Updated: May 22, 2019
Values are core principles that are universal that we live by, if we so choose. Beliefs on the other hand are shaped by our experiences, habits and environment. To really bring this concept home, let's take a well-known study by Howard Moskowitz when he worked with the company Prego, known for it’s spaghetti sauce. At the time he worked for the company, they only had one flavour of spaghetti sauce. Traditional Italian chefs might be of the opinion that there is truly one flavour of sauce, a belief that they hold dear to their craft.
Howard developed 45 different types of sauce for testing, varied in every possible way, garlic, sweetness, basil, tomatoes and so forth. He discovered that Americans fell into three distinct groups, those who like it plain, chunky and spicy. Until this research, no one had even thought of developing a chunky variety, yet a third of Americans preferred it! Not only was there a huge increase in sales because if this ($600 million dollars in ten years from chunky sauce alone), but to keep an open mind.
Let’s now relate this famous study to values and beliefs. I believe that spicy is the best spaghetti sauce, you believe that chunky is the best. So our beliefs differ because we have different taste buds, perhaps your spaghetti preference reminds you of the home you grew up in, thereby influencing your choices and decisions. I prefer spicy, purely because of the taste of it.
Two takeaways from this, if we only ever surround ourselves with people who like spicy spaghetti, how will we grow in acceptance of others and celebrate diversity? We find common ground in our values, our ideal of having sauce over our spaghetti. We can even go to a restaurant and order the same meal with different sauces. This paves the way, while understanding my own beliefs and preferences, to leave space for your beliefs.
Secondly, I know my own value. I have done enough tasting, testing and understanding to know that I love spaghetti sauce and what I prefer. This gives me an advantage to know when someone outright don’t share my core value. It sounds silly to say just because you don’t have the same value as I do when it comes to spaghetti sauce, it means that we cannot be friends or have a good relationship. If we take that same measuring stick and think of how many times we made decisions about people about our beliefs, then the spaghetti sauce might not be such a far-fetched example.
Write down your opinion on your own values as it relates to the following:
How do these values differ from the people you surround yourself with? Is it merely a difference in belief on how to achieve or live by these values or are there fundamental differences in values?
Journaling down your thoughts and process is a great way to find the answers for yourself in a caring, safe and exploratory environment.
Keep Journaling, Keep Growing!