Be honest: have you posted something in the past six months because you knew it would get likes, or not posted something because you thought you’d get cancelled?  Virtue signaling and cancel culture are relatively new phenomena that are impacting behaviors and they suck.  

They suck because they lead to parroting and preaching to the choir, which requires minimal critical thinking or causes people to tiptoe around for fear of committing an infraction. 

What’s the point of me bringing this up?  

Everyone says and knows how important values are.  We’re told we should have and live by our values, and I don’t disagree.  But why are they so important?    

Here’s why. By going through the exercise of thinking about what is important to you, why it’s important to you, and how you can begin to live more aligned to your values, you begin to live on purpose, with purpose.  

If you’re saying things just because you think it’s the right thing to say, you’re wasting your breath and everyone’s time.  Please stop.  This goes for everyone across ideologies, party lines, and anything else that seems to be dividing us these days.   

I recognized some years ago that I wasn’t doing enough thinking for myself.  I was relying too much on other people to do my thinking for me and perhaps you’ve fallen into that trap yourself.  

There’s a never ending line of people interested in thinking on your behalf.  Facebook really wants to limit your thinking, so do the marketing companies following you around the internet, and your mom probably does too.  Now, match that with society’s expectations.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in being lumped into a category based on arbitrary characteristics for others to make money off of me.  I’m also not interested in being told which causes or problems I should be focused on or championing.  And that’s not necessarily a popular opinion on the internet, nor is it within my personal circles of friends. And you know what?  That’s OK.   

It’s OK for me to think, say, and believe it.  It’s OK for me to choose to not pick up every single cause that others think are important.  In fact, I think doing that would be impossible.  I’m limited in my ability to take in and process information because I’m a father, husband, financial advisor, entrepreneur, friend, son, and many other things, so I need to be a good steward of my attention.  Because I recognize that, I choose to think about and decide on which causes and problems to focus on aligned with my core values.  I choose to live by my values and to apply them to the situations and circumstances in my life.  

My values are Friendship, Justice and Learning.  

Do you know yours?  If you don’t, that’s ok!  It’s an opportunity to dig in and figure out what’s of greatest importance to you.  Not your parents, not Mark Zuckerberg, and not the media trying to tell you what to think.  

Determine what you believe to be true.  It’ll help you know when to stand up (or sit down, or kneel, or whatever you’re into), who to stand with, and who to stand against.  It’ll give you the peace of mind and freedom to say yes, and no thanks, that’s not my fight.  

I’d like to hear from you on this. Let me know your thoughts and feelings!