Proceed to Safety

Robert Munafo: My Core Values    

These core values represent how I aspire to live, what I stand for and much of what I can teach.

I have been developing these core values (also called "standards") since 1994. In more recent years they have developed into a structure for looking at the stages in a person's life, and also as a way of identifying opportunities for improvement (or if you insist, problems) in relationships, teams and larger organizations.

Although you could learn and use these core values, I believe it is far better to develop your own set of personal core values. It can take years to get a reasonably complete set of core values, and they should always be viewed as a work-in-progress. You will get more value from your core values, the more you put into making them personal and understanding what they mean for you. If desired you can also develop interpretations of how your core values can be applied in a team or group, and this will help clarify your contribution when the team or group looks to you for guidance.

These core values are not set in stone; the most recent changes were in June 2008. As they currently stand, they are as follows (each has its own page):

Live a Mature Masculine Life
Know and Serve Your Purpose
Everything That Depends On You Depends On Your Well-Being
Study and Grow From Your History
Contribute To Each Level
— -- —
When You're Down in the Pit, Give Help
Be Unconditional
Listen — Be Clear on What's Needed
Ask Powerful Questions
Know When and How to Hold Back
— -- —
Hold and Trust Your Context
Hold Core Values and Standards to the Hierarchy of Purpose
Cite No Authority Higher Than Your Own
Enfranchise Each Level
Be an Example To Everyone

Core Values are Not Rules

First a few things about "rules".

Rules can be abused and tempt being broken. Adopting systems of rules usually leads to contradictions. Even the most supreme inviolable rules are broken and justified with other rules (as, for example, the 6th Commandment is broken for war1, which is always justified in some way, usually with religious basis, by both sides in the conflict).

Multiple rules come into conflict. Enfranchisement of the individual and the group leads to competing priorities. Overcommitment to others and to self leads to the possibilities of self-sacrifice and selfishness. Often there is no perfect answer.

From a practical point of view, rules are artificial. Unless you have a mental condition like Asperger or Autism, it is not easy to live by rules. Although you might try to learn some rules and live by them, after a while that becomes tedious. Most of the time it is your intuition that guides you — you don't have to think about it. No conscious effort is needed.

Therefore, although a good set of core values can be thought of as "rules to live by", I much prefer the broader definition "patterns of desirable behavior". The difference between "following rules" and "displaying a pattern of behavior" is that in the latter instance, one need not be aware of the pattern. In the ideal, thought and conscious effort are not required. %%% need note here referring to main article on being vs. doing and awareness as the key to altering one's own behavior

It is quite common to exhibit patterns of behavior that one is not directly aware of. Most people pick the right thing to do for each situation, and don't make much effort to find patterns in their own behavior, or to think about the underlying principles that could be used to define that behavior.

Once you see core values as patterns of desirable behavior, rather than as rules, conscious intervention (careful thought) is often helpful. If you find yourself in a new, tough, or confusing situation, the core values can be used as a test of what is desired or what is missing. Try it sometime with the Code of Honor, or any personal list of core values you have developed for yourself (My core values, listed above, will not be useful for this purpose until you have taken time to understand what they all mean). When you find yourself in that tough situation, get out the list and read through it. (I suggest reading them in random order, to help keep you alert to what you're doing. Write them on cards.) Read each item and ask yourself the question, "is this thing missing?".

Three Groups of Five

My core values are deliberately and consciously grouped into three sets of five. Each addresses the stage in someone's life relating to the conquest of one of the first three enemies of knowledge described by Don Juan in the Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. These enemies are: Fear, Clarity and Power. (Alas, the fourth enemy, Old Age, cannot be defeated — but if you have defeated the first three, you can leave a legacy that is so great, that you don't mind accepting death).

The first five core values address what someone learns while they are confronting fear and achieving clarity on what they can, should, and must do with their life (a "purpose"). They are directed at the individual's own decisions regarding themself: "operating at the Individual level".

The second five address personal relationships specifically, and are important in learning how to find the balance between one's own clarity and the desire to help others. After mastering the relationship skills embodied in these five core values, and while continuing to practice the first five, the individual will have overcome clarity and achieved power.

The final five core values are instrumental in overcoming the pitfalls of power, and primarily concern leadership in groups. While continuing to practice the first ten core values, the individual uses these to achieve maturity in leadership.

Dr. Tony Alessandra's Seven Points of Charisma

I discovered the work of Dr. Tony Alessandra well after establishing most of my personal core values as they are shown above. This list shows how the points of charisma are (almost) covered by parts of my core values:

Presence MCV15.

Affiliativeness MCV08 and MCV10

Speaking MCV15

Listening MCV08 and MCV10

Adaptability MCV08

Persuasiveness MCV09 and MCV15

Vision MCV02

(This topic now has its own page here. Click on each of the seven qualities to learn more about it)


1 : The 6th Commandment : The most accurate translation from Aramaic to English gives the wording Thou Shalt Not Murder rather than the broader Thou Shalt Not Kill. The question of whether or not war constitutes murder is usually answered differently by those at opposite ends of the weapon in question. I suggest that the intended meaning of the Commandment, and the answer to whether or not war constitutes murder, would be given by the Originator of the Commandments. It is usually through such speculation that people use religious arguments to justify war.

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