Defining Value

valueNo matter what you are doing today – whether you are working for money or spending time with a loved one – you have the potential to create value.  That term is a powerful term – create value.

At the heart of real life there is the beauty of creating value.  Value has been so distorted in our generation.
Too much of the time value is being equated to the market capitalisation of a company, the return on investment or simply monetary value.

Have you recently paused to think of this simple term – value?  Something that is valuable is something to be desired, cherished and protected.  Indeed I think that most of us feel like that about our bank accounts and that is why banks go to great lengths to make sure our online banking detail is protected.  It has created an industry focused simply on protecting the value of the banks and their clients.

Have you recently gone to great lengths to protect anything?  The first, and perhaps most obvious one I think many people will protect is their job.  A job is something that generates and income and this income (money) in turn is something worth protecting.  The reality however is that many people willingly sacrifice their time (finite resource) in order to gain more money (something you can always get back).  As I sit here I am not in an office.  By choice I do not rush to work, answer calls, manage things and keep up a high pace.  Perhaps this is very idealistic and I am aware that life is hard.

In my past I have spent many hours in a car or on airports in order to “get the job done” and I know what the challenges are.  My current situation might also not last forever but I am constantly seeking situations that will bring more meaning.  I value this!  This awareness helps me make decisions.  It is awareness that is rooted in eternal principles that helps me make decisions that I feel comfortable will make me satisfied during my last moments in life.

We therefore happily live with less stuff but with so much more joy.  And no matter who breaks in or robs the bank they cannot steal my joy unless I allow them to.

When I encounter new people on a daily basis I am always looking to see if they understand the difference between a life dedicated to receiving value and one that is centered on adding value.  One of the most inspiring things in this world is a person that is utilising their highest abilities to make a contribution to society.  People like this are leaders.  They don’t have to be in charge of a large organisation or lead hundreds of followers.  They make a daily choice to let their actions and life be of value to those in their sphere of influence.  It is a choice not to complain but create solutions.  A choice not be an obstacle but an asset.

To what lengths do we go to protect things like relationships, health, growth, peace, joy and fulfillment.  Perhaps because these things seem so ethereal, intangible and difficult to quantify we also do not know how to protect it.  Our focus therefore turns to the quantifiable and tangible – hours worked, deadlines met and financial growth.

How do you define value?  Recently I sat down with my wife and quantified some of my growth that related to how I interact with her and with my son – things that are very valuable to me.  So for example I can count the amount of times I feel much more relaxed and present when I am with them.  I tend to live in the future  and also quite internally so my mind is always thinking, analysing and spotting trends.  When I am with them I can therefore be irritated or frustrated with their realities and the ‘burden’ this places on me.  In actual fact this is not a burden but a privilege and opportunity to learn how to let go of my strong will and focus and simply be.

This growth has been a priority for me and there are two ways to measure my improvement.  The first is simple: Feedback – I ask my wife how does she experience me currently with specific reference to things like does she feel that I am fully present when I am at home and to what degree does she feel valued?  Secondly I can do an internal check (and write down if I want to) how many times a week do I experience moments when I feel a close connection with my wife and son.  From my recent experience it is clear that there is an identifiable  increase of connection between myself and my family.  Now that’s growth!  That is valuable!

Perhaps you have different challenges and feel like this basic example that I have given above is completely irrelevant to your situation.  Perhaps, but there’s always a better way.  Just ask yourself: “What do I value and how can I protect it?”.