The Story

Things at home are changing, and part of that change was moving a bunch of stuff out the house. Some of that stuff is alcohol, something I hate. It’s standing on the dining room table at the moment, and I ask why it hadn’t been thrown out yet.

My mom’s response was that she couldn’t throw it out, because she can’t waste money. And my response was that the money was already wasted when it was purchased, and so it wouldn’t be wasted when we throw it out.

But this got me thinking…

The following thoughts

Why do I feel it’s a waste at the point of purchase, but my mom only considers it waste when we throw it away? Well, basically because I place no value on alcohol.

Let me explain.

In my mental ecosystem there is a hierarchy that determines which has more value. In my case, there were 3 items:

  * space
  * money
  * alcohol

In my mind, the money is more valuable than the alcohol. Ie: I would not spend money on alcohol, because I’d rather have the money. But in this instance, I couldn’t take the money, so let’s review; there are actually only 2 items:

  * space
  * alcohol

Would I rather have the space on the table, or the alcohol? Quite obviously, the space. So the logical ranking for me is:

  1. Money
  2. Space
  3. Alcohol

I can’t have the money, that’s not an option. So in the debate between space and alcohol, I choose the space.

My mom’s ranking is more like this:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Money
  3. Space

And because of this, we have the alcohol and hence won’t sacrafice that in the pursuit of space. However, even though she’s decided that she doesn’t want this alcohol, the money that it was worth is more valuable than the space as well, and hence removing the alcohol to obtain the space equates as a waste of money.

The ranking system

I’m not sure if I’ve explained that clearly or not, but the point is, we all have a ranking system in our minds, even though it may be subconcious.

Now, I must be clear: this is not about alcohol, money or space. But rather about the value we perceive in things.

Consider your values

So now that I’ve explained my thinking, what do you value? Because every choice you make is probably based on that list of values.

There are things that one values in a material sense; objects, services etc. There are character traits; like morality and ethics. There are intangibles; like emotional stability, comfort, etc.

In each area of our lives we have a choice to make as to what we place more value on.

The trade-off

So now that you have a ranking system, how do you actually get what you value? Money…well, no. Because you don’t start off with money (unless you inherit money, or something like that.)

You have only two things to actually trade:

  * time
  * talents

All you have are those, and hence everything that you value comes at the expense of those two things.

If you want material possessions, you trade time and talent for skills by studying or learning or training. You then trade time and skills for money by working. And then trade money for stuff.

Now let’s say you don’t want to spend as much time as it requires to obtain money. You could always sacrafice some morality and cheat, lie or steal - you see, it’s all down to what you value.

Re-evaluate your values

So, you know know what you have and what you want at the moment. Perhaps re-consider what you want, what you value. Are they things that are going to make your life worthwhile? That’s your decision to make. The best thing I can suggest is just give it some thought!