the raft – for getting across, not for retaining. It is like a man who going on a journey sees a great stretch of water, the near bank with dangers and fears, the farther bank secure and without fears, but there is neither a boat
for crossing over, nor a bridge across. It occurs to him that to cross over from the perils of this bank to the security of the farther bank, he should fashion a raft out of sticks and branches and depending on the raft, cross over to safety. When he has done this it occurs to him that the raft has been very useful and he wonders if he ought to take it with him on his head and shoulders. What do you think, monks? That the man is doing what should be done to the raft?”
“No, lord.”
“What should that man do, monks?
When he has crossed over to the beyond he must leave the raft and proceed on his journey. Monks, a man doing this would be doing what should be done to the raft. In this way I have taught you Dharma, like the parable of the raft, for getting across, not for retaining. You, monks, by understanding the parable of the raft, must not cling to right states of mind and, all the more, to wrong states of mind.” Source: Teachings of the Buddha by Jack Kornfield

READ: Michael J. Zimmerman, (2007). ‘Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value’

Have a productive week ahead!


Any Zen Antics stories via


Positive Motivation Tip: What we value holds our heart and mind.

Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for the months above/below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.

Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM
Related Posts

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS:All Photos – via Wikipedia, and/or  Values, via Pixabay

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet








55 Comments leave one →
  1. Jolina permalink
    13/09/2016 8:06 am

    In this roller coaster that is my life, one thing is for sure: God and family come first. Those are what I value the most and my decisions revolve around them a lot of the time.

  2. Rose Pingol permalink
    13/09/2016 8:16 am

    I like that parable of the raft. I totally agree. I value my faith most and then my family.

  3. Ryan Escat permalink
    13/09/2016 8:26 am

    With those ten, I value security more. My family’s welfare is so important to me and I want to live in peace.

  4. Rose Ann Sales permalink
    13/09/2016 8:37 am

    Achievement is really what I value most as of this moment. I want to be an achiever and help my parents on their needs.

    • 13/09/2016 12:09 pm

      Good for you. I appreciate that you took time to read my post and answer the question I posed. Achievement is a good one too.

  5. Mia Foo permalink
    13/09/2016 9:06 am

    i would say kindness is one of the most important universal values, for it can be read by the blind, heard by the deaf and spoken by the mute. isn’t it so?

    • 13/09/2016 12:08 pm

      That is so true and beautifully shared… I agree that love and kindness are important ones too.

  6. Parenting Healthy permalink
    13/09/2016 10:06 am

    These are great reminders to make sure you feel confidence in taking a stand for yourself and others that matter to you. Confidence.

  7. DecoPix (@TiinaTibs) permalink
    13/09/2016 10:12 am

    There are plenty of universal values that we all share. No matter what culture we live in, there are some values that are similar, but there are always values versus what people are actually doing.

    • 13/09/2016 12:21 pm

      Well said. We fight each other over the differences and forget to honor the similarities . 🙂

  8. Michele permalink
    13/09/2016 10:40 am

    I truly believe that love of all living breathing objects be it human or animal should be a universal value. And along with that love and nurturing of Mother Earth!

    • 13/09/2016 12:15 pm

      Michele, love sustains this universe and if we would treat each other with the same regard, we would have less conflict. I agree with you!

  9. Jojo Vito permalink
    13/09/2016 11:23 am

    universal values? love …kindness…gentleness…just a few I guess which are understood everywhere 🙂

    • 13/09/2016 12:14 pm

      Jojo, I hear you. We need more of it in the world…. The Golden Rule too: Do unto others as you would like others to do to you! <3

  10. 200 Saturdays until Paris permalink
    13/09/2016 12:08 pm

    The world needs to do some soul searching and come back to basic human values. I think it is missing in the world right now.

    • 13/09/2016 12:19 pm

      Yes … and we are lacking in basic consideration of each other … We need more thoughtful action in this complex world. I agree.

      • 200 Saturdays until Paris permalink
        13/09/2016 12:20 pm

        Very true! Be the change we wish to see in the world. That is how I try to live.

      • 13/09/2016 12:27 pm

        Exactly… when we think like that, we treat others work/effort with the same respect and regard we have our own and ourselves. TY! <3

  11. Megan Ogden permalink
    13/09/2016 12:13 pm

    I think people need to value life’s unexpected turns of events more. Lol I value my husband, career, my blog, friends, and family 🙂

  12. fashionphases permalink
    17/09/2016 7:39 pm

    This is such a great subject Elizabeth! Self-direction, love and spirituality are the most important values for me.


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