Are You Adding Value? 5 Ways!

Do you have an adding value mantra?

We are rather tribal by nature. I think this is an essential issue in terms of how to thrive individually and collectively in an increasingly globalized world. Therefore I believe many of our modern challenges are rooted in our retreat to tribalism over broadening our minds to greater understanding. In other words, many of the major economic, environmental and biological challenges of the future cannot be won without a retreat from tribalism. We must work together and collectively add value to solving problems. Where am I going here? This is a blog about personal finance. And I titled the post, “are you adding value?” You see, when we were evolving in a harsh environment over the last million years, we were in tribal communities. For instance, we were hunters and gatherers in an inhospitable world. There are still some small tribes left on this planet in remote areas that still live this ancient way. They tend to shun contact with the outside world. They tend to be very physically fit due to a demanding environment and diet 100% free from processed “food” chemicals. The tribe members of the past depended on each other for everything. Above all, they needed each other for survival from elements, securing food, meeting with mates, producing and successfully raising offspring. Without tribalism we would have become extinct. You would not be sitting here reading this article. I am no anthropologist, but one can imagine a central question for each member of the tribe that I believe plays out today:

How are we individually adding value?

  The modern tribe is typically our family unit, our friends, our co-workers, etc. In addition, our social media engagements are also a kind of tribe. And as members of our micro communities we may engage with our children’s schools or extracurricular activities, etc. The heart of answering this question goes back to the famous JFK quote:
“Ask not what your country can do for you?, but what can you do for your country?”
The genius of this is using this paradigm shift pays dividends back to you personally in the long run. We could simply ask what can we do to add value for others, in turn returning value back to ourselves.

The modern world

But the modern world can be a little tricky. For example, It is much safer, cleaner and we have the advantages of scientific knowledge to manage our natural environment. But I still believe it is important to ask ourselves how we are adding value and how can we add more?

The root of happiness

This is not a completely selfless community service oriented proposition I am making here. I believe adding value (or giving back in a constructive manner) combined with gratitude for what we have is the absolute magic formula for personal happiness and wealth creation. And I think much of this goes back to our tribal roots and ancestors. When we were adding value, we were bolstering the fitness of our tribe which in turn bolstered our fitness and hopefully contentment. Therefore, how do we add value in the modern world? Since this is a primarily personal finance space, I will discuss ways to add value that have a financial angle. Here are ways to add value that directly bolster our financial picture:  

1. Create Something

Create something does not mean you need to be the next Da Vinci and paint the Mona Lisa. But, creativity is a part of everyday life. In other words, every day whether we realize it or not, we are creating our life and existence through hundreds of micro decisions, interactions and paradigm framing in our mind. We are creating the way we view the world, choosing the media we consume, thinking in specific ways. Add value mantra: What can I create? Can I create good relations? Can I create something with my mind and hands? What problems can I address creatively? What can I create that I enjoy and that others may enjoy?  

2. Added Value Investments

When we are buying assets every two weeks, we are in a way participating in a huge “adding value” experiment. Our money, which is energy and a store of value, is being invested in business ventures that are providing value to billions around the world. Add Value mantra: I can add value by investing in great companies. They can use the capital to create great products that people want and require. In turn, those companies can spin value back to me in the form of dividends and increased value to my assets.  

3. Added Value Family Time

Time with our significant other and children is an investment and pleasure in and of itself. Therefore, how can we help and support those around us? Above all, this adds to our ability to create a life of True Wealth! Add Value mantra: I will seek to listen, support, understand my family and friends to the best of my energies and capabilities.  

4. Adding Value at Work

Many Americans are disengaged at work. This may be due to stress, demands, bureaucracy, low morale, low belief in the mission, etc., many folks sort of check out. I, like many people, manage these feelings. Therefore, I challenge myself to engage and ask how I can add value to those around me? Can I solve problems? How can I brighten someone’s day just a bit? How can I be most effective at supporting the company mission? Add Value mantra: I will seek to add value at work. As an example, this can be through supporting others. Continuing a strong work ethic. Moving the “ball” forward. Communicating effectively. Keeping a positive attitude. Putting in effort. Continuing to sharpen my knowledge and effectiveness.  

5. Added Value in the community

Finally, remember we are part of a larger “tribe”. We all inhabit spaceship Earth. I am not saying there will be peace on Earth. But it is important that we engage positively in our communities. For example, countries that are falling apart have high levels of corruption and distrust. This actually effects wealth creation and leads to the destruction of wealth and the concentration of wealth and power into the hands of a only a few. Added value mantra: I will be active in my community. What can I do to make my community a little better? Take ownership if I see a problem or issue that needs to be addressed.  

How can you add value?

At the end of the day, the value creators actually create tons of wealth for themselves and others. For example, think about the Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, etc. These are extreme examples of adding value on a massive scale. But their companies and products changed the trajectory of human history forever.

High Results, Low Ego

On a smaller scale I believe we can all do the same. For example, we may be the center of the universe to a young child. We can own and manage value added assets. We can do the small things in our community that make it a little better place to live and raise a family.      

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