How we value anything is how we value everything. Or should I say, “How you value yourself is how you value everything else.” If you think little of yourself, you will think of little else. The more I think about the concept of value, the more I realized how important it is to all aspects of our lives.
For example, our value to the workforce or employer is limited after college. We know stuff in theory but have limited experience. Theory, combined with experience, is the beginning of value creation. Our value in a new job is limited in the beginning but deepens as we gain experience in the field, theoretical understanding of the work, and organizational understanding.
It would appear that the first step in delivering value is conceptually understanding value. Value defined as a noun is “the regard that something is held to deserve; the usefulness of something” and as a verb is “to estimate the monetary worth of (something) and consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial; to have a high opinion of.” In every role, our value matters. As a parent, it will be measured by our ability to raise independent, contributing, and thoughtful young adults. As an employee or contributor to the free market economy, our value will be measured based on our ability to help our company earn more or be more profitable.
How do you value you? What are you?
Flesh, bones, tissues, muscles, blood, organs, and that is about all. Oh, wait, you have thoughts, feelings, and emotions. You are able to experience pain and pleasure. Where do these intangible aspects of our being come from? We make them up, of course. Our thoughts and feelings are conditioned through our perception of every experience. What do I mean by perception? Two people can have the same experience and completely different sets of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. How can this be? They have two completely different frames of reference. Their experiences and programmed responses to those experiences dictate their thoughts or feelings. We are all programmed. You might strenuously object to the idea that your perceptions are fabricated based on your experiences but assure you it is true.
Do you know what is awesome? You can reprogram your perception. You can choose to alter your current reality to make it a new reality. I am talking about is the reality in your head. Physical reality can only be changed by effort and time. Your mental reality can be altered at any given moment.
How does an inability to alter our mental reality affect our ability to deliver value?
We allow our thoughts to define us.
Long ago, the majority of us abdicated control over our thoughts. We have unknowingly allowed our emotions and feelings (mainly based on pain and pleasure) to dictate our perception. Our perception will always dictate our response or reaction because we have no control. “Wait a minute,” you say, “I am in control,” and that is exactly the story you tell yourself. Why? Because that is what you want to believe. The reality is you must take back control of your perception.
We react versus respond.
Thanks to our programmed perception of reality, we believe it is important that we defend it. Our predisposition to validate our perception triggers a reaction versus a response. What is the difference between reaction and response? A reaction is programmed and automatic. A response is contemplated and rationalized. In some cases, a rationalized response is no better than a reaction. The reason is that we often remain under the influence of our perception when articulating our response. The ideal response will be focused on the desired outcome and 360° review of the situation.
We seek minimal effort for maximum reward.
It is not possible to deliver exceptional value when we are making the minimal effort. People want something for nothing. Something for nothing means we are stealing. Our perception won’t recognize it as stealing because we have justified our effort or lack of effort. The world owes us nothing, but here is where the years of societal narrative and the marketing engine has corrupted our perception. Every day we are bombarded by messages from politicians and corporations about what we deserve. These institutions serve their own needs for votes and sales by pandering to our primitive minds. Remember, the primitive mind seeks to conserve energy at all costs, so if we can get something for nothing, we take the bait. The bait leads to dependence, and dependence leads to desperation.
Never leave any aspect of your future in anyone else’s care. It will be impossible for them to put your needs first. Bottom-line – If you want it, you have to get up and get it.
We are inconsistent.
Our inability to get our mind right will negatively impact our value. Growing our value takes consistent effort. Showing up consistently to deliver value will make all the difference in your long term success. Even if you don’t “feel” like it today, get over your feeling and do the workout, job, parenting, etc. Our perception is that we deserve a break. The reality is that we have earned a break when the work is done. The market, relationships, and society only reward value. Want more? Bring more value, learn to earn, and show up consistently.
We admire people and companies that deliver tremendous value. We almost worship them as though their accomplishments are supernatural. We tell ourselves these stories, so what we don’t feel bad about our lack of progress. If you dig into these successful and admired people and institutions, you will discover that “the secret” to their success is that they determined their reality by managing their perception. They responded instead of reacting. They did the work necessary to get the job done, and never expected something for nothing. They showed up consistently and delivered value. They learned from their mistakes and used the lessons to provide greater and greater value. Not happy with where you are in life? Alter your focus from getting value to giving value, and your life will never be the same.