Some people say your personal values don't change because what motivates you stays consistent for most of your life. And some people say that they do change as you reach maturity milestones in your life. So which is it? The answer is both.
There are likely some constant values that will stay with you most of your life. Take curiosity for example. If you're naturally curious, then you'll probably be naturally curious for most of your life. However, if you're in your 20s and single, the value of family security is likely not at the top of your list. However, ten years from now, it may emerge with a greater sense of priority for you. Your values are driven by what you need at any given time, and some of those needs stay fairly consistent, and others evolve over time based on your experience and maturity.
The following chart was published in Dr. John Demartini's book The Values Factor, and I think it doesn't a great job illustration how motivational priorities can change over time.
|0 - 10||playing, having fun, developing selective skills|
|10 - 20||social interaction|
|20 - 30||establishing a relationship, career, and financial foundation|
|30 - 40||establishing a family and a social and vocational identity|
|40 - 50||ensuring financial security and further education of your offspring|
|50 - 60||traveling and doing meaningful activities that have been delayed|
|60 - 70||leaving a legacy and preparing for mortality|
|70 - 80||contributing back to society and assisting the next generation|
|80 - 90||concentrating on activities that help you maintain your faculties and continued contribution|
Interestingly, when I read this chart, the 50-60 age group sticks out: traveling and doing meaningful activities that have been delayed. This was certainly so with my parents and grandparents generation; this idea that you work for a long period of time and then you enjoy life when you retire. The younger generations of today seem to have flipped this idea on its head as you'd be hard pressed to scroll through YouTube or Instagram and not find an established and growing tribe of young people who value exploration and meaning-making much earlier in life.
So, to see how your values have changed, think about where you started in life. What was important for you then, what's important for you now, and what will be important for you in the future?