There are at least five related ways to help you clarify your personal values:
1. You can accept or be predominantly influenced by the values shared and applied by your family, social, religious, cultural or political group.
2. You can accept universal values to which most of humankind subscribe regardless of their race or creed, such as the WEF-Facebook study, or the doctrines of the major religions, or the secular Universal Declaration of Duties (not to be confused with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
3. As a general non time-limited exercise in values clarification the following novel exercise from the psychotherapist Richard O’Connor in his book Undoing Perpetual Stress: The Missing Connection Between Depression, Anxiety and 21stCentury Illness is worth doing:
List up to ten things that make living worthwhile. Do this quickly and without any thought. Allow these ideas to emerge directly from the nonconscious mind. Put the list away, wait for a week and do the exercise again and then wait another week and do it a third time. The second and third times do not look at your previous lists. When you are finished compare the three lists and identify common trends. Then put the combined list in order of importance based on what you feel is most important. The first four or five will most likely form your core values.
4. Start with a long list of general values, and pick those that are important to you. This may allow the nonconscious to select values you think you should have, rather than those really important to you so when you have a list of 5-10 values start to assess them consciously. There are many values lists on the Internet.
5. Assess which value is the best choice by how complete it appears, how well it fits together from all perspectives and after considering all inputs and angles. A good rule of thumb is the way the particular choice seems to come together as a whole. The choice is not just the sum of its parts but it fits together and holds together more or less successfully as an orderly and reasonably logical whole.
You may form your values in your mind but you can only realize them when they are tested in the world. You may accept your values from the world but you will not truly believe them until you internalize them in your mind. It’s a totally interconnected self-sustaining process.