What is the yardstick of our character? –The Values

Today, are we living in a society which is consumerized? Are, our happiness and sorrows directly proportional to our possessions, be it material or social? The thrust for wanting, achieving and succeeding have become the sole idea of personal satisfaction. With this kind of goals in life, there is a high possibility that one may end up being restless and void from deep within.

Polarised thinking is taking us to unknown boundaries; there is an edgy colleague, wife/husband, friend, child, parent, boss, etc. in all of us and, ironically we grumble about others being unfair and the world being an unpleasant place.

As explained in my previous article, we have to streamline our thoughts and concentrate more on values in our life. The values determine the character and ethics of a person i.e.  A man’s character is governed by his/her ability to handle and react to a particular situation.

Let me state a few examples to understand how values can contribute to our personality,

  1. Imagine a situation where a student has worked day and night for the exams and has expected to secure about 60 %. Instead, he /she end up with 30% marks. The following thoughts pop up.
  • “I am a dumb head, cannot even pass the exams”.
  • “This is the end of my life, how will I be able to face my friends and parents”
  • “The exam paper evaluator was not good enough”


  1. An employee who is never happy with his job, colleagues and salary has to go to an appraisal meeting. He assumes that he is working very hard and deserves a salary hike. But, discovers that instead of him Mr X has been promoted. The below thoughts conceal him,
  • “Why does this always happens to me?”
  • “I wonder how Mr X got an increment, I know, he always licks boss’s feet. He knows very well how to get on the top”.
  • “The manager is not good enough to recognise my hard work”.


  1. A certain mother observes that her friend’s kids have been doing well in studies, art, singing etc. while her own daughter is an average. The following feelings make her anxious and restless
  • “The world is a tough place, what will she do if she doesn’t score well and have a good job?”
  • “She is very adamant, doesn’t listen to me at all. She has picked those horrifying qualities from my husband”.
  • “I will enrol her into a tuition class and help her, but, where will I get the money for her classes? I have to work hard and make more money”. She sighs with a grief “These days life is nothing without money”.


  1. Mr Sharma reads a mail from his brother which says “Hi Bro, I have been promoted again in my company, leaving for U.S next month. Call you later….” The below opinions are running in his mind.
  • “My brother is a lucky chap since childhood, he is been getting all the perks in life. My life kinda sucks, I have to struggle for everything”.
  • “I have a lot of problems in life, mine is not easy as his, and he knows that yet still he makes me green with jealousy”.
  • “Mr X, always compared me with my brother, I should prove him and myself that I am good and can do wonders too”.


With just a couple of the above- mentioned examples, the following conclusions can be clinched.


The employee at the appraisal desk has overestimated and believed (which most of us do) that he has been slogging for the company while his colleague was reaping success instead. The underlying reason behind his misery is that,

‘Unfortunately he is working for his boss, his company, his friends and his colleagues. A person can never be unhappy when he works for his improvement and joy’.


The student is lacking self- confidence, perseverance, and foresightedness to think that life is much more than exams. As Swami Vivekananda rightly said,

 ‘Majority of us cannot see beyond a few years, just as some animals cannot see beyond a few steps’.


The mother is anxious because she is trying to over protect her child. She has the notion that success is the only pavement for her daughter’s progress in life. The world has a place for each and every induvial, who has the knack for survival.Instead of figuring out what the daughter is interested, she is judging her by worrying ‘why my daughter is not as good as her friends’?


Mr Sharma is unable to appreciate the goodies in his kitty, because, he is always busy comparing himself to others. Only if he had faith and belief in himself that he is worthy .He would not lose his energy and self- esteem to prove something to someone and more importantly to himself.

Is that, we always have that one person or situation to blame? Do we always enjoy the melancholy of playing a victim card?

I hope, by now we all have realised that scholastic activities are not an end in themselves. Our education, should, by and large, include the values we gather over a period of time and, have used it as a tool to build our life, career, ethics and principles.  These traits will influence and affect our near and dear ones and in turn our society. Therefore, it’s rather a careful choice one has to make between being a constructive or destructive contributor to the society.

I am signing off with a small story from a book about ‘cognitive intelligence’ which I read recently.

The Greek philosopher Socrates was sitting outside the city gates of Athens when a certain man came to him and says” I am thinking of moving to Athens, what is it like living here” Socrates looks up at him and answers “I would gladly tell you if you would tell me how is it like where you live now?” the man replied “Terrible! The people are back- stabbers, jealous and thieves. I have no real friends there “Socrates frowned and replied, “well, you had best be on your way because you find the same thing in Athens”.

After some time, another man approached and said that he was also considering moving to Athens. Once again the old philosopher asked him the same question “what was your experience in the place you live now?” The man smiled and replied “Wonderful! People are friendly, caring and you are treated with love and respect” Socrates smiled and said, “Then, Welcome to Athens my friend, you will find the same kind of people here”.

In simple words,

 ‘We are what our mindsets are. Our experiences, our values and our attitude determine how we look world at ’.

In the next article, we will discuss in more detail about

  1. Whom should we go to seek values in life?
  2. How our values affect our children?
  3. How can we influence our children and create better future for the society?




About preethiarjunagi

Trying to connect myself with the inner writer and unleash the experiences of life which is otherwise lost in this busy world .
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3 Responses to What is the yardstick of our character? –The Values

  1. moitreyee mahanta says:

    Wow beautifully presented…wise story and also an eye opener…waiting for some more…preethi – great job..

  2. nibha says:

    Beautiful Preethi…true enough…its the virtues that needs to be developed which will help in leading a meaningful life …A positive outlook for every situation can only lead to an evolved soul and thus an evolved society…This is the true purpose of education..
    Looking forward to your next issues…

  3. Values, experiences, perspectives… great work Preethi!

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