Seven Values (Ayn Rand)

Ayn Rand describes each of the seven values in Atlas Shrugged.

“Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking — that the mind is one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide of action — that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise — that a concession to the irrational invalidates one’s consciousness and turns it from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality — that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind — that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wish for the annihilation of existence and, properly, annihilates one’s consciousness.”

“Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgement and nothing can help you escape it — that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life — that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.”

“Integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness, just as honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence — that man is an indivisible entity, an integrated unit of two attributes: of matter and consciousness, and that he may permit no breach between body and mind, between action and thought, between his life and his convictions — that, like a judge impervious to public opinion, he may not sacrifice his convictions to the wishes of others, be it the whole of mankind shouting pleas or threats against him — that courage and confidence are practical necessities, that courage is the practical form of being true to existence, of being true to truth, and confidence is the practical form of being true to one’s own consciousness.”

“Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud — that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee — that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling — that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.”

“Justice is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men as you cannot fake the character of nature, that you must judge all men as conscientiously as you judge inanimate objects, with the same respect for truth, with the same incorruptible vision, by as pure and as rational a process of identification — that every man must be judged for what he is and treated accordingly, that just as you do not pay a higher price for a rusty chunk of scrap than for a piece of shining metal, so you do not value a rotter above a hero — that your moral appraisal is the coin paying men for their virtues or vices, and this payment demands of you as scrupulous an honor as you bring to financial transactions — that to withhold your contempt from men’s vices is an act of moral counterfeiting, and to withhold your admiration from their virtues is an act of moral embezzlement — that to place any other concern higher than justice is to devaluate your moral currency and defraud the good in favour of the evil, since only the good can lose by a default of justice and only the evil can profit — and that the bottom of the pit at the end of that road, the act of moral bankruptcy, is to punish men for their virtues and reward them for their vices, that that is the collapse to full depravity, the Black Mass of the worship of death, the dedication of your consciousness to the destruction of existence.”

“The virtue of Productiveness is the recognition of the fact that productive work is the process by which man’s mind sustains his life, the process that sets man free of the necessity to adjust himself to his background, as all animals do, and gives him the power to adjust his background to himself. Productive work is the road of man’s unlimited achievement and calls upon the highest attributes of his character: his creative ability, his ambitiousness, his self-assertiveness, his refusal to bear uncontested disasters, his dedication to the goal of reshaping the earth in the image of his values. “Productive work” does not mean the unfocused performance of the motions of some job. It means the consciously chosen pursuit of a productive career, in any line of rational endeavour, great or modest, on any level of ability. It is not the degree of a man’s ability nor the scale of his work that is ethically relevant here, but the fullest and most purposeful use of his mind.”

“Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man’s values, it has to be earned — that of any achievements open to you, the one that makes all others possible is the creation of your own character — that your character, your actions, your desires, your emotions are the products of the premises held by your mind — that as man must produce the physical values he needs to sustain his life, so he must acquire the values of character that make his life worth sustaining — that as man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul — that to live requires a sense of self-value, but man, who has no automatic values, has no automatic sense of self-esteem and must earn it by shaping his soul in the image of his moral ideal, in the image of Man, the rational being he is born able to create, but must create by choice — that the first precondition of self-esteem is that radiant selfishness of soul which desires the best in all things, in values of matter and spirit, a soul that seeks above all else to achieve its own moral perfection, valuing nothing higher than itself — and that the proof of an achieved self-esteem is your soul’s shudder of contempt and rebellion against the role of a sacrificial animal, against the vile impertinence of any creed that proposes to immolate the irreplaceable value which is your consciousness and the incomparable glory which is your existence to the blind evasions and the stagnant decay of others.”

Lars Seier Christensen (Co-Founder of Saxo Bank and Founder of Seier Capital) explains in a very inspiring way how these Seven Values were successfully deployed in a modern business.

• Rationality
• Independence
• Integrity
• Honesty
• Justice
• Productiveness
• Pride

About Rationality
“Behaving in a rational fashion seems like an obvious thing to do, but actually, in many organizations a lot of time is spent on very irrational and unproductive activities. Rationality means applying a logical approach to identifying how to arrive at a desired end — or to gain a desired value — in the most efficient and straight-line manner. It also means taking into account the relevant information required to reach decisions and to decide on an optimal path of specific action.
If a competitor has created a better product than our own, you cannot talk it into oblivion. Even if, in the short term, you might convince a client to accept an inferior solution. Longer term, you are always at risk of this client becoming more informed and, ultimately, you will lose out.
The only way to deal with competitive products is to investigate them thoroughly, take an active interest in industry developments and meet any challenges head-on by improving our own service and the features of our products.
You cannot dream, wish, hope or lie yourself out of a difficult-to-fulfil, but reality-based client demand.
If the client can get a better service or product somewhere else, we need to deal with this reality and improve to maintain the relationship.
If you have a disagreement with another employee, you also need to deal with it head-on. If you are right, then you should stand up for your point of view, but if you are wrong, acknowledge it and move forward.
You should not pursue any line of action for any other reason other than it being the most rational and logical way to move forward — even if it means giving up your own (inferior) idea, or if it means the justified recognition of one of your colleagues instead of you.
Making the right, rational choices is what life is all about. Just as irrationality leads to failure or at the very least dependency on other people’s rationality, rationality often leads to success and independence. In fact, it almost always does if consistently applied and carefully and intelligently executed.”

About Independence
“All of the virtues are actually derivatives of “rationality”, and this one, in particular, means using rational thinking in an independent manner. In spite of all types of teamwork, all types of organizations and all forms of society, it simply boils down to one brain per individual.
There is no such thing as “group thinking” (don’t confuse that with individual thinkers choosing to work together in a group) or a “collective brain”. Whether you like it or not (and we hope you do like it), everyone has their own individual mind that he can choose to use or not.
Your mind is your primary tool of survival, but also the gateway to much more than mere survival. To a large extent, the more and the better you use your mind (which implicitly means independently), the more successful and — at least if applied to commercial business — the more comfortable a living you will be able to create for yourself and whomever you choose to share your life with. And the more personal fulfilment and self-esteem you will experience.
Independence does not mean re-inventing the wheel, or not accepting the Law of Gravity or Einstein’s scientific theories before you have checked all the facts and calculations yourself.
It does not mean a lack of respect for where you work, if that is freely chosen by yourself, or for the managers or leaders you interact with as a result of that decision; nor does it mean having to define or create every single process personally before implementing it.
Independence does not mean that you should not learn from anyone else. But it does mean that blindly copying or repeating anything and everything you see or hear uncritically will not get you anywhere in the long run.
If you unquestioningly accept anything that sounds good without further consideration of its consequences or any idea that simply seems to be agreed upon by other people (even — or maybe even particularly — if they are a majority), you can be fairly sure that this will not be a great success in your life.”

About Integrity
“Integrity is standing up for what you mean and being prepared to execute your ideas and defend your values. Integrity is therefore closely related to the value of independence.
Integrity is about doing what you say you will do, honouring your commitments and fulfilling your promises.
Integrity is accepting that there is a relation between the dreams you have for the future and the work you need to put in every day to reach those goals, otherwise your life will just be an endless repetition of frustration and disappointment.
At Saxo Bank, extending this integrity to our clients and partners is, of course, critical. We need to manage expectations correctly, so that we invariably deliver at least what we promise.
Conversely, we need to be very careful to explain to clients exactly what our services are and what risks and opportunities they will face while working with us.
There is no real substitute for an integrated view of life. If you are not basing your life on reality, either you will fail or you will be entirely dependent on someone else to support you because they act rationally on your behalf — a parasitic and unsatisfactory existence at best and a highly risky proposition for the long term.”

About Honesty
“Honesty should be understood in the normal sense — for example, do not unnecessarily lie to others — as well as the concept of intellectual honesty. Being honest means meeting reality head-on and trying not to fool yourself or others by not trying honestly and in an objective manner to interpret and deal with the facts that you are faced with.
Being dishonest can take many forms, such as lying to clients, colleagues or friends. This will not be beneficial in the long run as the truth becomes inevitably clear sooner or later, and future relationships would be greatly damaged.
Dishonesty could also be pretending to be something you are not. For example, would getting a particular job because you lied about your abilities not be more disastrous than not getting the job at all? You will ultimately end up failing, losing credibility and, in the meantime, having failed to make progress at something you could have been great at instead?
Attracting a spouse or a circle of friends by pretending to be a different character than you really are?
Forcing yourself to live a life that is not what you really wanted — presenting a façade that you need to think about every minute of the day because it is not honest to your nature — and again, probably eventually getting called on your bluff after all those efforts.
Being honest is a selfish value, as are all sustainable values. Honesty is for your own benefit; it is not just a duty you owe to others.
All of Rand’s values serve the purpose of making your life more successful and your philosophy more coherent. The great thing is that applying the values also has beneficial implications for your surroundings, friends, colleagues, Saxo Bank, society… which are all components in helping your life to be successful. So there is a win-win effect in honesty, just as in the rest of our values and the contents of the corporate statement, which is exactly what we want to portray.”

About Justice
“Justice, in our terms, essentially means that you should not just sit back and accept everything around you without having a view on it. You should not be afraid to speak up when somebody does wrong or behaves in an unacceptable manner.
By keeping quiet, you are not doing the person a favour because that person may not be aware that what they are doing is questionable, or, if he or she is, they may think that doing the wrong thing will never have any negative consequences for themselves — hence encouraging them to continue that way.
Along the same line of thinking, you also should give praise when someone does something positive, not just to be nice, but to encourage such actions in the longer term, to show that you notice and that it makes a difference to you.
In terms of Saxo Bank, this is closely related to the value of honesty and essentially means that you should neither hold back constructive and justified criticism nor should you fail to praise a colleague who does something of value or ethically correct when you see it.
When we are doing unbearable damage is when we fail to recognize appropriately those people who are doing great things.
Whether this is out of envy or indifference, it is very damaging when people who should be praised fail to get the recognition they deserve.
Being just is both the right action towards your colleagues and a way to increase your own chances of long-term success — by correcting mistakes and encouraging good work.”

About Productivity
“Being productive means creating products, systems and services that are valued sufficiently by our clients to enable us to run a successful business and for all of us to be paid a salary that allows us to care adequately for our families and ourselves.
Being productive means taking pride in providing for your own life, avoiding relying unnecessarily on other people’s production and recognizing that any other way of living — stealing, voting for politicians who give you money by taking it from other members of society, begging — may work for you short term, but would be completely unsustainable unless someone else made the decision to produce.
I think that we all know the joys of a job well done. To achieve success, to use one’s mind creatively and productively, to see things grow and expand through your own efforts is a great experience and life would be much poorer if we did not experience this individually, and together, every day of the working week.
Enjoying the fruits of work, getting the things you want, having fun and free time on your hands, enjoying hard-earned time with your family is all great — but getting there, securing this through your own efforts, is a big part of the exercise.
Productivity plays a big part in all we do. It is important that we always bear in mind productivity in our lives as a necessary and logical objective. It is great for us to spend time on research and thinking ahead, and having great plans and long discussions if necessary. But at the end of the line, the goal is productivity.
Any initiative we undertake in our business must have productivity as the key objective because if we allow ourselves to lose sight of productivity, eventually the business will fail and we will all lose out in life.”

About Pride
“Most people, certainly most Danes, have been brought up with the notion that pride is mostly a bad thing and that people should be humble rather than proud.
“The Law of Jante”, a particular Danish version of the “tall-poppy syndrome” deriving from a famous novel, criticizes the success of individuals and portrays their achievements as unworthy, wrong or inappropriate.
We believe that you are indeed responsible for your own character, your own achievements and your own results; and it does matter that you try to do well.
Even in your fundamental choice — deciding to be a productive individual, taking charge of your own destiny and responsibility for your life instead of relying on other people for your sustenance — you have reason to be proud. By having decided to work for a living, instead of stealing or begging your way through life, you have established a critical foundation for justifiable pride.
The rewards for leading such a life are the values — both physical and spiritual — that you can create, allowing you to have self–esteem and to be proud of your life.”

Translated to Spanish.

Siete valores

Estos siete valores, basados en Altas Shrugged (escrito por el filósofo Ayn Rand), son muy inspiradores y útiles en los negocios y en la vida.

• Racionalidad
• Independencia
• Integridad
• Honestidad
• Justicia
• Productividad
• Orgullo

Sobre la Racionalidad
“Comportarse de una manera racional parece una cosa obvia de hacer, pero en realidad, en muchas organizaciones una gran cantidad de tiempo se dedica a actividades muy irracionales e improductivas. La racionalidad significa aplicar un enfoque lógico para identificar la forma de llegar a un fin deseado – u obtener un valor deseado – de la manera más eficiente y directa. También la podemos definir como la consideración de la información necesaria para llegar a decisiones y para elegir sobre una vía óptima de acción específica.
Si un competidor ha creado un producto mejor que el nuestro, no podemos obviarlo. Incluso que en el corto plazo sea posible convencer a un cliente para aceptar nuestro producto, con características inferiores, en el largo plazo, este cliente estará cada vez más informado y, en última instancia, le perderemos.
La solución óptima será investigar a fondo a la competencia, tomando un interés activo en la evolución del sector e iniciar cualquier reto que permita la mejora de nuestro propio servicio y las características de nuestros productos.
No se puede soñar, desear, esperar o engañarte a ti mismo sobre las demandas de los clientes, por muy difíciles que sean de cumplir.
Si el cliente puede obtener un mejor servicio o producto en otro lugar, tenemos que hacer frente a esta realidad e intentar mantener la relación.
Si usted tiene un desacuerdo con otro empleado, también hay que tratar con él de frente. Si usted tiene razón, entonces, debería mantener su punto de vista, pero si usted está equivocado, lo debe reconocer y evolucionar hacia esa idea.
No se debe perseguir cualquier línea de acción por cualquier otra razón aparte de que es la manera más racional y lógica para seguir adelante – incluso si eso significa renunciar a su propia idea (inferior), o si esto significa el reconocimiento justificada de uno de sus compañeros en lugar de usted.
Hacer lo correcto, tomar acciones racionales es de lo que se trata la vida. Del mismo modo que la irracionalidad lleva al fracaso o al menos la dependencia de la racionalidad de otras personas, la racionalidad a menudo conduce al éxito y a la independencia. De hecho, casi siempre lo hace si aplicamos de forma coherente e inteligentemente lo decidido.

Sobre la Independencia
“Todas las virtudes son en realidad derivados de la “racionalidad”, y éste, en particular, significa utilizar el pensamiento racional de una manera independiente. A pesar de todos los tipos de trabajo en equipo, todos los tipos de organizaciones y todas las formas de la sociedad, se reduce a un cerebro por individuo.
No existe “pensamiento de grupo” (no confundir con pensadores individuales que deciden trabajar juntos en un grupo) o un “cerebro colectivo”. Te guste o no (y esperamos que lo haga como él), cada uno tiene su propia mente individual que puede optar por utilizar o no.
Su mente es su principal herramienta de la supervivencia, y también la puerta de entrada a mucho más. En gran medida, cuanto más y mejor usted usa su mente (que significa, implícitamente, de forma independiente), más exitosa y – al menos si se aplica a la actividad comercial – más cómoda es la vida. Usted será capaz de crear por sí mismo, con mayor cumplimiento personal y autoestima.
La independencia no significa reinventar la rueda, no aceptar la ley de la gravedad o las teorías científicas de Einstein antes de haber comprobado todos los datos y cálculos usted mismo.
Independencia no es una falta de respeto a su lugar de trabajo, , o para los gerentes o líderes que con los que interactúa.
La independencia no significa que no se debe aprender de cualquier otra persona. Pero sí significa que la copia o repetir ciegamente cualquier cosa y todo lo que vea o escuche sin crítica no va a llegar a ninguna parte en el largo plazo.
Si acepta sin cuestionar nada de lo que suena bien, sin más consideraciones de sus consecuencias o cualquier idea de que simplemente parece ser acordado por otras personas (incluso – o tal vez incluso en especial – si es que son la mayoría), puede estar bastante seguro de que esta decisión no puede ser un gran éxito en su vida.”

Acerca de la Integridad

“La integridad es la defensa de lo que quiere decir, ejecutar sus ideas y defender sus valores. La integridad es, por tanto, estrechamente relacionado con el valor de la independencia.
La integridad es hacer lo que dice que hará, en honor a sus compromisos y el cumplimiento de sus promesas.
La integridad es la aceptación de que existe una relación entre los sueños que tienes para el futuro y el trabajo que necesita para poner en todos los días para alcanzar esos objetivos, de lo contrario su vida será sólo una repetición sin fin de la frustración y la decepción.
Para Saxo Bank extender esta integridad a nuestros clientes y socios es, por supuesto, fundamental. Tenemos que manejar las expectativas correctamente, por lo que siempre entregamos al menos lo que prometemos.
Por el contrario, tenemos que ser muy cuidadosos al explicar a los clientes nuestros servicios y qué riesgos y oportunidades tienen.

Acerca de la Honestidad

La honestidad debe entenderse en el sentido normal – por ejemplo, no mientas innecesariamente a los demás -, así como el concepto de honestidad intelectual. Ser honesto significa no tratar de engañarse a sí mismo o a otros, e interpretar de forma el entorno y a nosotros mismos.
Ser deshonesto se puede definir de muchas formas, tales como mentir a los clientes, compañeros o amigos. Esto no va a ser beneficioso en el largo plazo, la verdad siempre prevalece tarde o temprano, y las relaciones futuras será dañado en gran medida.
La falta de honradez también se podría entender por creer o aparentar ser algo que no eres. Por ejemplo, conseguir un trabajo en particular por haber mentido acerca de sus habilidades o conocimientos.
Forzarse a vivir una vida que no es lo que realmente se tiene, que presenta una fachada, y que realmente se conocerá la verdad finalmente .
Ser honesto es un valor egoísta, al igual que todos los valores sostenibles. La honestidad es para su propio beneficio; no es sólo un deber hacia otros.
Todos los valores de Rand sirven al propósito de hacer su vida más exitosa y su filosofía más coherente. Lo bueno es que la aplicación de los valores también tiene implicaciones beneficiosas para su entorno, amigos, compañeros, Saxo Bank, la sociedad… que son todos los componentes para ayudar a su vida para tener éxito. Así que hay un efecto de win-win en la honestidad, al igual que en el resto de nuestros valores.”

Acerca de la Justicia
“Justicia, en nuestros términos, que usted no sólo debe sentarse y aceptar todo lo que te rodea sin tener una opinión sobre ella. Usted no debe tener miedo de hablar cuando alguien hace mal o se comporta de una manera inaceptable.
Al mantenerse callado, usted no le está haciendo un favor a la persona porque esa persona puede no ser consciente de que lo que están haciendo es cuestionable, o, si él o ella es, ella puede pensar que haciendo las cosas mal no tendrá ninguna consecuencia negativa para sí, por lo tanto, animándoles a continuar su comportamiento.
A lo largo de la misma línea de pensamiento, también se debe alabar cuando alguien hace algo positivo, no sólo para ser agradable, sino para fomentar este tipo de acciones en el largo plazo, para demostrar que usted lo reconoce y que se realiza una diferenciación positiva.
En términos de Saxo Bank, esto está estrechamente relacionado con el valor de la honestidad y esencialmente significa que, no debe dejar de alabar a un colega que hace algo de valor o éticamente correcta cuando lo ves.
Es muy perjudicial cuando la gente que deben ser alabados no pueden conseguir el reconocimiento que merecen por envidia o indiferencia.
Ser justo permite la corrección de errores y la promoción del buen trabajo.”

Acerca de la Productividad
“Ser productivo significa crear productos, sistemas y servicios que son valorados de forma suficientemente positiva por nuestros clientes, lo que nos permite desarrollar un negocio exitoso y para todos nosotros que recibamos nuestros salarios para atender adecuadamente las necesidades de nuestras familias y nosotros mismos.
Ser productivos evita depender innecesariamente en la producción de otras personas y evita cualquier otra forma de vivir – robar, votar por los políticos que le dan dinero mediante la adopción de otros miembros de la sociedad, pidiendo…
Creo que todos sabemos la alegría de un trabajo bien hecho. Para lograr el éxito, para usar la mente creativa y productiva, para ver las cosas crecen y se expanden a través de sus propios esfuerzos es una gran experiencia y la vida sería mucho más pobre si no experimentamos esta forma individual y conjuntamente, todos los días de la semana laboral.
Disfrutar de los frutos del trabajo, conseguir las cosas que desea, la diversión y el tiempo libre en sus manos, disfrutar de tiempo ganado con el sudor con su familia es genial.
La productividad juega un papel importante en todo lo que hacemos. Es importante que siempre tengamos en mente la productividad en nuestras vidas como un objetivo necesario y lógico. Es muy bueno para nosotros pasar tiempo pensando en el futuro, con largas discusiones si es necesario. Pero, al final de la línea, el objetivo es la productividad.
Cualquier iniciativa que emprendemos en nuestra empresa debe tener en cuenta la productividad, porque sino con el tiempo el negocio fallará.”

Sobre el Orgullo
“La mayoría de la gente se ha criado con la idea de que el orgullo es negativo y que la gente debe ser humilde en lugar de orgulloso.
“La Ley de Jante”, una versión danesa particular del “síndrome tall-poppy” se deriva de una famosa novela y critica el éxito de los individuos retratando sus logros como indignos, incorrectos o inapropiados.
Usted es responsable de su propio carácter, de sus propios logros y de sus propios resultados.
Incluso en su elección fundamental, decidiendo ser una persona productiva, hacerse cargo de su propio destino y la responsabilidad de su vida en lugar de depender de otras personas para su sustento, tiene razones para estar orgullosos. Por haber decidido trabajar para vivir, en lugar de robar o mendigar, que ha establecido un requisito esencial para el orgullo justificable.
La recompensa: le permite tener autoestima y sentirse orgulloso de su vida.”