What Comes First?…

March 28, 2011

The title of this post is not a reference to that age old question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”


The question hits a little closer to home. I simply want to ask you, “What came first, your worth or your value?” How you answer this question is very important because it sets the premise for nearly everything else you do and reach for in life.

What do you mean, dude?

Because we use the terms worth and value interchangeably in conversation, the razor thin difference in meaning is often overlooked. One precedes the other and actually defines it existence.

Let me give you an illustration of the difference between worth and value.

Farmer Sherman, nearing retirement age, wanted to get out of the farming business, altogether. Devoting so much time to his profession and seeing so little of the world, he wanted simply to sell his 350-acre farm and spend time traveling. His asking price for land, buildings and equipment was a modest $1.5M. Since the farm had been in the family for generations and had no mortgage, he believed that getting the asking price would wipe out any small debts he owed, while leaving him plenty left over to sail the seven seas.

After being on the market for one and a half years, farmer Sherman decided to come down on his asking price just a bit. He was devastated, however, when coming all the way down to $300K still produced no buyers.

But one day…

While trying to pull up an old tree stump, something amazing happened. As he and a few farm hands were just about to free the last stubborn tree root from the ground, a big geyser of the blackest water started spewing all over the place. After all the commotion had died down and everyone finished spitting out the foul tasting water, someone shouted, “Hey, this stuff is oil.”

Guess what happened next?

The table quickly turned, as the news spread quickly.

Word went around all the surrounding communities that farmer Sherman had hit the big one by finding oil on his property. The sale sign came down, and people poured in from all over to buy the place. A foreign investor even threw in a bid of $35M, sight unseen. In the end, farmer Sherman ended up maintaining the ownership rights to his property. However, he did hire an attorney to draw up paperwork to sell the mineral rights to the land for a whopping $280M, with a 5% residual interest in all oil revenues and any other minerals discovered on the property.

What’s my point?

The ‘worth’ of the farmland was just as priceless before the discovery as it was afterward. Just because no one knew that the oil was there diminishes in no way the worth of what was always there. You see…worth is intrinsic, and it is not diminished by surrounding conditions. And neither does our ignorance of the truth or existence of certain things take away one iota from the worth that God has assigned to the creation of a thing.

Worth (yours included) goes in at production. The manufacturer assigns worth based upon his cost to bring a particular thing into existence. There are many factors that determine worth, but the overall effect is that…once assigned, it remains forever.

Value on the other hand is very different!

The value of a thing (to include your value and mine) is determined by how many others in the marketplace also want a particular item. You see, Mr. Sherman’s asking price went from $1.5M all the way down to $300K simply because no one saw, at the time, that the property’s value was equal to what he was asking. Therefore, it just sat there.

But when oil was discovered on the property, all of a sudden, the perceived value changed. In this changed situation, farmer Sherman was then able to renegotiate the terms and conditions of his offer.

You’re probably asking, “What does that have to do with me?”


Because when you don’t know your WORTH, you will compromise your marketplace VALUE. You will go to the bargaining table and close on deals that are not in your best interest.

When you don’t know your worth, you wind up in relationships with people you would not otherwise, if you knew the priceless gifts that are in you. Ignorance of what’s been vested in you at birth will cause you to accept incomes and wages that are way below your actual market value.

So you see, worth precedes value. Worth helps us to set to proper value on the things we take into the market to exchange with others. And if you don’t know your true worth, what price are you putting on your talents and abilities, as you cart them to the market?

I will explore in upcoming posts the importance of knowing your worth and value, because understanding of these concepts is crucial to your not being cheated out of life’s rich bounty.

Remember that what you have is of value to others. They will get it out of you one way or another. Why not give it to them on your terms by knowing your worth so that you can properly set the right value on your wares.

I’d like to know your thoughts. Please weigh-in by leaving your comments!






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