What are you worth?

I’ve been thinking about relationships quite a bit lately, and today has been a particularly contemplative day.  Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast on the value of time detailing, among other things, why certain people are justified in charging large amounts of money for their skill set (Forever Jobless, Season 2, Episode 49).  He gave an example of a plumber’s itemized bill for fixing a clog:

  • Hitting the pipe-$1.
  • Knowing where to hit the pipe-$199

The point he was trying to make is that people always balk at spending large amounts of money to get things corrected or streamlined, especially if afterwords it doesn’t seem like the fix took very long or needed any effort, but fail to realize the prior time and energy that went into gaining the knowledge necessary to make it that simple.  If someone has spent hours learning how to do something well and can provide you with a quality result, their asking price is ultimately worth more than your time spent muddling through trying to figure it out yourself.

To get to the point, I realized that this truth holds water for relationships as well.The only difference is, relationships and people are not bought with monetary funds (with certain exceptions, which is another conversation).

For the majority of people, relationships of one form or another are something that they desire.  Most of us eventually want to find a romantic partner to build our lives with; someone who supports us, enjoys life with us, and with whom we share similar interests and goals.  There are few relationships, however, that seem to truly embody this objective.  Which brings us to the question: If amazing relationships are something that everybody wants, why is it so hard to manifest?  Eventually, it all comes down to investment.

There are individuals in this world who have put time and energy into making themselves desirable by seeking out life experiences, actively working on themselves, and becoming well-versed in their field of choice.  These are people whose value quotient in a relationship is quite high.  Everyone wants to be with someone who is interesting, caring, and successful.  Not many people, however, do what it takes to make their own personal net worth skyrocket.

What does it take to partner with someone of high quality?  Valuable people are “bought” by those with similar merits who give honest effort.  You could have all the money in the world, but if you are not willing to spend $1000 to get your Lamborghini fixed, you are going to be driving a broken car and eventually spending a lot more buying a new one.  This is the same for relationships.  You could be a highly valuable person yourself, but if you’re not willing to put in the effort that it takes to procure and retain a person of similar character, you will have a crippled relationship and most likely will be finding yourself trying to find a new one fairly soon.

Value recognizes value.  This is why rich people are willing to pay for things to get done well.  They receive the advantage of spending their time elsewhere, and the labor bankrolls the appropriate monetary compensation for their skills.  Likewise, valuable people find themselves seeking out other people on their level because their worth is reciprocated.  Quality people recognize the effort that it takes to maintain a relationship with a fellow distinctive person, and they are willing to put in that complete energy because they recognize the benefit of the end result.

If I could get an excellent car repair job, high-end furniture, and organic food for dirt cheap or free, I would.  But smart people know that bargains aren’t really bargains, and it’s worth it in the long run to pony up the cash up front to ensure optimal results.  The only time a true bargain happens is when the person on the other end doesn’t know what their time or product is worth.

Again, this is the same for relationships.  There are so many people who have been convinced that what they have to offer isn’t worth what they are asking, and sadly, they lower their price.  And there are others on the opposite side of the coin who try to convince people that what they’re providing is much more valuable than what it actually is.  Either scenario results in unbalance, which eventually leads to unhappiness.  You should not be providing a 2017 Mercedes-Benz relationship if you are only being offered a 1998 Ford budget and you should not offer a Focus down payment on an E-class.

The key point is that you need to know your honest worth.  Some people truly won’t have the resources that allow them to ‘afford’ you.  Some people will have the capital but will be unwilling to invest it in what you have to offer.  And sometimes, you have to comb through your own emotional bank statements and realize that the problem lies with you.  Regardless, your return should match your contribution.  And if you’re not happy with your bottom line, perhaps it’s time for better investments.



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