Understanding why values, beliefs and attitudes are important in life
Every human being is a bundle of emotions and feelings. We as human beings also have several thoughts that keep coming into our mind over a long period of time. How these thought patterns leads to Beliefs and then to Values and then to Attitudes is indeed a very powerful process. This article is an attempt to focus on the basics of all these different, but inter-related variables in our lives.
Introduction A belief is an idea that is accepted as true without any facts. For example, there is a widespread belief in God. There are billions who believe that there is a superpower that determines our life and that much of what happens to our lives is due to the grace of God. On the other hand, there are billions who do not have such a belief, saying that they are responsible for their outcomes in life, as their lives are full of big efforts to make a difference. This belief becomes, even more pronounced when they see the influence of advanced technology and science in their lives. Either way, the belief is the core, and there are often no facts that can substantiate the cause and the effect of each outcome.
A value refers to a person's own set of principles that they consider of great importance. For example, my father would have taught me that it is always better to be honest. This deep principle is conditioned in my mind and I do not change at all. For another person, the same principle may not hold good, as he might think that it is impossible to be very honest and that life is full of compromises.
An attitude is a way of thinking or feeling with regard to someone or something. Note the word something. For example, my friend may think that it is fine to spit on the road. He would not change his thought or feeling, till he is fined. There are thousands who think in the same way. The attitude becomes set in the same manner in their minds.
In this article, we will discuss a) How beliefs are very important in life b)How values are very important in life c) How attitudes are very important in life, and d) How we can change our own lives for the better.
How Beliefs are very important in our life As already discussed above, firmly established beliefs are ideas that are accepted as true, without any facts. Belief in God, belief in fate, belief in hard work, belief in superstitions and belief in astrology are some common examples. This may or may not be absolutely true as a fact. Yet, the idea that gets tossed around in the minds of billions of people, and the subsequent conditioning makes their belief even more stronger.
Another example- There is a belief born out of our conviction to do something. We believe that we can do something like walking three kilometers by getting up rather early in the morning and getting benefits from it, and after consistent efforts, our bodies will automatically tune themselves to this line of belief. Such consistent action becomes a belief. Now, walking is very good for our health and hence the best beliefs that reinforce our emphasis on health are always welcome.
How Values are very important in our lives Every person in this world has a set of principles that they consider as very important. These principles, when practiced regularly, become values. Naturally, our belief that honesty is good and important becomes a value and we also start acting honestly. We are overwhelmed with good thoughts and good actions. Our values are reflected in our dealings with others. We become very honest in our behavior as well.
We will promise to be at someone's home on a Saturday, 5.30 p.m. We would enter their house at 5.25 p.m. and that friend would appreciate our punctuality. But that goes hand in hand with honesty, which we also practice. Hence, we start building a good personality. Integrity, paying all taxes, never cheating on anything, never lying for anything, and so on, will further add to our value bank. The peace of mind associated with that feeling of being recognized as honest people by the larger society needs to be appreciated and felt at all times. Hence, good values are so important in our lives.
How Attitudes are very important in our life The way we start feeling or thinking about something becomes our attitude. When millions start thinking the same way, the formation of a set of society's values gets firmly entrenched. The use of plastics that totally spoil the environment is one such example. Cutting trees is another example. However, there is always a balance in society. There are thousands who feel and start thinking that we should preserve the environment. They start planting hundreds of thousands of trees. This becomes a movement. The root cause is attitude.
We still find so many kind people in our society. They would immediately help those who meet with any accident, for example. They would visit the hospital and also give their own money for immediate treatment. What happens? Their attitude of helping others would have been taught to them by their own parents, friends, and relatives. They would have been influenced so much by their behavior.
How we can change our own lives for the better There is no substitute for hard work, consistency in good beliefs and values like universal brotherhood, and doing all that we can to make everyone happy is so essential in our lives.
I once had a rather costly breakfast in an upper-middle-class restaurant, in Chennai. As expected, I saw a humble and sincere person. The young man was quickly cleaning the banana leaves of those who had eaten. I called him to my table and gave him a twenty rupee note. He was mighty pleased and thanked me in Tamil. I also gave the same amount to the two other helpers around and to the person who served me.
Such small pockets of happiness in the act of caring for others do not cost us much. For just two of us, a good breakfast in such a restaurant costs us around Rs. 700. Another one hundred would not enable me to make any difference in my life. We need to enlarge our beliefs, values, and attitudes and look around to do something to all we see and do something for others who deserve our help in some way
We also need to understand that we can always change our attitudes to align with the good values described above. Let us not follow the shortcuts as that will simply ruin us on any day and at any time.
Conclusion We first need to believe that we can change. We just need to act in the right direction by taking the first baby steps. For example, helping month after month, a poor child with free tuition in English or Mathematics is just a very good attitude of sharing our knowledge for free. The more we are aligned to do such noble acts, our lives will also change for the better and we will really enjoy life to the maximum extent. When we start appreciating that we can change our lives for the better, starting with good beliefs, values, and attitudes, this will really help us in our journey.