16 Basic Values

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In truth, we all have a hierarchy of value-words as well as of values. It is important to know that hierarchy too, so that we can achieve success and happiness on our own terms. Research has identified 16 basic desires or values. These are extracted from actual life, rather than selected off a checklist. All other value-words have been found to fall within one of these 16 values. Here is a list of the 16 basic values.

Power – the desire to influence others
Independence – the desire for self-reliance
Curiosity – the desire for knowledge
Acceptance – the desire to be included
Order – the desire for organization
Saving – the desire to collect things or to save
Honor - the desire to be loyal
Idealism – the desire for social justice
Social Contact – the desire for many connections
Family – the desire to raise one’s own children, to have a system for living Status – the desire for social standing
Winning – the desire to compete
Romance/Beauty – the desire for sex and/or beauty, harmony, and high quality Eating – the desire to consume food (beyond the minimum needed for survival) Vitality/health – includes physical activity as well as self-care Tranquility – the desire for emotional calm

These 16 values are not – by any means – equally important for everyone. Some are highly important for some people and irrelevant for others. The most effective way to clarify your values is to look at what arises naturally out of your life context. Each person has his or her own hierarchy of these motivators or values and in part this reflects the importance of each desire for the person’s happiness.

Each person experiences these 16 values differently. Our basic desires are based on a mix of genetic origin and childhood influences – the proportions are not known. Most people’s values don’t change much over time – we tend to have the same basic goals throughout life – although the ranking may change somewhat.

Curious children tend to become curious adults. People...
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