Friday, October 26, 2012

Axiom 28: Inherent Value

"Strive not to be a success , but rather to be of value." -Albert Einstein

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
-Oscar Wilde

A few years ago I was visiting a company down in Houston that I purchase a lot of material from for my job. I was utterly fascinated by the size and scope of the products that they had on the shelf. As I walked through their huge facility I couldn't help but ask a lot of what I thought at the time were stupid questions.

"Wow, how many of those do you keep in stock?" I asked.

"If we don't have at least 20,000 of those on the shelf at all times we're in trouble." he replied.

"That's an incredible amount of inventory for just one item!" I responded.

As we continued the tour my eyes were drawn to a part I had never seen,

"I've never seen that before, how much does that sell for?" I asked.

"Whatever the market will bear." He responded.

"Give me a ballpark figure." I asked.

"I can't. It's really whatever the market will bear. See, the owner of this company places a huge emphasis on inventory." he continued, "That's why when you call us you know we'll have what you want in stock. Depending on the situation the market will dictate the price."

It took awhile for the real meaning of that conversation to sink in but it finally did. Everything has an inherent value, even you and me. That value is not static, it fluctuates, and scarcity is main determining factor in value.

When it comes to buying a product or service something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. It doesn't matter what the price tag says. It only matters what someone is willing to actually pay and scarcity means that people are usually willing to pay more.

So look at yourself like a commodity for a moment. Are you marketing yourself the same way everyone else is or do you have something different to offer the world? As you progress in life you acquire skills that give you a differentiating factor from the rest of the public. Market these skills and use them to your advantage because ultimately the market will dictate your value regardless.