Often, we hear people talking about Values they have been brought up in life and it is very heartening to note it in today’s materialistic and competitive life. there are people who have values in their lives and also have inspired others too. The population figures of our country make the competitive life that tougher and yet in this age and stage of life, we have significant no of people living with values of honesty, integrity, Justice, Determination, Love etc. These people with good values do have a big impact on our society at large. Now it is difficult to pin point a particular age when the seeds of values sown in our life. It is generally believed that values start building in one’s life or get imbibed at a young age of five and upwards. Today as Professors, we probably remember values being instilled in us by our parents and teachers during our school days but exact time may be difficult to ascertain.
There is one intriguing aspect about values, i.e. Are values taught or caught in life? I guess it is a mix of both. Taught because unless as a young child, if we are explained and taught by our parents or teachers at that young primary school stage, we would never be able to appreciate it to the extent it should be. There is another school of learning which says values are caught and not taught in life, which only means values are to be learned from people who practice them instead of being told. But here is the biggest challenge for many of the people who talk about values but find it difficult to walk the talk.
A person having good values, seldom talks about it as those values are noticed so distinctly by that person’s behaviour and actions. Probably, this school of learning therefore emphasises on the dogma of practicing your values and not only have discourses of values. That’s where the hypocrisy of people who brag about their values are exposed, there are times when they get exposed so quickly and clearly that one hardly has any place or available space to hide. On the other hand, we find people with values who are so strikingly noticed by people that they hardly make a mention about his or her values. In fact, when you confront them or draw them into a discussion on values, they just smile and pass it away which is a sign of their belief of living with values and that practicing is better than discussing or preaching. Anyway, the topic of having values in one’s life is more important than the trivial subject of whether it is taught or caught. Also Values as understood by an economist is different from an accountant's view which would again differs with that of a Life Coach or a Scientist or a Technocrat as it is always understood in terms of its worth to his or her life.
There is another very striking point about values viz the Values are better appreciated and valued by those who have learnt the hard way or experienced it the most difficult way. A person who has struggled in his early childhood and come up the hard way invariably finds himself strongly holding to his or her values because those life experiences and hardships have etched certain values in him or her more stronger than even if it were etched on stone. Also his values on Honesty, Integrity etc is of a different order than the one born with a golden or silvery spoon, of course exceptions do exist in both cases. This is one more reason weighing very heavily on the school of thought that Values are caught and not taught.
The last point of this very important and heavy one word called value, is that of assessing one’s own values all along the journey of life. Self-Assessment or Self- Introspection is the best and truthful way to find out as to where do we stand on Values in today’s world but again not an easy one. The other practical assessment will be to get a feedback from others, anyway one always gets assessed continuously by others as part of our life, correctly or incorrectly is again debatable. But this convenient and simple method is practically used by every HR in the industry. It assess candidates by reference checking before hiring them and if done intelligently, judiciously and objectively , it is a great eye opener on understanding a persona for example, if you wish to check a purchase managers honesty, you don’t have to ask his colleagues or superiors or his peers about him, just talk to few sales people who deal with this purchase manager and you will get a very clear answer. If you want to talk about certain specific value of Determination or Passion, just talk to his superior or colleagues and it comes out so clearly since the Values are seen and not spoken. Similarly , if you want to know about a govt official’s integrity , you don’t need to get into an elaborate assessment methodology, , just talk to a few or maybe more ( to avoid vindictive biases) of the lay people who deal with him and you will get his or her report card without much difficulty. It will not be surprising to note that if the purchase manager or that Govt official is dishonest , he would be bragging about his honesty time and again as he has to do that much more aggressive selling to overcome his shaded personality or alternative they would hardly be bothered or waste time marketing themselves as their unbiased and fair style of dealing with people irrespective of name, fame ,class , caste, or religion is enough proof of their high integrity.
To sum up, our values in life is a reflection of our persona we carry, not only in our society, the place of work, in our immediate neighbourhood but most importantly in our own home with our family members. It is often said, the respect we get from all, be it family members, colleagues at place of work, or our neighbours or the society at large is always commensurate to the values we live with as they say respect is earned not demanded.
I would like to end my article with golden words of “PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH” as was done by our parents and the few personalities who have touched a chord in our life for their unstinted diehard values. It is time we thank them and acknowledge them as Great personalities and role models who shaped our life and continue to do so. Let’s carry this rich and valuable legacy to our next generation and thus contribute in a small way towards better and cohesive society.

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