Becoming A Man Of Value
“Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” —William Shakespeare.
As cliché as this quote may be there is some truth to it. Greatness is the result of the good you bring to the world when you positively impact the lives of others. You impact the world when you provide value to others, but what is value?
First, what is “value”? I do not mean “value” morally or philosophically but in more of an economic sense. A definition of “value” from the Webster dictionary defines value as the relative worth, utility or importance of something. Something you should note is the use of the word “relative worth”. This means that some things are more valuable than others. This also means that somethings have a different value depending on the individuals involved.
There are two types of value; Objective Value and Subjective Value. These terms are fairly self-explanatory. Subjective Value is the value something has to a specific person, and this can vary from person to person. For example, a family heirloom is worth more to those in the family than to a stranger. Objective Value is the inherent worth of something or a collectively agreed-upon value. These two definitions are quite distinct. For example; gold has objective value, but currency only has value to those in the country.
To succeed economically in a free market, it is important to be able to distinguish between Objective Value and Subjective Value and utilize them appropriately.
I have been in a couple of start-ups, and I have taken courses that are designed to help a person start their own business. One of the major reasons many start-ups fail is because they could not differentiate between subjective and objective value.
Imagine you are about to start your own business. You have got a great idea for a good or service, and you were successful in building it, but when you finally release the product, you are surprised that it is not selling as well as you thought it would. Why does that happen? Basically, what you thought was valuable to you is not as valuable to your consumers.
I believe the difference between the subjective and the objective is the emotional attachment. Emotional attachment favors a more biased judgment, and believe me when you’ve worked on a product for so long you see it in your dreams, you will develop an emotional attachment to it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with developing an emotional attachment to most things, but you will need to be aware of it and its potential influence in your judgments, especially in a commercial setting.
There is a theory that states that the value of a good is not determined by any inherent property of the good, nor by the amount of labor necessary to produce the good, but instead value is determined by the importance an acting individual places on a good for the achievement of his desired ends, this is referred to as the Subjective Theory of Value.
This theory basically says that the value of a product is based on how useful that product is to its intended consumer. In today's market, this is mostly true but not entirely.
“Time is money”. I am sure that you are familiar with this phrase. In a society where people are paid for their time, this statement is commonplace, but it distorts people’s sense of value. Most believe that one’s time has monetary value, but it does not. Your time is priceless to you, but not really to others. This links to the idea that the amount of time or effort you put into something should dictate its value, this is also false.
This is a line of thinking that basically counters any effort you make to create something of actual value. Time does not have monetary value unless you invest it to create something of value but to know the proper place to invest it you need to understand what has objective value.
Western society has a capitalistic structure, and it is within this structure we operate whether we like it or not. The capitalist market operates on objective value. As mentioned earlier, objective value is simply a collective value, meaning that there must be some form of consensus for anything that possesses objective value. In other words, how much would the majority of people pay for a product, and this includes manual labor.
What makes a person valuable in an economical sense?
The skill sets a person possesses makes him valuable, and the more the better. When there is a high demand for a skill not many people have, it raises the value of that skill- simple supply and demand. A good strategy would be to learn a wide array of skills, simple or complex, but try to mix in High-Value Skills.
Many assume learning ends when you complete your formal education, it does not. You could actually argue that true learning begins after our formal education because schools barely teach us how to learn and now it is up to us to choose what we learn. We could concede ourselves to a “secure” 9 – 5 life or venture out to tackle the unknown.
The more valuable skills you learn the more valuable a person you become. As you age, you become more set in your ways and gain more responsibilities, but when you are young, you have the time to learn. Here are 5 ways to become a more valuable individual.
Always be motivated to improving yourself in all dimensions- physical, emotional, mental, social and economical.
Commit an hour a day to learning something. Learn something new at least once a month
Constantly try to expand your skill sets (Interests and hobbies help).
Think about yourself and where you are lacking as objectively as possible.
Set small weekly goals that involve stepping out of your comfort zone. What is something that you want to do but it scares you?