Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value
Today, I want to explore what exactly it means to be valuable. It’s important to note that Value has both intrinsic and extrinsic dimensions. We all carry intrinsic value as human beings. I’m a Christian and I believe that we are all God’s creation, made in His image and likeness. Because of this, we can call ourselves valuable, irrespective of superficial factors such as how much money we have or what clothes we wear. Extrinsic value, by contrast, can be described as the value that is assigned to you derived from external factors, such as what you wear, what car you drive etc.
How does the world value us?
What I've learned in my 21 years of living (I still have a lot to learn so take this with a pinch of salt), is that we get rewarded in terms of responsibility, opportunities and financial gains based on how useful we are. This is a well-researched theory known as human capital developed by Becker (1964). For any budding academics that want a deeper dive into HC theory, you can read more about it here. But in simple terms, yes we are valuable and we've been given gifts and innate ability but the question is can we apply that to reap fruits, in other words, produce results? If we do not know how to apply our skills to become relevant and needed, then unfortunately we might be disappointed with what we're given in return.
This is something I've experienced firsthand. I talked about a personal anecdote on the podcast episode relating to how we get rewarded based on our usefulness within a specific context.
"We live in a world where there are two football teams which represent two companies. Each captain is the CEO of the company and each captain starts to pick their team. The first player that is picked will be the person who is of most use to the team. Why? Because within the context of football, their skills can be applied to bring about results on the scoreboard. In the eyes of the captain or CEO, they’re are the most valuable. Then the second pick will be the second person who's most useful to the team. Now, not to say that the last person getting picked has no value, is that in that specific football context their gifts, their skills, their talents might not be as useful and needed.”
This applies to most sectors or niches. To be of value you need to be consciously aware of your ability and work to communicate your relevance to the individual that requires your skills. Find your niche, develop your skills and figure out how to be applied so that you can be the first pick. This is what I’ve been working on for the last three years and I’ve seen an increase in my demand in the marketplace i.e. that platform where supply and demand meet that determines your wage.
What does it mean to be valuable?
So, what does it mean to be valuable? I like to break it down into these three facets.
To be consciously aware of your skills so you can apply them to yield repeatable results
It’s important to know what you are good at and double down on that so you can increase the value you can provide and raise your income as a result.
To be perceived by an organisation or society as useful and relevant
It’s not enough for you to know what your strengths are, external parties need to find your skills to be relevant to what they’re trying to achieve.
To be pursued and rewarded based on your ability to solve problems and provide solutions
When you’re a master at providing solutions you will never be ignored but continually be invited to solve problems.
Becker, Gary S., Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education (1964). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1496221
Listen to the full episode on a platform of your choice: https://linktr.ee/valuablepodcast