Two Sides of Value

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to value something.

More specifically, how can you prove that you value something?

Let’s explore that word.


Let’s set aside the economic definition and focus instead on the following:

As a noun, value is the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

As a verb, value is considering something to be important or beneficial.

Put another way, value is both static (when defined as a noun) and dynamic (when defined as a verb).

The relationship between these two sides of value is quite interesting.

Let’s explore this using a relatively simple example.

Think of an object that you value.

In this case I want to put one tiny parameter around it.

The object must be something that someone else can also buy or get somehow.

I’ve written before about my rowing machine, so I will use that.

I value the heck out of my rowing machine.

Now let’s say you came over to my house, how can I prove to you that I value my rowing machine?

Well, let’s explore it from the two sides of value.

Using the static definition of value, it’s a relatively easy answer.

The fact that I own one should be your first clue. I also consider my rowing machine to be so important that if it broke tomorrow in a way that was unfixable, I would go out and buy a new one the following day. So if you came over next week and you saw a new rowing machine where the old one used to be, that might be an even more obvious clue.

Using the dynamic definition of value, the answer is also obvious, but interestingly, not as easy to prove, because it’s somewhat invisible.

I value the heck out of my rowing machine because I happen to love rowing.

But because I row alone, and I don’t invite friends over to just watch me row, it’s a bit harder for me to prove to you that I love rowing, and therefore really value my rowing machine.

The dynamic side of value is sometimes hidden.

Hidden doesn’t mean non-existent. It means hidden.

It means you need to work much harder to bring it to light.

There’s another important characteristic about the relationship between the two sides of value that might be obvious in this example.

The dynamic side can heavily influence the static side.

The more I row, the more valuable my rowing machine becomes to me.

Throughout this post I’ve referred to things.

Feel free to read this post again and replace something with someone.

Blue background white circle in the middle with two small yellow circles on the sides