top of page

Values Part Three: Anti-Values

This is the third and final instalment—for now—in a series of posts I'm writing on values.

In part two last week, I wrote about the idea of two values being in tension with each other (2 min read).

In this post, I'd like to discuss the idea of an anti-value.

Imagine a continuum.

On one end is a value you hold.

On the other, is the opposite of that value. The anti-value.

An example from my own list of values is:

Simple (my value) and complex (my anti-value).

The reason I think it's important to identify your anti-values is because they help you to find balance very quickly.

We can't live into our values all the time.

When we slip, it can be useful to know our anti-values by name, so that we can recognize if we're slipping into them.

If we have slipped into our anti-values, then finding balance simply looks like leaning into the other side of the continuum. Doing so can create many positive ripples.

We have two young kids at home. 6 and 8 at the time of writing this sentence.

In the last few months, my wife and I have made somewhat of a hard commitment to keep the main floor of our house clean of kid-debris.

Cheerios, lego pieces (the absolute worst), random half-drawn art, markers with no lids in sight, etc.

Our kids have semi-committed to this commitment.

The other day I was walking by their bedroom (they share one), and I started to notice it getting messy.

For a while now, my wife and I have said that trying to keep their bedroom clean is a bit beyond reach for us. We told ourselves that they need to have some space to enjoy themselves, and their bedroom is that space.

But then it kept getting messier. I mean, much messier.

I didn't realize just how much it was getting to me.

The kids' bedroom started to become a visual analogy for other areas of life feeling messy too.

It wasn't messy exactly though, it just felt ... complex.

The solution might seem obvious right? Clean the damn room.

Yes, so we did that, and we got much more than just a clean room.

When you're rebalancing your values—in my case shifting from the anti-value of complexity back to the value of simplicity—a single action can have ripple effects through many areas of your life.

Leaning into or leaning away from your values is like a multiplier in your life, or at least it has felt that way in mine.

I will conclude this series by inviting you, dear reader, to search for your values, write them down, and experiment with what it's like to live through them.

Good luck and stay balanced.

dark green background with a white circle and a white start on it

bottom of page