Does our worth equal our value?

Two clear plastic piggy banks one jammed full of pennies a the other empty on a black background, jealousy concept

Our true worth is a lot more that how much money we have, the size of our superannuation or pension plan, where we live, the things we own, or how much we earn.

Worth, otherwise known as our value, is both tangible and intangible. It is the sum of our intrinsic value within the society we live in, in terms of the contribution we have made – or are yet to make.

While it is customary to think of our worth in financial terms, our value is a lot more holistic in measure.

For example – some would suggest that a penniless person living on the streets holds little value.

However – Is this right?

Such a person’s worth or value is measured by the contribution they have made in the past, and may make in the future. They may have the opportunity to inspire just one other person not to fall into their world of despair, but to go on and achieve great things.

Consider a single parent struggling to raise a family on social welfare benefits, or on a minimum wage.

Life is tough financially but their perseverance and guidance may result in children who grow up and achieve greatness.

Just think of some people who started life with the odds stacked against them. People who went on to achieve something remarkable like the following examples:

  • Oprah Winfrey spent her early years being raised by her poor grandmother, wore dresses made from potato sacks, and went on to suffer years of domestic abuse.
  • Jim Carey lived in a VW bus before moving in to a tent in to his sister’s yard.
  • Michael Oher – whose life story inspired the movie ‘The Blindside’.
  • Charlie Chaplin, who with his younger brother, lived on the streets of London following the death of their father and their mother’s admission to a mental hospital.

There are thousands of examples of people who have made significant contributions to society in spite of their personal circumstances, and the ‘curve balls’ that life has thrown at them.

Yet sadly there are many more who have not had the same opportunity as the well-known celebrities who have made great names for themselves.

There is also the ‘quiet achievers’ (both living and dead). People whose lives have gone on to inspire countless millions. People like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, the recently departed Muhammad Ali, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Financial success is not the measure for these people’s success. Their care, compassion, and inspiration is the legacy they left behind. The world is a better place because they once lived here.

When we talk about wealth – think about it in terms of our value. What contribution are we making that may result in someone having an opportunity that might otherwise have been lost?

Moreover, when we pass a person in the streets who might appear less fortunate than us, let us spare a thought for them and their circumstances, and not be too quick to judge.

Let us ask ourselves; “What contribution can I make in order to leave the world a better place?”

Sadly – the western world seems to have become increasingly selfish and self-centred.

As we plan for our retirement years, we may find we have some time available that we can use for the betterment of our community. It is an opportunity to impart some of knowledge and skills, no matter how great or small, on to others.

It might just provide the opportunity for someone in more challenging circumstances to choose a different path for their life.


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