When there is change away from the soggy Western secular values, if often seems to be for the worst. Islamic militants have a firm set of values, and are willing to die for their beliefs, but their values stem more from passionate religious ideology mixed with a lack of secular opportunities than careful, reasoned independent thinking. So where can one find those who combine careful independent thought with decisive action; not thinking without action or acting without thinking? Where is there intelligent debate and discussion? You should take what is worth taking from the outside but the most important discussion that takes place is ultimately with yourself.
One must turn inward. Sit down. Turn off the TV. Close your browser. Don’t check your email. Think. What is most important to you over the course of your life? Why? What will bring you not pleasure but a sense of satisfaction? Why? Are you comfortable seeking that goal without the approval of friends or family? What will happen if you fail? What are you willing to give up to achieve that goal? What will you tell yourself when you have setbacks? Is this something that you really want, or just that you are expected by others to want? At the end of your life, will you look back and think this was time well spent, a goal worth pursuing?
Valuism can be used to understand a society by asking what really motivates various people’s actions, and what tradeoff are they willing to make. On an individual level, it can be used to ask the same questions. In each case, the key is to be honest; honest in trying to figure out what motivates others, and honest in figuring out what you value. You should approach it the way an honest scientist does, seeking information from which to draw conclusions, not as someone who begins with the answer, and then just seeks to justify that answer. The first question to ask when trying to understand yourself or others is not “how do they make money?”, but rather “what do they really value”?