There were so many moments in my life where I was happy and proud: winning 1st place in a national Macy’s marketing challenge, partying and making mistakes, making life-long friends and family, graduating from college, receiving a high GMAT score, running 10-miles within one month of training, completing the Spartan Race Beast, traveling around the world, etc.

While looking at the list of values provided from my latest Dev Bootcamp challenge, when I think of the times in my life where I’ve been the happiest, the proudest, or the most satisfied, these are the ones that come to my mind:

  • Accomplishment
  • Achievement
  • Ambition
  • Challenge
  • Competition
  • Excitement
  • Friendships
  • Growth
  • Inspiration
  • Knowledge
  • Leadership
  • Meaningful work
  • Personal develpmnt
  • Physical challenge
  • Pleasure
  • Will-power

It’s quite a long list, but each one of these values is very meaningful to me.

If I had to rank them by whether or not I try to live up to these values in general, here is what it would be:

values

As you can see, I generally try to live up to all of the values that I find important to me.

One very important value to me from this already trimmed-down list is growth. For me personally, all of the values on the list are secondary values that support the primary value: growth. Everything is ever-changing and you need to continuously learn and grow. Friendship, ambition, inspiration, knowledge, will-power, etc., are all there to support my growth.

The last time someone asked for my advice, it was from a soon-to-be graduate (at the time) in regards to post-college life, jobs, careers, and the future. We discussed various topics, from networking to applying what you learn (to trying many things and doing what you love). Most, if not all, of the topics that I advised on relates to a lot of the values that I find important to myself.

So why am I thinking about my values? Why is it important?

Because thinking about my values helps me remind myself of everything that I hold important to me. They can also help me mediate stereotype threat if I recognize that I feel it. When I think about my core values and how they help create my happiest, proudest, and or more satisfied moments, I realize what is important; and performance based on my gender, race, or ethnicity is not one of them. My values and actions are what create my self-worth; not stereotypes. Studies have also shown that students who have been led to self-affirm are less likely to be susceptible to stereotype threats and perform better than those who have not been [source].

Another way that can help when you feel that your performance is being hindered because of stereotype threat is to look up to a role model with the same social identity. If they can achieve success, then so can you. Furthermore, intelligence is not fixed. It grows as you learn, which goes back to my highly-regarded value. Challenges, problems, and difficulties will only help you grow, learn, increase your intelligence, and eventually overcome those challenges.

This blog has been initially published on tonymai.github.io.