Benjamin Spall

Core Values List: Examples of Common Personal Values

What are your core values? Your core values (also known as your personal values) are what guide life’s most important decisions, including everything from the career path you choose to go down, to how you spend your free time.

Similar to my character traits list, this core values list is designed to serve as a collection of core values examples that you can come back to again and again to help you discover what your core values and beliefs are, and how you can better live up to them. None of us are perfect, which is why keeping a list of values, such as this one, is a good way to help keep ourselves honest about what we’re doing well, and where we’re falling short.

Below you will find the all-important core values list, as well as a look into organizational values (that is, the values that a company lives by), and other core values examples from a number of specific institutions, including the United States Air Force, Army, and Navy.

What Are Core Values?

Core values are the beliefs that guide your behavior both on a day-to-day basis, and over the long term. They help to guide your decisions unconsciously, why consciously giving you something to believe in. Put simply, your core values are what make you, you.

Values in Action Are Virtues

In The Power of Full Engagement, Tony Schwartz holds that “A value in action is a virtue,” giving the example that while generosity may be a value, the virtue that goes along with it is that of behaving generously. As Schwartz notes:

Alignment occurs when we transform our values into virtues. Simply identifying our primary values is not sufficient. The next step is to define more precisely how we intend to embody the values in our daily lives, regardless of external pressures.

To stick with the example of the value of generosity, Schwartz highlights the point that when we behave generously we must do so without the expectation of receiving anything in return; we must put others’ agendas ahead of our own, even if it means inconveniencing ourselves at times.

Core Values List

The core values list below includes 50 examples of values that, for the most part, have been admired across different cultures and religions for generations. As you read through the list, note down the values that stand out to you, and come back to them afterwards for further exploration.

  • Acceptance
  • Authenticity
  • Balance
  • Bravery
  • Calm
  • Commitment
  • Compassion
  • Concern for others
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Dedication
  • Empathy
  • Ethics
  • Excellence
  • Fairness
  • Faith
  • Family
  • Freedom
  • Friendships
  • Generosity
  • Happiness
  • Hardworking
  • Harmony
  • Health
  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • Humor
  • Integrity
  • Kindness
  • Knowledge
  • Loyalty
  • Morality
  • Openness
  • Optimism
  • Perseverance
  • Poise
  • Positivity
  • Respect for others
  • Respect for self
  • Responsibility
  • Security
  • Self-reliance
  • Selflessness
  • Serenity
  • Service to others
  • Spirituality
  • Stability
  • Status
  • Trustworthiness

Core Organizational Values

Values are common across many organizations, with these core values and beliefs being placed in prominent places around an organization’s headquarters, or pride of place on the company intranet. Organizational values are designed for two reasons:

  1. To attract the right people: Making your organization’s values front and center in the hiring process is an easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of who you believe will be a good fit at your organization.
  2. To ensure that current employees remember what’s expected of them: It’s natural for employees at any organization to have good days and bad days. When they’re constantly reminded of your organization’s core values, getting back to good becomes that much easier.

Core Values Examples

While the above core values list is designed to give you a starting point from which to recognize some of these values in yourself, and discover some new values that you may wish to look into further, the below core values examples come from specific institutions with their own predefined values.

Core Values of the Air Force

Whether you’re a student of history, a military buff, or you simply appreciate the value of gaining insights and understanding from areas in which you may not be personally familiar, studying the core values of the Air Force is a great way to honor the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in order to keep us safe.

Core Values of the Army

First taught to incoming soldiers during Basic Combat Training (BCT), from which point onwards, they are expected to live up to them in all that they do, studying the core values of the Army is a great way to gain an understanding of what it means to be a modern-day soldier.

Core Values of the Navy

According to the Department of the Navy Core Values Charter, the core values of the Navy, “build the foundation of trust and leadership upon which our strength is based and victory is achieved.” Study them to gain an understanding of this foundation.

This core values list is designed to be a starting point from which you can learn more about the values that you recognize in yourself, and discover some new values that you may wish to look into further.

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Benjamin Spall is the co-author of My Morning Routine (Portfolio/Penguin). He has written for outlets including the New York Times, New York Observer, Quartz, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, CNBC, and more.

How to Reference this Article

Spall, B. (2020, February 21). Core Values List: Examples of Common Personal Values. Retrieved from