Living values – Stoic Week Day 2

Tuesday’s theme is change, and in particular a focus on what we can change in our lives to move us closer towards living our values.

The morning meditation from Seneca’s Letters ends with a call for consistency, which I’ve highlighted below.

Ethics has three branches. The first assigns to each thing its proper value and determines what it is worth … The second deals with motives, and the third with actions. So the objectives of ethics are, first, to enable you to judge the value of each thing; second, to enable you to have a well-adjusted and controlled motive towards them; and, third, to enable you to achieve harmony between your motive and your action so that you can be consistent in everything you do.” – Seneca, Letters, 89.14

I’ve seen a lot recently about authenticity and being our most authentic selves. Reading this morning’s text I realised that for me authenticity means having consistency between words and actions.

While I’ve made some relatively big changes in my life over the last six months that have moved me closer towards living my values it seems harder to act them out in the smaller actions I make every day. Where I feel my exploration of stoicism can help with this is to provide a framework for reflecting on my actions each day; asking what I could do differently tomorrow. If I can make small changes every day I hope this will bring me close to consistency between my values and actions.

I’m keen to explore how this consistency between words and actions can be achieved within organisations. Traditionally I think it’s something that large organisations especially have struggled with. Values and mission statements are visible in brochures and on websites. They’re handed to every new employee on their first day. But where is the evidence of these in action on a daily basis? What changes need to be made to help every employee live the organisation’s values?

With Stoicism placing values so centrally, it seems apt that World Values Day takes place this year during Stoic Week. I’m taking part, will you join me?


Image credit: Holding hands by Dineslav Roydev on Unsplash

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