Musings Of An
Some Plausible Answers to
Old Bald Dreamer
Sometimes Awkward Questions
Worth or Value: What's the Difference?
When it comes to the physical objects you have access to, the words 'worth' and 'value' are often used interchangeably. Yet they mean quite different things.
A dictionary definition of worth is
good or important enough to justify whatever is being asked
So, for example, if you are looking to buy something, you will look at the price tag and decide whether the benefit you receive from purchasing that item can justify spending that amount of money. It has a great deal to do with the price being asked for that item
An item's worth really only comes into consideration when there is some transaction being considered between the owner of the item and another party. The usual scenario is when purchasing something from a vendor. An application for insurance is another example of a time when worth is of consideration. The insurance company wants to know how much it would cost, for example, to replace your car, should it be stolen or destroyed. The concept of worth does not take into account the meaning that item has to you.
An item might increase in worth when the demand for it exceeds the supply. That will often be reflected in the price being asked. For example items generally cost more at, say, Christmas time than they do for most of the year. That is simply because the shop keepers can justify asking a higher price for the item, knowing full well that someone will consider it important enough to pay the asking price.
The same can be said about services, which are the things people do in return for payment. A mechanic provides a service by maintaining the operating efficiency of your motor vehicle. You pay for the work that is done and the products used . An accountant provides a service by providing and reporting records of financial activities to fulfil accountability requirements. You pay a fee for the time the accountant takes to do that. If you are an employee, you provide a service to the business you work for by giving of your time and energy for the particular range of activities the business is involved in.
Value, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult to pin down. The definition of value is:
property that makes it esteemed, desirable or useful
Value is a much more subjective thing. An item that has sentimental value to someone may well be considered more valuable to its owner than what someone without that sentimental attachment would be prepared to pay for it.
The fact that someone has some strong attachment to something because of its past associations does not necessarily increase it's worth. The value is only ever in the mind of the owner and can never really be quantified.
In many instances, a person who has something of great value to them will not be interested in handing it over to someone else for any amount of money. If that does happen, it is because the financial consideration offered exceeds the strength of the attachment. This can happen either when the owner has some financial crisis or when what they are able to do with the proceeds from the sale of the item is more desirable or useful than the meaning the item has for them.
This is often seen when, say, someone sells the family home. For the sellers there may well be a whole range of memories associated with the property. The sale comes about, however, when the owners place more importance on what they can achieve with the proceeds from the sale than the memories associated with the place.
In a nutshell then, value has to do with the owner's perception of an item's significance; worth is about how much someone is prepared to pay to have the use of a particular item and/or service
So, what is an hour of your time worth? How might you increase your worth to a potential buyer of your services (an employer or customer)
What value do you put on yourself?
These are important questions to ask if you want to ever go down the track of improving your marketability, whether it be to an employer, a customer or a potential life partner.
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