The Triumph of Self-Worth Over Net-Worth

Flickr - Money - Tax CreditsJoshua Becker, Guest
Waking Times

There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.” – Henry David Thoreau

Net-worth – your assets minus your debts.

Self-worth – the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect.

As humans, it is in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, because we can only compare the things that we can objectively measure, we live in a world that is great at measuring and comparing externals. Somewhere along the way, we decided that we could determine who is living a more valuable life by comparing their clothes, cars, homes, and paychecks.

Simply put, we tied self-worth to net-worth. As a painful result, we began to make judgements about our own life value by the possessions that we own. But, in reality, our life is far more valuable than the things that we own. The wages that we earn provide for our life, but they do not define our life.

Fortunately, when we change our thinking on this matter, we are freed to pursue a life worthy of esteem and respect that is not tied to our possessions. Consider these 8 steps to improve your self-worth regardless of your net-worth.

  1. Live a life of integrity and character. There is no greater feeling than laying your head on your pillow at night having no regrets in your dealings with others. Consider the immeasurable value that comes from looking back over your entire life and seeing the same thing.
  2. Cultivate worthy endeavors that are available in infinite supply. There is no limit to the amount of love you can show, the amount of hope you can spread, or the number of encouraging words you can speak. Cultivate these things in liberal supply. They will cost you nothing, but will begin to mean everything.
  3. Delight in your uniqueness. The fact that you are different from everybody else makes you valuable. Be comfortable with yourself and proud of yourself. Don’t suppress it or hide it. Instead, do the opposite: Champion your uniqueness.
  4. Give away your most valuable resource. The most precious resource we own is our time. Therefore, the most precious thing that we can ever give to another person is our time. Make a habit of giving it away to others.
  5. Live courageously. Find the mental strength to accept new challenges without regards to the fear that may lie beneath. Live with great expectations about what your life can become and accomplish.
  6. Develop self-confidence. A confident person feels better about themselves, stands up taller, and smiles more. A confident person does not follow the crowd or try to become someone else. A confident person focuses on their achievements and anticipates their next opportunity in life with excitement.
  7. Embrace your weaknesses. There are no perfect people in this world. We all have struggles and weaknesses. I have found that one of the best ways to identify with others is in our weakness. When we admit that we need help, we are finally ready to interact with others on a truly valuable level.
  8. Make the most of every opportunity. Each new day brings with it new opportunities. Don’t waste a single one. Do everything you do with quality and excellence.

Your true self-worth is up to you. Increase it. Don’t allow your life’s pursuit to be caught up in the acquisition of material things – that makes for a nice net-worth, but not necessarily a high self-worth. And self-worth trumps net-worth any day.

About the Author

Joshua Becker is a self-proclaimed minimalist and author of the excellent blog, Becoming Minimalist, where this article was originally featured.

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  • Frank

    Mr. Becker, you really should learn basic English GRAMMAR! These two sentences of yours are illiterately written:

    “A confident person feels better about themselves [HIMSELF], stands up taller, and smiles more. A confident person does not follow the crowd or try to become someone else. A confident person focuses on their [HIS] achievements and anticipates their [HIS] next opportunity in life with excitement.”

    Of course, you could correctly write “herself” instead of “himself” and “her” instead of “his” in the sentences above. Traditionally, however, using the male form of the pronoun is understood not to be taken literally to exclude the female form. In any event, because the subject of your first sentence (“person”) is SINGULAR, a pronoun in the same sentence referring to the same subject CANNOT BE PLURAL. Accordingly, to say “a person,” followed by “themselves” is clearly ungrammatical. Similarly, in your second quoted sentence above, you cannot refer to “a confident person” as “their!” DID YOU FAIL FIFTH GRADE ENGLISH?

    • Anonymous

      He is letting gender neutrality (themselves, their) trump grammatical correctness, a common trend today. Too many people still do take the male pronoun to exclude the female, even if unconsciously.

    • Will

      Have you read this article? I am assuming the premise to the article just flew over your head. I am stupefied at the consensus on the internet of persons waiting to dismantle great ideas on the basis of
      grammar? We are truly never going to make progress as a species if
      one nitpicks trivial grammar cues.

      • James

        That’s right; it also amazes me how some people make a big deal over grammar while completely ignoring the topic being discussed. It’s like they have nothing else to contribute except to criticise about trivialities, which is rather pitiful on their part.

        More importantly, I ‘get’ what this article is saying, and the wisdom rings true or at least I want to believe it does. However, there are aspects which I find at odds with life’s situations. For instance, the statement about ‘everyday being new’ -true for some; but many have to tolerate the same events day after day. It makes more sense to say everyday could potentially bring something new, -it’s a chance- but no guarantees.

        Also, the ‘being proud of who you are’ argument is one I see practiced by some individuals who, quite frankly, make one wonder exactly what it is they have to be proud about; I see it as being used as a free pass to be arrogant.

  • It would be nice if most women agreed. You have heard of the no-car-no-date syndrome, right?

    • James

      That’s because they just want us to give them lifts and buy them free drinks.

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