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    How Do You Find Your Moral Compass?

    February 26, 2023

    The importance of knowing what direction your moral code is pointing

    Image by Provincial Archives of Alberta - Public Domain

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    Is morality subjective or objective? This question often arises as our interconnected world stretches morality to cover more interactions than ever before. Social media exposes us to people with differing moral codes, and we may not consistently apply our principles to loved ones and strangers. While many believe they can intuitively distinguish right from wrong and make good decisions, how can we ensure our moral compass is accurate, especially when others disagree with us?

    Having a strong moral compass is essential for navigating life. It can be the difference between taking the right path and succumbing to temptation or living an unfulfilled, aimless existence. 

    But what does it mean to have a strong moral compass? How do you develop your own personal set of values and beliefs? And why should we even bother in today’s world, where morality often seems obsolete? I’ll explore these questions and more as I delve into why having a strong moral compass is so essential — not just now but always!

    What is a Moral Compass?

    A moral compass is an internal guide for making decisions and living a life of integrity. It is an individual’s set of values that guides their behavior and decision-making process. It includes beliefs about what constitutes right or wrong conduct and principles for how one should live their life. 

    This internal guidance system serves as a reference point when making difficult decisions or navigating challenging situations, such as determining right or wrong, good or bad, and how to act in any situation. A strong moral compass can help people make better choices, build stronger relationships with others, and lead more meaningful lives.

    Components of a Moral Compass

    The components of a moral compass include self-awareness, integrity, respect for others, empathy towards those who are different from us, responsibility for our actions and words; humility; kindness; courage; honesty; fairness; justice; loyalty to family and friends; generosity with time and resources; compassion for the suffering around us.

    1. Respect: Respect for oneself and others is essential to a moral compass. It means treating everyone with dignity, regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds.

    2. Integrity: Acting in accordance with one’s values and principles is an important part of having a moral compass. This includes being honest, reliable, and responsible in all areas of life.

    3. Compassion: Having empathy for those around us and understanding the needs of others is key to developing a strong moral compass. Being compassionate allows us to make beneficial decisions for ourselves and those around us.

    4. Accountability: Taking responsibility for our actions is necessary when it comes to living according to our own set of morals and ethics; this involves admitting mistakes, apologizing when appropriate, learning from them, and making amends if needed

    Benefits of Having a Strong Moral Compass

    A moral compass provides us with the guidance and clarity we need to make decisions that align with our values, beliefs, and goals. Here are some of the benefits of possessing one:

    Improved Decision-Making Skills: A well-defined moral compass helps you make better decisions in difficult situations. By understanding your own values and beliefs, you can quickly identify what’s right or wrong for you without being influenced by external pressures or influences. This enables you to take actions that will benefit both yourself and others in the long run.

    Increased Self-Confidence: Knowing what’s right for yourself based on your own set of morals gives you more confidence when making choices or taking action in any situation. You don’t have to second guess yourself because your decision has already been made according to what matters most to you personally.

    Having a clear sense of morality also allows us to form stronger relationships with those around us since we understand how our behavior affects them as well as ourselves. We can be honest about our intentions while respecting other people’s boundaries, leading to healthier interactions overall.

    How to Develop Your Own Moral Compass

    Developing a moral compass is essential for living an intentional life. It helps us make decisions that align with our values and beliefs while also considering the impact of our actions on others. Here are some tips to help you develop your own moral compass:

    Identifying Your Values and Beliefs

    The first step in developing your moral compass is identifying what matters most. Ask yourself questions such as “What do I believe in?” or “What kind of person do I want to be?” Take time to reflect on these questions and write down any thoughts that come up. This will give you clarity about what values and beliefs are important to you so that when faced with difficult decisions, you can use them as a guidepost for making ethical choices

    Understanding the Impact of Your Decisions on Others

    Once you have identified your core values, it’s important to consider how they might affect other people if acted upon. Think through potential consequences before making a positive and negative decision so that you can weigh the pros and cons accordingly. For example, if one of your core values is honesty but telling someone something would hurt their feelings, then it may not be worth sharing even though it’s honest because it could cause more harm than good overall.

    Key Takeaway: Developing a moral compass is essential for living an intentional life. Identify your core values and beliefs, then consider how they might affect others before making decisions to ensure you’re making ethical choices.

    Challenges of Following a Moral Compass in Today’s World

    Moral compasses are a set of principles that guide our decisions and actions. In today’s world, it can be difficult to stay true to your moral compass as there is often pressure from society to conform to unethical behaviors.

    Pressure from Society

    We live in an increasingly competitive world with high pressure to succeed. This can lead us down paths that go against our values and beliefs if we don’t take the time to pause and reflect on what matters most. It’s important for us all to recognize when we are being influenced by external pressures rather than making decisions based on our own internal compass.

    Conflict between Personal Values & Professional Responsibilities 

    It can be challenging when personal values conflict with professional responsibilities or expectations at work or school. For example, you may have strong feelings about animal rights but find yourself working in a lab environment where animals are used for testing purposes — this could cause inner turmoil as you try to reconcile these two opposing forces within yourself. The key here is communication; talk openly with your employer or professor about any ethical concerns you may have so they understand how best to support you while still achieving their goals.

    With so many different opinions out there, it can be hard sometimes for individuals to determine what is right and wrong without feeling overwhelmed by conflicting information or ideas presented by others around them. To combat this confusion, focus on developing your own moral code based on what feels right for you instead of relying solely on outside sources such as religious texts or cultural norms which may not align with your personal beliefs system. Additionally, practice self-awareness and reflection regularly so that when faced with tough choices, you know exactly how each decision will affect both yourself and those around you before acting upon it accordingly.

    What Causes a Moral Compass To Change?

    Have you ever stopped to think about what guides your decisions? What influences the way you interact with others and how you view the world around you? The answer is likely your moral compass. Your moral principles, which inform your behavior and outlook on life, are the basis for determining who you are.

    So what causes a moral compass to change over time? 

    Life experiences can be an influential factor in shaping our beliefs and values. As we experience new things or learn more about different cultures or religions, our views may evolve as well. It’s important to remember that these changes should always reflect our own personal beliefs — not someone else’s opinion or influence.

    Exogenous elements, such as culture, faith, or social norms, can also shape our ethical orientation. For example, suppose we live in an area where certain behaviors are accepted but not necessarily encouraged (such as gossiping). In that case, it could lead us to adopt those same habits even though they don’t align with our core values. On the other hand, living in an environment where positive behavior is rewarded could encourage us to make better choices when faced with difficult situations.

    It is also possible for one’s morals to shift due to new information being presented or by reflecting on past experiences in a different light. Taking stock of life’s journey, we can ponder and consider our choices thus far; self-reflection may open the door to newfound understandings, enabling us to refine and redefine what matters most. Through this process, we can gain clarity on what matters most while allowing room for improvement; such reflection may cause shifts within our morality system over time as well.

    Our ethical standards are ever-evolving, shaped by our life events and environment. As we make our way through life, we must be conscious of how our morals may shift and take action to guarantee that our choices demonstrate a robust sense of ethicality. Let’s explore further how this internal guidance system affects our future selves.

    Key Takeaway: It is essential to know how our beliefs and values shape our actions, as they can change over time due to life experiences, external influences, or self-reflection. Having a moral guiding light can assist us in making judicious choices and remaining devoted to our convictions.

    Which Direction Does Your Moral Compass Point?

    Having a moral sense of direction is indispensable for taking actions that conform to our convictions and opinions, irrespective of orientation — north, south, east, or west. Let’s examine each so you can recognize your starting point.


    A moral compass pointing north is associated with having a strong sense of justice, fairness and morality. People who have this type of compass are usually seen as reliable, trustworthy and honest. People with a moral compass pointing north are known for their logical decision-making and accountability; they prioritize what is best for the collective over themselves or their own interests. North-pointing compasses often lead people to make decisions that benefit the greater good rather than themselves or their own interests.


    A moral compass pointing south is associated with being impulsive, rebellious, and risk-taking. Those with this kind of moral orientation may be prone to disregarding regulations and defying authority in order to reach their objectives. South-pointing compasses can also lead people into dangerous situations due to a lack of forethought or consideration for consequences.


    A moral compass pointing east is associated with being creative, imaginative, and intuitively driven. People with a moral compass pointing east may be more likely to think outside the box when tackling challenges, embracing fresh perspectives, and uncovering unique solutions. If acted upon correctly, east-pointing compasses can help guide people toward innovative ideas that could bring about positive change in society.


    A moral compass pointing west is associated with being practical, disciplined, and organized thinkers who prioritize structure over chaos when it comes to decision-making processes West-pointing compasses can provide stability during times of uncertainty by helping individuals focus on achievable goals instead of getting lost in abstract concepts without tangible outcomes.

    No matter the orientation of your moral bearing — northward, southward, east, or west — grasping its consequences can aid you in adhering to yourself while confronting life’s trials and tribulations, be they momentous or insignificant. By adhering to your moral compass, you can ensure that the choices you make are consistent with your convictions and ideals.


    Having a moral sense of direction is essential for living, as it allows us to take action and remain on the right track. It can be determined by looking within yourself to identify your values and beliefs or through external sources such as religious texts or societal norms. Examples of strong moral compasses are those that remain consistent over time despite changing circumstances, while what causes a moral compass to change could be due to personal growth or experiences. 

    Ultimately, our moral compass will shape our future self and determine which direction we take in life — so it’s important always to ask ourselves: “What does my moral compass tell me?”

    Where to Go From Here

    I hope you found this short guide useful on the vital nature of a strong moral compass.

    This article is based on an episode of Passion Struck with John R. Miles, one of the 50 most inspirational podcasts of 2022.

    Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or your favorite podcast platform.



    John R. Miles

    John R. Miles is renowned globally as a leader, speaker, educator, and veteran's advocate, specializing in intentional behavior change, leadership, and personal mastery. He is the founder and CEO of Passion Struck and hosts one of the top health podcasts, Passion Struck with John R. Miles. His mission is to empower individuals to live intentional lives, celebrate their successes, and recognize their importance in the world. He reaches millions of people annually through his social media posts, podcast, and YouTube channels, enabling them to enhance their personal responsibility, productivity, creativity, and mastery. If you would like to read more of John's articles, you can do so either on medium or his personal blog. https://medium.com/@JohnRMiles https://johnrmiles.com/blog/ Here is link to the podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/passion-struck-with-john-r-miles/id1553279283
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    Dan Gilfry

    My moral compass is stuck on;
    "Trust nobody"
    "Kill your enemy before he kills you!"

    Whether that is North, South, East or West
    I neither know nor care!

    Amy Williams

    Such helpful guidance- Thank you!


    I disagree with what you say about peoples feelings. This struggle has always been there for me. If someone asks me a question I answer based on what is my truth. Then I would be shunned. So, I changed myself based on their feelings or what I percieved they felt. That removed both of our truth. Don't ask if you don't want my truth because I do not have time to figure out what you feel and respond the way I think you want.


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