Morals and Values: Understanding the Similarities and Differences

morals and valuesBoth morals and values are critical to the way that we lead our day-to-day lives. Contrary to what many may believe, morals and values are not the same thing, although they do possess a number of similarities, and there is quite a bit of overlap between the two. For many individuals, having a clear understanding of both their morals and values is important in helping them to lead better and more fulfilling lives. For others, understanding their morals and values is simply a method that they can use to better understand themselves and who they are as a person.

Others may simply want to develop their own ability to navigate the world of morals and values so that they are better able to communicate these things to their children, or any other children that may be in their care. A course such as Udemy’s Stories of Value can be a great place to start for parents and caregivers of children, as it can help them learn to appropriately communicate values to children through storytelling. But before getting to any of those things, one first needs to understand what morals and values are, and how they relate to one another.

What is a Value?

A value is something that an individual considers to be incredibly important or beneficial to society. A value can also be a standard by which an individual chooses to live his or her life. For example, an individual may hold humility to be incredibly high value, or they may value intelligence and creativity very highly.

Every person will have a different value, or set of values, that they hold to be more important than all others. These values may be different than the typical values of others in the community or society that they live in, something that makes them different than morals – but we’ll get to that in a minute.

It can be difficult for you to begin to assess your own thoughts and feelings and to come up with the values that are important to you. One thing that can help with that process is having a good understanding of things that are considered values by many individuals.

Going through a list of values can help you being sorting out the way you feel, which can in turn lead you to pursue those values in the way that you lead your life. Udemy offers a great course that can help you to attain success, happiness and fulfillment in your life using those values that are important to you.

  • Affluence: The idea of valuing money and success can be very important to some. This doesn’t mean that you’re greedy, or that you’re looking to be incredibly wealthy – it just means that one of your core values is ensuring that you and your family are well cared for and provided for, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
  • Altruism: For many, one of the great values in life is helping out those who are less fortunate. Those who value altruism may spend much of their life pursuing charitable pursuits.
  • Conservation: With more awareness of environmental issues than ever before, it’s no surprise that conservation of the natural world is a core value for many people.
  • Creativity: Artistically minded individuals may find creativity and creative thinking to be incredibly important to their way of life. If that’s the case for you, check out Creativity Booster, an Udemy course that can guide you through the process and help you unleash your own creative spirit.
  • Determination: Making goals and following through is incredibly important to many, and can be very beneficial to them as they set out to accomplish their goals.
  • Education: Those who value education above all else often find themselves driven to not only pursue higher education for themselves, but to provide education to those who may not have access to the resources needed to learn.
  •  Friendship: Having a close-knit community of friends is incredibly important to many. Those who value friendship may go out of their way to maintain bonds, even over long distances or periods of time.
  • Humility: Having a modest outlook on one’s own abilities or importance is a value for many. Many who value humility do so as part of a more expansive set of morals – something we’ll get to in a minute.
  • Joy: It could be said that not enough people value happiness and joy. The ability to live life to the fullest and find happiness in everything one does is an important value for many.
  • Logic: Rational thought and the ability to process information logically is very important to many people. Those who want the truth of every matter, not impeded by emotions, place high value on logic.
  • Passion: Do you have a passion for life? This is an important value for many, who find that pursuing things with enthusiasm and energy is crucial to their success and happiness.
  • Spirituality: A great number of people find spiritual belief of any kind to be an incredibly important value. This kind of value plays a direct role in many moral systems.

That may seem a lot, but it’s only scratching the surface when it comes to the types of values that people may possess. If you still need help understanding exactly what your core values are, an Udemy course on gaining self-knowledge could be helpful in the process.

What is a Moral?

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what a value is. So what, then, is a moral? If you’ve ever read a children’s book or a fable, you’re probably familiar with the phrase, “And the moral of the story is…” That’s not exactly the type of moral we’re talking about here, but it does follow a similar concept.

A moral is a shared ideal that is specific to a community or to a group as a whole. A moral can be a basic idea such as being honest, even when it’s difficult or not being jealous of others. However, a moral can also be a much more complex idea. An example of this would be the idea of self-sacrifice for the greater good of society as a whole.

There are some moral ideas that are considered more or less universal to people as a whole. An example of this would be the oldest and most well known moral of them all – the golden rule.

The idea of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” can be found in virtually all of the world’s major religions, and is usually taught to children in all cultures even if they are not explicitly religious. Another important moral that is almost universally accepted is the concept of commitment to something greater than one’s own self, whether that is to a religion, to knowledge and study, or to humanity as a whole.

As mentioned before, morals often come in specific systems related to a religious group or to group of individuals, such as academics, or even medical professionals.  The Ten Commandments is one example of a shared set of morals that is incredibly important to a large number of religious individuals. The principles of Buddhism are yet another example. Meanwhile, those who work in universities may subscribe strongly to the tenets of academic freedom. There are even strict ways of thinking regarding business ethics that anybody in the corporate world needs to know and understand for success.

How do Morals and Values Overlap?

Though morals and values are different in many ways, there is a lot of overlap between them. Often, the values that an individual holds in highest regard play a big role in the moral structure that individual subscribes to. For example, a person who holds logic and intellect in high regard as values may be more driven to embrace a moral structure that places an emphasis on learning for the sake of learning. Meanwhile, those who subscribe to the idea of the so-called “American Dream” as a moral structure may place a stronger emphasis on the values of affluence and finding one’s passion and joy in life.

However, the moral structure that one belongs to as a result of the community they are involved with or that they grew up in can play a big role in the values that they hold in most importance. For example, those in strongly religious communities are more likely to place values such as spirituality, humility, and altruism in higher regard than values such as creativity and conservation (even though these values can also be very important). Meanwhile, those who grew up around other conservationists may develop a moral structure that is centered on the idea of helping to protect and save the environment.

One more thing to note is that because values are so intensely personal to people, rather than belonging to a moral system, some values can be regarded as negative, whether compared to a certain moral structure or to some universal morals as a whole. If you find that some of your personal values are out of tune with the type of moral life that you want to lead, consider taking a course such as Udemy’s Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life. It can help you to become the person that you want to be.

Allowing Your Morals and Values to Shape Your Life

Many people find that once they have identified their morals and values, they can lead a much happier and more fulfilling life by allowing them to shape their path. If you strongly value altruism, make sure that you are taking the time to include charitable activities in your life, whether that means running a 5K or changing your career to work with a non-profit organization.  Likewise, if you strongly value your ability to provide for your family and do want to see success, be sure that you are making every effort to ensure you are on your way to real success in your area of industry.

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to morals and values – probably much more than you ever realized. Whether you are looking to understand morals and values for your own spiritual fulfillment or you are looking to lead a life that is tailored to your individuals needs and desires, this type of awareness can be incredibly important.

Those who are looking at the concepts of morality and values from a Christian point of view may be interested in a course such as Udemy’s Christian Coaching in Your Church, which can help you lead others to finding their own spiritual path. However, this is by no means the only way to discover morals and values, and every individual should stop and examine these issues from their own perspective.