[Note: This is the 3rd in  a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]

A wise man learns more from his enemies than a fool from his friends. – Baltasar Gracian

The complete chapter title for week three is “The Values Choice…Choose the Right Enemies.”  In doing a bit more research on Mr. Gracian (quoted above) I came upon his collection of maxims Art of Worldy Wisdom. Skimming through this book I understood better why the author decided to select a quote from Gracian.

Gracian’s maxims speak of taking the high road, living with a strong value system,  leading a good life. keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

Values are defined as accepted principles or standards of an individual or group.  Do you know what your values are? Are there times when you have had to make decisions which conflict with your values?

Cottrell writes that knowing what your values are and living by them are different – and living by your values will eventually lead to enemies who share a different value system.

Here’s an example. I have a very strong family-first value set. This has often conflicted with some co-workers and managers who didn’t understand my decisions to not take assignments or even jobs that would require me to be away from my family for more time than I was comfortable with – whether it was travelling or long work hours.  These were uncomfortable discussions, but knowing I was living by my chosen values made me happier and more confident (and trust me everyone – more productive!)  Sure, I chose my enemies in a way, but that is the point of this week’s choice.

Cultivate those who can teach you – Balthasar Gracian