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Know Your Value

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Creative Commons License photo credit: wilhei55

“So you think that money is the root of all evil?  Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?”  – Ayn Rand

We all have fears about money.  We don’t make enough of it,  we spend it too rapidly, and if we ever do get enough of it, we worry that one day it will dry up and the lifestyle that we are  living will be gone.

But, this fear of money is actually not a fear about money at all.  It’s a fear of your own value, or more specifically, that you lack value.  But, the great news is we all have value, however, we have to know what it is and how to communicate it to others.

Money Is Not Evil…Or Good

Money is just neutral.  It is simply a representation of value provided and value received.  The real currency isn’t the bill or the coin that you have in your wallet, but the value you provided to acquire that bill or coin (for instance, working at your job).  When you see a product or service that you find valuable, you exchange the representation of your value for the value that someone else is providing through their product or service (example: buying an ice cream cone).  Therefore, money is simply the exchange of value.

Stop thinking in terms of bills and coins and start thinking in terms of your own value.

Don’t Just Set The Table, Eat!

Chasing after money, rather than value, is like being really hungry, but instead of eating you settle for simply setting the table.  The appearance of food and eating is there, but your body hasn’t been nourished.

Instead of thinking how you can make more money (being profit driven) think about how you can be of greater value (being value driven).  Knowing how you are valuable and how to demonstrate that to others will serve you well.  When other people believe that you are valuable to them they will want to give you what you are worth (if they can).  This is the real position of security.

How To Find Your Value

Do you know how you are valuable?  Doing some self-reflection can help you find it.  Think about something you desire to create.  Are you a scientist doing research “creating” knowledge?  Or, do you have an idea on how to change the process by which your office does business, thereby “creating” efficiency and organization?  Maybe you are an artist creating sculptures?

Next, you have to figure out how your desired creation fits the needs of other people.  This is tricky, and you may have to modify your creation.  Remember, it’s not all about you. 🙂  Even the great Renaissance artists had to paint and sculpt for the wealthiest benefactor of the day – the Catholic Church.  Creating for the Pope may not have been their ideal situation but they were able to create great works of art and leave a bit of themselves in their artwork. (And, on an up-note, these works are considered some of mankind’s greatest masterpieces.)

Discover how you are valuable and demonstrate that to others.  Money isn’t the root of anything, but value is the root of everything.

Have you discovered how you are valuable?  How would you teach others to find their own value?  Feel free to leave your answers in the comments section.

Note:  This post is part of a group writing project organized by Jeremy at Insight Writer on “Creating Value”.


{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Daphne January 26, 2009, 11:33 pm

    Hi Amanda,

    This is a great post, and I can always use a reminder to think less about money and more about being able to offer value, that others will exchange money for. I’ll take your advice to reflect a little on how to create value so I won’t need to worry about money. Thanks for this valuable perspective.

    Daphne’s last blog post..How Does Your Life Script Read?

  • Hunter Nuttall January 26, 2009, 11:35 pm

    I’m currently writing my own post for Jeremy’s project, so value has been on my mind lately! Thanks for the link.

    I think it’s important to remember that money is just paper with ink on it. It has value only because society agrees that it has value. It’s very convenient to use it as a medium of exchange, but it’s just a symbol of the underlying value, not the value itself.

    So what’s the significance of the picture? I took it to mean that someone might think their work is worth 6 units of value, but society might think it’s only worth 1 unit! A reminder that value is in the eye of the beholder. 🙂

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..ThunderCats: Setting Kids Up For Disappointment?

  • Lance January 27, 2009, 7:36 am

    Hi Amanda,
    Value…how important this is. And finding that spot, that thing where we are providing real value, and it’s connected with our soul – the spot where true authenticity falls in this whole spectrum. Amanda, you’ve got me thinking this morning about where my real value comes from. I have some pretty good ideas on this – yet this also makes me question how I’m doing at making this brings real value – to the daily moments of my life.

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  • Liara Covert January 27, 2009, 2:16 pm

    Its so uplifting to remind people of their intrinsic value. As people remember what makes them who they are, they boost self-confidence and their growing enthusiasm is catching. This is a healthy attitude that inspires others, just like you!

    Liara Covert’s last blog post..Cherie Carter-Scott & 10 Rules for Being Human

  • Amanda Linehan January 27, 2009, 10:03 pm

    Daphne – Yes, it seems like what we should be pursuing is money (since that buys us things that we need and want), but we have to remember what is behind money. 🙂

    Hunter – Your welcome. I agree, remembering that money is only a symbol is really important to remember. To me, when I saw the picture, I thought about how people who don’t know that they are valuable (or how they are valuable) are simply gambling. 😉 Interesting perspective on the dice!

    Lance – Exactly, value comes from our soul. Being connected to it is vital for us!

    Liara – Absolutely, everyone has intrinsic value and it’s a shame that not everyone knows that 🙂

  • Christopher January 27, 2009, 10:29 pm

    “Money isn’t the root of anything, but value is the root of everything.”

    I love that – Can I get that inscribed on my checkbook cover?

    Christopher’s last blog post..Passage – A Video Game with Soul

  • Trey - Swollen Thumb Entertainment January 28, 2009, 5:24 am

    Amanda,

    Awesome points that you bring up! I like your metaphor of chasing money is like setting the table without eating. Why chase after money unless we have a deep need for it?

    I am trying to increase my value with my website, in the hopes that I can one day receive value in return.

    Thanks for the insight!

  • Amanda Linehan January 28, 2009, 9:35 am

    Christopher – Haha! That would be a good inscription. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to do it – not one of the ways I provide value. 😉

    Trey – Thanks for the comment 🙂 Good luck with your website.

  • LifeMadeGreat - Juliet January 28, 2009, 2:11 pm

    Hi Amanda

    That is so true what you say about money being actaully value. I think that changing our perception around finances to that would make quite a big differences in our lives!

    Thank you for the new perspective.

    Juliet

    LifeMadeGreat – Juliet’s last blog post..Overcoming The Barriers Of Introversion: Starting The Process

  • Amanda Linehan January 28, 2009, 6:20 pm

    Juliet – Yes, being able to change the way we think about money can change the way we act towards it 🙂

  • Juan Bielsa January 28, 2009, 7:01 pm

    With money we can save lives, literally! Or we can see how a person can start to smile again after much pain, to be happy again, literally!

    So, I think money in many cases is a wonderful, divine tool, literally!

    But if we use money selfishly, if we, as you correctly say, don’t add value to others and ourselves through the use of money, then money can be a devishly tool.

    It is a blessing when one person, like me, discovers blogs like yours. I’ll add a link to it from a great list of motivational blogs in a blog of mine.

    Thank you for your generosity and congratulations for your great creativity and insight.

    Juan Bielsa

  • Amanda Linehan January 29, 2009, 8:37 pm

    Juan – You’ve got it right, money is a tool for us to use. We can use it rightly and wrongly. And, thank you for the link on your blog and the compliment. I appreciate it 🙂

  • Arswino January 29, 2009, 11:45 pm

    Hi Amanda, great reflection here. I absolutely agree with your thought that money isn’t the root of anything, but value is the root of everything. Money could be an evil in the wrong hand but it could be an angel in the right hand.
    Thanks for sharing, Amanda.

    Arswino’s last blog post..Sacrifice Play

  • Amanda Linehan January 31, 2009, 12:23 am

    Arswino – Exactly, money can be used many different ways rightly or wrongly. 🙂

  • Giovanna Garcia January 31, 2009, 4:03 am

    Hi Amanda

    Great post on value. We all have to thinking about what kind of value to we bring into our business, our family, our relationship. Every where we go in our life what value do we bring?
    Important question!

    Thank you,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

    Giovanna Garcia’s last blog post..Finding your long lost family with Imperfect Action!

  • Amanda Linehan February 1, 2009, 11:20 am

    Giovanna – Yes, it’s important to keep in mind at all times what value we are bringing to others. 🙂

  • Andrew February 9, 2009, 9:36 am

    Hi Amanda,

    An interesting and thought provoking post.

    It is all too easy to focus on the balance of our bank account or investment portfolio. It is less easy to ask ourselves how we can better use our skills, talents and abilities to maximize both the value we create and the service which we provide to others.

    Yet, I bet when we grow old, we will not look back and judge our degree of satisfactions with what we have achieved by our bank balance. Rather, we will look at things such as the experiences we have had, what we have created and achieved, the relationships we have developed and how we have added value in the lives of others.

    Andrew’s last blog post..How healthy is Apple’s disclosure?

  • Amanda Linehan February 10, 2009, 10:14 pm

    Andrew – I agree with you wholeheartedly. Looking back on our life we will think about a lot of things, but our bank balance probably will not be one of them. 🙂

  • Benoit David October 21, 2009, 11:11 am

    Money derives from value, and value derives from need. We want money because we can satisfy our own need. So finance is very important, unless you live alone out there in the wilderness, surviving with what’s out there.

    So money is only a representation of value, which is very useful for “trading”. But we also have “satisfaction” (for lack of a better word) as a representation of value. When we do something that pleases us, that “something” has value to us, and its value is the satisfaction we got from it. That “satisfaction” is also something we can trade: help someone (provide value to them) and they will be satisfied (they will value your help).

    Very interesting…

  • Amanda Linehan October 22, 2009, 8:11 pm

    Hi Benoit – I get what you are saying. Very thoughtful way to look at value (and why things are valuable to us). 🙂

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