You have thousands of thoughts that float through your mind all day every day. How do you sort through them all to determine which thoughts are good ones? In other words, how do you know which thoughts will lead you to good outcomes? It’s hard to know. You can become attached to certain thought patterns yet, they can bring you results that are not intended or even desired. And these very thoughts might be ones which you stubbornly cling to simply because you’ve been repeating them for so long (since childhood perhaps) that they have become habit; they are all you know. How do you detach from your thoughts and learn new ways of thinking? How do you even know which thoughts need changing?

This is very challenging. You know something in your life needs to change and you look for training programs or specialists who can help. But most of the self-help books, personal and professional development programs, training programs, even some therapies don’t draw upon or assess the underlying thoughts that drive your behavior. They are focused on teaching you new skills, new behaviors. The answers you seek to “why” your life is as it is, “why” things don’t turn out the way you want, or “why” you are the way you are, can be found in your thinking; your behavior and your emotional state are merely symptoms, a reflection or rather a manifestation of your thoughts. Your thoughts create your reality.

The Hierarchy of Value
For thousands of years, philosophers have been asking the question: What makes a person make one choice over another? And the answer was and continues to be that people do what they perceive will add the greatest value. This does not mean that their choice actually adds the greatest value but rather what the individual perceives will add value. The science of how people make value judgments is called Axiology or “Value Science”.

In the 1900’s, Dr. Robert Hartman, a philosopher and mathematician, went about the arduous task of quantifying “value”. What actually is of greatest value? Is there a way to measure “value”? Dr. Hartman delineated the hierarchy of value, simplifying what could be to the layman, quite complex. In addition, he created an assessment called the Hartman Value Profile Instrument, to determine how your perception of value differs from the actual hierarchy of value. Hence, there is a way to pinpoint exactly which of your thoughts serve you and which of your thoughts are sabotaging you.

Hartman identified three categories or domains of thought. The first is the Intrinsic. These are thoughts that involve singular concepts: the spiritual and human beings. Those are unique, irreplaceable, and infinite.

The second domain of thought is the Extrinsic which includes abstract concepts such as metrics, things of the every day world, procedures, and processes. Elements here are measurable, comparable, and finite.

And the third area of thought is the Systemic. These include mental constructs, ideas, and rules. The quality of a systemic thought is absolute – right/wrong, all/nothing.

Hartman also identified that we think in two worlds: an external world where thoughts are about the world at large and an internal world where thoughts are about ourselves. Hence, there are six domains of thought; six areas in which all of those thousands of thoughts going through your mind on any given day can be classified. Amazing. And simple.

Thoughts = Value
To think is to value. Your thoughts determine what you value and what choice you make at any given moment. Your life is a reflection of what you value.

Teaching value science to others has an amazing impact. For instance, when you learn that human beings are first in the hierarchy of value, that human life is of greatest value, then you have to make a conscious effort to devalue someone by screaming at them, putting them down, or even judging them. Interesting.

In the scheme of things, when people learn how to value things according to the hierarchy and make choices based on what actually adds value rather than what they perceive will add value, they make better choices and have less stress about it.

By recognizing the thoughts that trigger your typical reaction – emotional or behavioral – and then learning to choose different and better thoughts to guide you, you can create different outcomes. In fact, neuroscientists now admit that we can rewire our brains when new thought patterns are adopted and consistent effort applied to the new pattern, allowing the old neurological connection to atrophy. This is exciting news! Where before people used to say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, we now know that’s just not true. You can learn and you can rewire your brain for success.

Applying Value Science
Value science has tremendous applications in organizations, in families, in marriages, and in developing self-esteem. It’s a very exciting science. And value science is what’s missing in our society today. Consider what we value as a society when we can turn on the news to find people filming their own fights and placing them on the internet for all to see. What about the money spent on the war in Iraq vs. education of our children? Or the money spent on foreign aid vs. healthcare? What about how sports stars are paid millions while we pay our nurse’s aids under $20 an hour. We will spent more money in the last three months of our lives in order to cling to the precious life we have but we won’t take vacations.

When you argue with your spouse because you want to be heard but in the process hurt each other with cruel words, what are you valuing? At work when you yell at your employees or speak down to a subordinate, what are you valuing? When you gossip about a colleague or complain about management, what are you valuing? What are you valuing when you put yourself down, say nothing when someone else does, or allow yourself to be mistreated at work or at home? You say you value your children but you work late and golf or clean all weekend. What do you really value? Your life and your choices reflect your values, even if these are not conscious to you.

All of these are just questions to ponder and in the realm of value science, they force you to think about how you live your life and the choices you make each moment. There is tremendous power in choice. By asking questions about what you value, you arm yourself with better information so you can make better choices. And your choices create your life experience. If something in your life is not as you would like it to be, observe your thoughts and ask, “What am I valuing?” Are your actions aligned with what you value?

Author's Bio: 

Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN, CSAC is dedicated to helping you break through the barriers to your happiness and success. She is a masterful coach, a motivational speaker and world-renowned writer and author. For additional resources and to sign up for her inspiring e-newsletter, visit or email