I thought about value this morning while I read The Greatest Salesman by Og Mandino. This month’s reading talks a lot about multiplying our value, and a lot of people take that as “make more money” or “work way harder” and I’m not convinced that this is what Mandino is referring to. Does how hard you work or how much money you make determine your value? Some people think this is the case, but I disagree.
He talks about a grain of wheat which becomes many grains once it’s planted – but I don’t think it’s just about having a bunch of kids, or even “duplicating” yourself in a business sense, even if that was a possibility. That particular concept sounds like putting cement on others to me.
He talks about setting goals, but are the goals really what gives you value?
So what is your value?
You have intrinsic value from being alive, being human, giving and receiving from others in your group. But there’s more:
A field of clay touched with the genius of man becomes a castle …
… cannot I do the same with the clay which bears my name?
It seems to me as if this is saying it’s what we do with ourselves that makes the difference. Sure, you can eat and sleep and go to the bathroom and have kids and interact with others of your kind and do whatever you need to in order to have and get those things comfortably. But is that any different than what animals do?
It’s the genius of man, our thinking, which improves and multiplies the basic value that we’re born with.
We all know those “field of clay” people – and I certainly don’t look down on those who have no aspirations other than to eat and have kids and such. Just like the field, they have intrinsic value. They are good and useful and even beautiful in their own right. But I don’t think that you’re here because that’s what you want to be. You want to become a castle, metaphorically speaking. You want your life to be grand. You want to be a refuge of safety, an inspiration, a tower of strength, the launching point of something new and exciting and wonderful. You have dreams of making the world around you better.
Today I surpass every action which I performed yesterday. I climb today’s mountain to the utmost of my ability yet tomorrow I climb higher than today, and the next higher than tomorrow. To surpass the deeds of others is unimportant; to surpass my own deeds is all.
A lot of people believe their best days – the times when they had the most value, the most worth – were when they were in high school, or some other point in the past. To me, this is just cement.
Multiplying your value
I believe that multiplying my value means multiplying the abilities I have inside. Being able to do more than I did yesterday, last week, last year. Being more of a person than I was. Having more inner strength, more kindness, more love.
Multiplying my value means increasing my courage.
It does take courage to multiply your value, I think. That little seed needs courage to emerge from its shell. If it makes the wrong choice as to when to emerge, does so too soon, it can’t go back in. On the other hand, if it waits too long, stays in the seed, refuses to come out, it rots. But if it takes the opportunity to emerge, and persists in doing so, it can become something amazing.