Below are several character traits or states of mind that people may find worth striving for in this life. The idea behind this exercise is that you are to rank the following traits for yourself, from most important to least important.
This is supposed to be done privately, so don’t think you have to post your final ordering in your comments. Hopefully you’ve never done this, and I will deliver the "punchline" after everyone has had an opportunity to rank their most desired qualities, and maybe a good discussion will follow. The qualities up for ranking are:
I’ve purposely excluded a quality such as "loving God," because while it is important, that love should be manifested in tangible ways. If there are any glaring qualities I have omitted that you cannot have meaning without, feel free to let me know. This exercise was performed in Mr. Bradbury’s chemistry class when I was in 11th grade.
I encourage everyone to at least think about those five qualities and have an idea which are most important to you, and which are least important. And while you may not need an update from me to understand the significance of your ranking, I will be back to give it to you. Post if you’ve thought about these so I know people are reading.
Update: I’ve added selflessness to the list of traits at the suggestion of Mike (servanthood seemed restricted to religious meanings, so I thougth selflessness was a little more broad). Selflessness seemed different enough from the rest. This is not the "moral of the story" update, so keep thinking about your rankings.
Update 2: I think Amy actually touched on the whole point of the exercise in her comment. The point this is trying to make is really a matter of priorities, and that when push comes to shove, the way you value the above traits will impact the decisions you make. For example, if you were to come across a lost wallet with $100 in it, the qualities about money and integrity would come into play. The point Mr. Bradbury was making is that if you truly value integrity more than money, you would turn the wallet in. The "big idea" is that your choices are driven not only by the qualities you value, but the order in which you value them. I would say that you cannot place equal priority to all the above traits, because at some point or another in your life one will conflict with another. When that happens the trait that you value more will win.
Are these actual traits or desired traits like Amy posed? I think it can be both. While we can have a desired priority for our values in life, always living up to them is a tall order. I think when I took this "test" I put down happiness as my number one, and I can see how my life has been impacted by valuing that above other things like money and power. I think it impacted the career path I finally chose. There are flaws in this of course (money and power CAN have an impact on one’s happiness), but pitting the values against each other really makes me think about what’s most important to me in life, and the choices I will make because of them.
So was it everything you hoped for? Curious to hear why people picked what they did, if you’d change your choices, and whether or not your life has been impacted by the values most important to you.