How do you determine value? Whether consciously or subconsciously, we attach value to all things in life. People, places, and things have value. Actions have value. Words have value. Situations have value. Ideas and feelings have value. Positive or negative, great or small, all things are assessed with the concept of value.
Value is always determined by the individual as an indication of his or her priorities in a specific moment in a specific context. Sure, we can say that groups agree upon certain values. For instance, gold traders agree upon the price of gold on any given day. But I can guarantee you that even a gold trader’s gold wedding ring is worth a whole helluva lot more to him on his wedding day than on the day he finds out his wife is leaving him. The tricky thing about value is that the commodity usually remains the same—a bar of gold is a bar of gold is a bar of gold, with the same properties and characteristics, the same features and functions—and yet its value is constantly changing. So how do you determine value?
Reputation is one of the intangible ideas that is determined 100% by the application of subjective value, and the concept of reputation is highly relevant to this blog. Your reputation is critical to your success, in any venue or venture. What is your reputation worth to you? Do you make a point to be aware of it? Do you work on it? Do you invest in it? Do you have integrity? What are you worth to other people? How can you know?
- How do people react to you when you tell them your goals? If you tell people you are going to create a new program, or start a business, or even just throw a party, do they trust that it’s a done deal and start planning accordingly? Or do they peer at you out of the corner of their eyes with a look that says, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard that before”? Of course, there will always be haters who meet every “I have a great idea” with a sarcastic “Yeah right,” but they’re no more than losers who realize their insignificant worth to the universe—on the balance sheet of life, they are spoilage… rat damage to be written off… blowback from the toilet flush of life… scraps whose cosmic purpose is to give winners the perspective of just how valuable they really are.
- What is a promise worth to you? Do you believe your own promises? Do others? A promise isn’t often associated with a value, especially a monetary value, but it absolutely has one. A promise made by one person will produce laughter, while a promise from another person will produce enough trust to motivate people to invest millions of dollars. What are your promises worth?
- What is the value that you place on yourself? Do you take your own goals seriously? When you make a promise to yourself, does it mean anything?
In the world of business, we regularly take inventory of our physical holdings in order to understand the value of our position. We don’t simply assess what we have and do not have, but we also evaluate—assign value to—those items. Taking a personal inventory is a great technique to keep yourself on the path to achievement, too. Where can you increase your efficiency? Where do you need to add value? Just as we make capital investments in inventory in the business world so that we have products that are desirable to consumers, so should we make strides in our personal lives so that we are valuable to ourselves and society.
When I write out a training program for myself, I consider it a binding contract. I know that, come hell or high water, I will follow it to the T. One of the biggest issues that I’ve had to address is that, if I identified a flaw in a program after I had started it, I wouldn’t make the appropriate adjustments because it felt like breach of contract. So I devised a system where I could allow myself to change things up without mind-fucking myself into second-guessing my decision. All changes made had to have an extensive rationale logged. Then after a short period I will review the rationale and see if the problem being addressed by the change had been fixed. If not then I would again revise my strategy.
It is imperative to your training program that you value yourself. Take your reputation seriously and invest in it. Take others’ perception of you into account as you’re making decisions. Live your life secure in the pride of integrity—it’s an insurance policy against losing your own personal value. Live wide open and honest. Success is never more fragile than when the person who achieves it is yoked to false value. People only reap the rewards of a good reputation as long as they deserve that reputation and keep their promises.
And don’t worry—even if you are not some sterling example of morality, people can still find value in you through the principle of WYSIWYG, what you see is what you get. I knew a man in college who told people, “You might not be able to trust me, but you can always trust me to be me.” His opening line with girls was, “You should run away now,” followed by, “I’ll be the biggest mistake you ever loved to make.” He was open and honest, and he always gave people the right to decide for themselves. He’s now a very successful lawyer.
Take a careful inventory of yourself. Spend some time with it so that you feel your own weight, getting a sense of yourself as a product in the universal market. Then, begin taking steps to increase your value daily—do a couple things with that intent every day. Hold yourself accountable, and demand that others do, as well. Tell people your goals and ambitions so that your reputation is on the line and contingent upon your follow-through. Accomplishing one discrete goal is not the end game—as soon as you accomplish one goal, set another, and use this strategy for every arena of your life. The pride in accomplishing a single goal is nothing compared to the glory of becoming a person who has adopted the habit of achieving all goals. This habit of constantly pursuing goals is the horsepower that will carry you through the race of life. Constantly polish the trophies your life provides—no one trophy is ever enough. And for Pete’s sake, if you take inventory and find that you’re living in a deficit, build up your stock immediately.
Leave any comment, question, or suggestion here on the blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to continue this discussion or pursue my online coaching. I would love to hear from you.
“Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the center of it all.”—Robert M. Pirsig